NFL Week 4 teasers: Teasing up vs. teasing down

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If you dug into the teaser basket last week, one type of value-based teaser play did decidedly better than the other. Touchdown favorites teased down to a pick'em suffered three losses: the Chargers, Chiefs, and Bills. Of course, since market of entry timing matters, it's worth mentioning that all three saw their odds shorten out of teaser range, falling below -6 on the point spread.

Meanwhile, the "tease up" category of teams going from under a field goal to over a touchdown went 5-0. The caveat is that each of those teams won outright, so they didn't need to be teased anyway.

Some games don't have a teaser-worthy point spread. For example, the Bengals are 4-point favorites at home to the Dolphins on Thursday. Teasing Cincinnati would see the spread go through zero, which is wasting valuable price points around the improbable chance of a tie. Teasing Miami up to +10.5 would be appealing as it'd get the key numbers up to around a touchdown, but you're already winning on 3- and 4-point margins at a -110 price. Getting +6, +7, or +8 over a long sample size isn't worth the price hike.

Let's use the short point spread in the Browns-Falcons game as an example of the value of teasing a favorite down.

ALT. SPREAD ODDS
Falcons +2.5 -125
Falcons +3.5 -175
Falcons +4.5 -190
Falcons +5.5 -205
Falcons +6.5 -250
Falcons +7.5 -300

You can see how the pricing significantly jumps once you move across the key number of +3, showing the importance of capturing that number in NFL betting. But more importantly, the Falcons' alternative spread (+7.5) is priced at -300, which is obviously a much larger price than getting Atlanta +7.5 with our teaser leg at -270.

To get a good deal on the Falcons (+7.5), we must pair them with another line and win both to cash the ticket. Fortunately, we can choose that other leg from our weekly "teaser basket" using what we know about key numbers.

Teaser basket

Let's look at the mathematically-optimal plays available for Week 4:

TEAM SPREAD TEASER LEG
Eagles -6.5 -0.5
Falcons +1.5 +7.5
Cardinals +2 +8
Broncos +2.5 +8.5
Buccaneers +2.5 +8.5
Rams +2.5 +8.5

The Eagles are the only team in the touchdown-favorite role this week, but if you think the Jaguars are for real, you might shy away from paying -270 on Philadelphia to win outright.

Five more games fit into our favorite type of teaser. After three straight covers to start the season, you have to decide whether the previous value has dried up on Atlanta. If a 1.5-point spread is too low, then +7.5 (-270) might be a shaky bet.

I'd be more willing to bet against the Panthers winning a game by a significant margin. Even though they did so last week, a dive into the box score reveals that Carolina's win over the Saints was misleading.

For all their offensive struggles to start the season, the Broncos and Buccaneers both have stingy defenses and future Hall of Fame quarterbacks that won't turn the ball over excessively. That breeds a close game, no matter the opponent.

The 49ers aren't in the home underdog role that they have been recently against the Rams, and they've suffered significant injuries, most notably to left tackle Trent Williams. If not for that, you might be wary of a Rams teaser leg, given the success San Francisco has had against Sean McVay.

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.

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NFL Week 4 teasers: Teasing up vs. teasing down
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