Soul crushed. The two-game, six-point teaser did not hit last week, ending our 3-0 winning streak. Let’s recap Week 4 for a couple of important lessons.
Lesson 1: Don’t be results-oriented
The Saints/Vikings teaser loss is a good example of this. I initially had the Cincinnati Bengals tied with Minnesota, which would have worked out. Instead, I swapped to the Saints for a couple of reasons.
After further examination, I figured the Jaguars-Bengals game to be a more competitive matchup than initially thought. With the Jags being winless, it was a good chance for the books to bait the winning team against one that is 0-3. Then news broke that WR Tee Higgins would be out. Third in targets for the Bengals, that was one less weapon for Joe Burrow to have in his arsenal.
Though the Bengals would have worked while the Saints did not, it was still a good swap. Cincinnati never led Jacksonville until getting the luck-box win on a 35-yard field goal with no time left on the clock.
The Saints were up 21-10 in the fourth quarter until Daniel Jones threw a surprise 54-yard bomb, got the two-point conversion and then followed that up with a field goal to take the game into overtime. By the luck of the draw (or coin flip), the Giants had the ball first and won. Screwy stuff happens. It’s the NFL, after all.
Lesson 2: Avoid untrustworthy teaser legs
I mentioned last week to avoid the Titans -1.5 at Jets, Chiefs -1.5 at Eagles, and Bucs -.5 at Patriots. The Titans were entering this matchup vulnerable on defense, even against the hopeless Jets, and they lost outright.
The Chiefs and Bucs were perhaps the most popular teaser legs last week. The Chiefs had zero defense, though still covered, and Brady and the Bucs should have lost.
Remember, the most optimal teaser legs are those that cross through the key numbers of seven and three. The Bucs were not a good teaser leg, and if you teased them, you got lucky. If you want to win long term, stick to what is optimal.
On to Week 5 in the NFL. As a reminder, here is the basic teaser strategy. (And how teasers work.)
Tease home favorites of 7.5, 8, 8.5, or 9 points down.
Tease home underdogs of 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 points up.
Tease road underdogs of 1, 1.5, 2, or 2.5 points up.
When possible, emphasize matchups with lower game totals rather than projected shootouts.
Based on current odds, these are the six-point teaser options for Week 5 in the NFL.
Lower-totaled games (46.5 and below)
Broncos +7.5 at Steelers
Saints at Washington +7.5
Browns +7.5 at Chargers
Higher-totaled game (54.5 and higher)
Rams at Seahawks +8.5
Bills +8.5 at Chiefs
My NFL Week 5 teaser: Seattle +8.5 and Washington +7.5
The Seahawks are home-divisional underdogs with QB Russell Wilson playing in prime time. Wilson is a combined 29-7-1 in his career on Sunday night, Monday night, and Thursday night games. The Rams and Seahawks have terrible secondaries, ranked 25th and 28th, respectively, in passing defense. Matthew Stafford was looking like an MVP until he threw an interception and averaged 6.8 yards per pass in Sunday's 37-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Wilson leads the NFL in yards per pass attempt (9.6) and passer rating (129.9), just ahead of Patrick Mahomes (119.6). Through four games, Wilson has nine touchdown passes and zero interceptions, though that will be tested this week. The Seahawks are vulnerable against the run, allowing the most rushing yards in the league. Good news for them: The Rams are a pass-first team. Points will be scored. I like Seattle to contend and even come out with the outright win.
The Saints are a polarizing team. The highs are high and the lows are low. However, their defense is not looking as stout as expected. New Orleans allowed 305 passing yards to Sam Darnold and 402 to Daniel Jones. If it weren’t for Mac Jones tossing three interceptions, he would have thrown for over 300 as well.
The secondary is vulnerable, and Taylor Heinicke has ability, throwing for 290 yards against the Falcons and 336 against the Giants. The Saints remain a run-first team, which plays into Washington’s defensive strength. Washington needs to force Jameis Winston to beat it through the air. Winston ranks 29th in passing yards this season with 613. His lack of passing volume really sticks out, and until proven otherwise, it's not a threat to opposing defenses.
Why I’m not using the Broncos: Keep an eye on the status of Denver QB Teddy Bridgewater. Drew Lock is expected to get the bulk of the first-team reps in practice, with Brett Rypien listed at No. 2, if Bridgewater remains in concussion protocol.
Why I’m not using the Browns: The Chargers are absolutely vulnerable to the run, ranking 29th in rushing defense. RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt should have a day, but I don’t yet trust the validity of the Browns. They played the Texans and Bears, and are coming off a game in which head coach Kevin Stefanski faced his former team, the Minnesota Vikings. Both head coaches knew the nuances of each other, and the final score of 14-7 illustrated that familiarity.
Why I’m not using the Bills: Could Buffalo be ... a fraud? This defense has faced an aging Ben Roethlisberger, Jacoby Brissett, Taylor Heinicke and Davis Mills. The Bills could be in for a real shock facing Mahomes, who is fifth in passing yards, first in passing touchdowns, and second in passer rating.