NFL Week 13 teasers: Capturing key numbers in close games

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There was good news and bad news in the teaser basket last week. Early on, the Cowboys - along with various forces - conspired to blow up our Thanksgiving teasers. But since it was a Thursday game, there was more than enough time to line up the other teaser legs, virtually all of which won.

Not all teaser legs are created equal. The biggest mistake novice bettors make is teasing through zero because they're wasting valuable price points on a number the game probably won't land on: a tie. So, how can we maximize the six-point move? How can we get what we're paying for at -270 per leg?

Let's take the NFL's last winless team, and its game Sunday against the Vikings, as an example:

MIN -7 -110
MIN -6.5 -125
MIN -6 -138
MIN -5.5 -145
MIN -5 -150
MIN -4.5 -163
MIN -4 -175
MIN -3.5 -180
MIN -3 -225
MIN -2.5 -250
MIN -2 -265
MIN -1.5 -270
MIN -1 -280

The alternative spread gives you the Vikings -1 at -280. Would you rather that, or the -1.5 that a teaser leg provides at the same price? What about Vikings -1 at -270 versus the Vikings' moneyline of -300?

The answers are obvious, but we'll need some options to pair with MIN -1, which is why we turn to the teaser basket for the best options to capture as many key numbers as possible.

Teaser basket

Let's look at the mathematically optimal plays available for Week 13:

Cardinals -7.5 -1.5
Chargers +3 +9
Vikings -7 -1
Giants +3 +9
Eagles -6.5 -0.5
Washington +2.5 +8.5
Patriots +3 +9

Another week, another seven days of wondering if Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins will play. As usual, this line indicates they likely will, but do you want to tease the Cardinals down under the key number of -3 without that certainty?

Even if we're paying for a half-point that captures +9, which isn't a key number at all, I don't know how you can deny that the Chargers and Giants aren't valuable teaser legs. More good news: You can wait to see if, by chance, these continue to climb and get to +4. It's not likely, but you never know.

Jalen Hurts' ankle uncertainty means that including the Eagles with a request to just win is troublesome at a -270 price. If Hurts is out, Gardner Minshew becomes the guy to run an offense tailored for Hurts' specific skill set.

Washington comes off its third straight win, but momentum is a very fickle thing in the NFL. I don't think I can pull the trigger on this team at +2.5 in Las Vegas, but getting all the key numbers with +8.5 is worth inclusion in a two-to-three-leg teaser.

Lastly, I think we're all hoping for a great game with the Monday Night Football showdown between the Patriots and Bills. Should we get that, we'll likely be closing out a teaser in an exciting yet easy fashion to finish Week 13.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

NFL Week 13 teasers: Capturing key numbers in close games
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