NFL betting: Backing the ugly underdogs in a Week 1 teaser

The NFL is here! It’s the season of betting player props, Super Bowl futures, underdogs and everything in between. Football is back and like you, I couldn’t feel more anxious to see how the new season plays out with so many coaching and quarterback changes.

A new NFL season also means a new year for betting six-point teasers. If you are new to betting teasers in the NFL, here are some general guidelines to follow to keep risk in check.

  • Stick to six-point teasers (you need to win more consistently to offset the higher price).

  • Keep it to a two-team teaser (the more pieces you add, the greater the risk).

  • Target lower-totaled games (the more points expected, the more variance involved).

  • Tease through the key numbers of three and seven (this approach is at the heart of all proven winning strategies).

Week 1 teaser-leg options (odds via BetMGM)

Los Angeles Rams +8.5 vs. Buffalo Bills, 52

Cleveland Browns +7.5 at Carolina Panthers, 41.5

Jacksonville Jaguars +8.5 at Washington Commanders, 43.5

Minnesota Vikings +7.5 vs. Green Bay Packers, 47

Dallas Cowboys +8.5 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 51

Week 1 NFL teaser: Browns +7.5 and Jaguars +8.5

Oh man, it’s the ugly teams teaser this week. For one, these are two of the lowest game totals in Week 1 but let’s break it down further.

Browns +7.5 at Panthers

Last year, Carolina surrendered 143 rushing yards to Ezekiel Elliott and 245 rushing yards to the Cowboys. The Panthers then allowed another 200 yards to the Vikings with Dalvin Cook accounting for 140 of those yards. This is a rushing defense that has some vulnerabilities and now needs to find a way to contain Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson.

I don’t expect the Browns to be entrusting Jacoby Brissett entirely with this offense right out of the gate but I do expect head coach Kevin Stefanski to be playing on its strengths and that’s definitely in the backfield. Chubb is an elite back who averaged 5.5 yards per carry. Hunt is a highly complementary back that provides that RB one-two punch and Johnson popped off last year, producing 168 and 157 yards in his two starts when both Chubb and Hunt were out.

I love this Browns rushing offense against a susceptible Panthers rushing defense.

Jaguars +8.5 at Washington

I don’t trust Carson Wentz. He’s inaccurate and can’t handle pressure situations. There is a reason he is on his third team in as many seasons. Wentz threw for just over six yards per pass attempt in the final 11 games of the 2021 season. In advanced accuracy metrics, Wentz ranked 30th for throwing out of a clean pocket and 28th in completion percentage when pressured.

The Jaguars did showcase sparks of capability with applying pressure to opposing quarterbacks, particularly against Josh Allen (four sacks, two interceptions) in Week 9 and again in Week 18 against ... Wentz. He was sacked six times in a 26-11 loss to Jacksonville, throwing for under 200 passing yards and an interception.

I’m looking for ways to fade Wentz this season. Backing the Jaguars in a teaser is one way to do just that.