Teaser bets remain a popular option with many NFL bettors. But you must use caution when selecting which teams you’ll tease, as you can’t win long term without a sound strategy. At TheLines, we’ll go over each week’s NFL slate to see which teams fit best in teasers. Today, we look at options for NFL Week 18 teasers.
Be sure to go over our primer on teaser bets here. It’s imperative that you understand what to look for, from the numbers to the sportsbook juice being paid. Click on the odds anywhere below to bet now.
The Best NFL Week 18 Teasers
There are a ton of teaser numbers on the board this week, or numbers that are right on the border. The interesting part of analyzing this week’s teasers is the higher-than-normal level of variance associated with Week 18. We could see varying levels of motivation and will see some teams making changes at QB.
Vikings (-7.5) At Bears
This line actually opened with the Vikings barely favored in the look-ahead markets. Then, it reopened with the Bears only around +4, only to see massive steam following the announcement that Justin Fields would sit in Week 18. That means we’re in for a Nathan Peterman start.
A charitable reading of the situation would be that the Bears want to be careful and protect their budding young QB from injury. A more cynical view is that the teams desperately wants to lose to ensure they stay clear of the three teams with four wins directly “behind” them in the race for draft position. The Bears even have a shot at the No. 1 pick if they lose and the Texans win as short underdogs.
Since the Vikings have maintained they want to play their guys in order to have an outside chance at the No. 2 seed, this should be a Vikings win. And unlike some recent games involving these teams, the total is actually pretty low. Maybe you don’t trust the Vikings to win by more than a touchdown, but they shouldn’t have trouble covering the teaser number.
Texans (+2.5) At Colts
With a total of 38 and a great teaser number, this looks like a prime spot to buy points on the Texans for those that missed the +3 (-115) posted in TheLines Discord early in the week.
What evidence have the Colts put forth to show that they should be favored over another NFL team, much less able to beat them by almost 10 points? The offense has gone completely off the rails without Matt Ryan. It appears Nick Foles has played his way back to the bench. The team will give itself another look at Sam Ehlinger.
Unlike some of the fill-in QBs who have shown flashes of competence, what Ehlinger has shown has been pretty much all ugly. The numbers are rough (5.5 YPA and a monster 15.4% sack rate) and the tape is worse.
Davis Mills should be the best QB in this game, and the only fly in the ointment could be if Houston is determined to lose this and makes some lineup adjustments.
Browns (+2.5) At Steelers
Once again, the Browns look like a strong teaser play. A game involving the Browns hasn’t surpassed 41 points in seven weeks, and even that game saw them score multiple non-offensive TDs against the Texans. This looks like yet another AFC North rock fight in cold weather. That makes it perfect for teaser purposes.
Deshaun Watson even showed some signs of life last week. He went for 9.4 YPA and 3 TDs on his throws, though he took five sacks to dilute the YPP to 6.7. He appears to be building a decent connection with Amari Cooper, who had 105 yards and two of the scores.
Again, bettors could have snagged the Browns at +3 early in the week. But, a +8.5 teaser looks like a fine consolation.
Other Potential NFL Week 18 Teasers
Bills (-7) Vs. Patriots
This may look like a tempting play for those hunting teaser value. Given the low total and the Bills being just off a premium number, that makes some sense.
But, considering the Bills’ recent history against the Patriots. Simply put, Josh Allen has owned Bill Belichick. In games not involving 50 mph gusts in post-apocalyptic conditions, the Bills have won the past five meetings. Average margin of victory: 17.6.
If the Bills do their thing and roll here, you won’t need to have bought points in all likelihood. So, -7 is actually a pretty palatable number to lay in that scenario.
Bengals (-7) Vs. Ravens
There are a few moving parts in this one that make it less teaser-friendly.
First, the number is a hair off of prime teaser territory. Laying -7 may make some sense if you want to back the Bengals, especially if you expect Lamar Jackson to sit.
Things seem to trend that way thus far, with Jackson logging a DNP in Wednesday’s practice (Update: Jackson also missed Thursday’s practice). Of course, that could change. And a Jackson insertion into the Ravens lineup would surely move this number and leave early Bengals bettors holding the bag.
Furthermore, it’s an open question whether the Bengals will have anything to play for here. Particularly if the Bills are up big early on the Pats, the Bengals may opt to rest their guys in the second half. Or, Zac Taylor may simply value a week of rest higher than an outside chance of a second-round home game. Remember, the Bengals have the division locked up if that Bills contest doesn’t get made up.
Dolphins (+1.5) Vs. Jets
This line has flipped after initially opening with the Dolphins favored.
But again, QB news has moved the market. Miami has worked out veterans like Mike Glennon, whom they reportedly signed. That sounds like a large strike against the availability of Teddy Bridgewater, and we already know Tua Tagovailoa is expected to sit.
That leaves either the newly signed Glennon or Skylar Thompson to start a must-win (or tie) game for the Dolphins’ playoff hopes. Not great, since Thompson has shown an utter inability to move the ball. In fact, he played significant snaps the last time the Dolphins played the Jets, and the team got crushed, 40-17.
The low total appeals here, but the long tail where the Dolphins simply can’t score on an elite Jets defense makes this a risky one.
Chargers (+2) At Broncos
Another game where potential motivation looks in flux.
Whether the Chargers have anything for which to play depends entirely on what happens between the Bengals and Ravens. If the Ravens win, then the Chargers will probably look to win as well, assuring themselves of facing the AFC South champion.
However, if the heavily favored Bengals win, the Chargers will have locked up the No. 5 seed.
If you feel fine sweating Chase Daniel, go ahead and tease the Chargers.
Cowboys (-7) Vs. Commanders
Yet another QB change here has moved the line toward the Cowboys. This time, Sam Howell has been revealed as the Commanders starter. The fifth-round pick, once rumored in the mix for first overall, will take the first snaps of his NFL career.
Now, the market clearly expressed its expectations by moving the line from Cowboys -4.5 to Cowboys -7. But, in addition to leaving that short of prime teaser territory, we’re looking at a situation with an extremely wide range of outcomes. What if Howell plays well? This teaser would be in danger.
Equally likely, what if he plays terribly? Then, there’s no need to buy points. Just lay it with the Cowboys.