My first bookie once told me “Don’t bet teasers, kid. They call them teasers for a reason.” I usually try to follow his sage advice, but this weekend I think the best play is to tease both the underdogs.
For those non-degenerate sports gamblers, the way a two team teaser works is that you get to move each line 6 points in either direction, but you need to get both games right in order for your single bet to come in. Denver is favored by 5.5 points, so with the 6 points added I have New England plus 11.5. In the NFC game Seattle is giving 3.5 points and I took San Francisco, teased up to 9.5.
Both championship games match similarly constructed teams that know their opponents well. I don’t have a great feel for who is going to win either game, so I basically bet on the premise that both games are going to be close. This is perhaps not the most sharp gambling logic, but it beats not having any action on the conference title games.
In the AFC game you have the two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Brady andManning, both facing defenses that have been ravaged by injury. This game could easily turn into a classic shoot out where the last man with the ball wins. I feel very comfortable getting more than 10 points.
Conversely, the NFC title game shapes up to be much more of a defensive struggle. TheSeattle Seahawks take advantage of one of the best and loudest home crowds in all of American professional sports. I attended their number-one-seed clinching victory over the St. Louis Rams three weeks ago and came away with a serious case of stadium envy. They have great fans who cheer every defensive snap like it’s 4th and goal in the final minute, but it seems like half of the insane volume is a credit to the building’sbrilliantly designed acoustics. It’s unthinkable to me that the Jets and Giants didn’t follow this model and instead spent 1.5 billion dollars building a nondescript, cavernous stadium that does nothing to hold in the noise.
San Francisco is better equipped to handle this adverse environment than most. They play at CenturyLink Field every year and they will not be surprised or intimidated by the crowd. The 49ers were the team that impressed me most last week and they might be playing the best football in the NFL right now. This is not the same San Francisco team that got dominated in Seattle earlier in the season. They’ve incorporate explosive receiver Michael Crabtree and destructive defensive end Aldon Smith back into their lineup and they’re finally resembling the team nearly won last year’s Super Bowl. I love the Niners getting 9.5 points, more than a touchdown, in what I believe will be a very tightly contested game.
I don’t like going against the advice of my old bookie who probably built his house in Staten Island by booking decades of losing teaser bets, but I think we are in for two close, exciting games and this how I hope to make a little profit.