NFL betting: Derrick Henry could be the key to a winning teaser leg

·Betting analyst
·3-min read

OK, maybe I overthought things a bit last week.

The best and easiest teaser of Week 7 was Packers -2 at home with the Patriots -1.5 at home. To be fair, Washington had every opportunity to not just cover the 8-point underdog spread, but I’ll even go as far as to say the WFT also had a chance to win outright at Green Bay.

The Football Team scored just one touchdown, yet had six additional red-zone trips that resulted in three points. There was a blocked field goal, a made field goal, an interception and three turnovers on downs.

But betting is about not being results-oriented. I left the Packers off for a reason, and I stand by that. The Philadelphia Eagles, though ... boo you for being a dud. On to a new week.

As a refresher, when assembling a teaser, some parameters include:

  • Keeping 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.

Week 8 teaser-leg options

Panthers +8.5 at Falcons, Total 46

Titans +7.5 at Colts, Total 51.5

Cowboys at Vikings +8, Total 55

After starting out 3-0, I have since lost the last three. Time to get back on track, keep it simple and not overthink it.

Week 8 NFL teaser: Titans +7.5 and Panthers +8.5

The divisional matchup between Tennessee and Indianapolis features two run-first teams. I’ll trust the King, Derrick Henry, any day of the week over Jonathan Taylor. They are two great players, but Henry is just built different. The defensive strength of both teams ... is against the run.

Carson Wentz is the better quarterback right now (yes, I said it), throwing just one interception this season compared to five from Ryan Tannehill. However, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel will put the game on the back of Henry, who has had five games of at least 113 rushing yards this season. My ‘keep it simple’ thought: tease the divisional dog.

Carolina visiting Atlanta features another divisional matchup in a lower-totaled game. It is the Falcons we are talking about. They like to give up leads and haven't won a game by more than one score this season. Although Sam Darnold has looked terrible as of late after starting hot, he does get a Falcons team ranked 29th in quarterback pressure and faces a vulnerable secondary that’s below average.

I’m backing the two divisional dogs because although it's not quantifiable, these game situations can offer more "security" as you can expect a bit more effort from each team. It’s worth noting that so far this season, divisional underdogs are only 11-15 ATS (42 percent). This is, however, out of the historical norm. Over the last decade, divisional dogs cover at a 54 percent clip. Adding these extra points could come in handy.

A third option

The Vikings are also worth a buy. The Dallas Cowboys are 5-1 SU but 6-0 ATS. The Boys by far have the better offense, but one thing the Vikings do have going for them is a good red-zone defense. Minnesota is second-best in opponent red-zone attempts and 10th best in opponent red-zone scores.

The Vikings can’t defend the run (ranking 26th in rushing yards allowed) but is above average against the pass. If this turns into a run-heavy offense for the Cowboys, then +8 becomes even more valuable with a running clock. The Vikings are first in the league in applying quarterback pressure, which could help slow down this potent Dallas offense. The risk, with the highest total of the week at 55, is that there could be more variance.

For this week, all three teaser legs are viable for a two-team combination. 

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