2020 NFL Week 15 Teaser: Combining the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots
Updated: Aug 5, 2021
7-Point Teaser: Indianapolis Colts -0.5 & New England Patriots +9
The first leg of our week 15 teaser calls for the the Colts beat the Texans in an effort to wrestle the top spot in the AFC South away from the Titans. At 9-4, Tennessee and Indy boast the best records in the division. The Texans 4-9 record is good for third place...only above dead last because the Jacksonville Jaguars also play in the AFC South.
Back to 2003, of the 388 regular season instances where an NFL team laid between a touchdown and ten points to an opponent from the same division, the favorite won 79% of the time.
Significant favorites, per this definition, facing relatively familiar opposition are 19-1 straight-up so far this year, for a beefy 23% return on investment).
This observation suggests the Indianapolis Colts are indeed a suitable candidate for consideration for a two-team, 7-point teaser, as the teased line of Indianapolis -0.5 only requires the straight up win.
In general, the juicy -140 vigorish common to two-team, 7-point teasers implies that breakeven lies just north of the 58% win rate level (-140 ÷ [-140-100] = 58%). In turn, a 58% breakeven rate suggests teased lines need to average better than a 76% collection rate (√58% = 76%) to justify the effort. The 79% historical straight up win rate for meaningful favorites facing their division exceeds this threshold.
Additionally, in the upcoming AFC East romp between the Patriots and Dolphins strikes us as another solid spot for a teased line. New England is currently third in their division, and would, no doubt, love to gain some ground on the 8-5 Miami Dolphins this week. Our power rankings framework and computer simulation routines makes this contest essentially a PICK, so we like the Pats to beat the listed line; another seven points looks like gravy on top.
Consistent with the notion that New England may not need the help of a teased line to handle Miami this week, we note that, after about the first quarter of the regular season, it has proven solidly profitable, historically, to fade teams with cover margins of at least five points, against opposition with no better than 60% straight up win rates (good for an 8% long-term return on investment).
Our guess as to why this system works is that causal bettors tend to gravitate toward teams that have covered the spread recently, even after bookmakers shade betting lines to compensate for recent outperformance. A result appears to be overvalued darling teams, and opportunity for objective bettors.
Further, teams on at least two-game road trips, playing their conference after a loss have proven to be very strong bets when the spread moves a point or more against them. Backing teams in this spot has been good for a 23% return on investment historically.
So far, Sports Insights reports the betting spread has moved 1.5 points away from the Pats since the open.
Separately, through a quantitative lens, since 2003, we have observed 314 instances of regular season NFL contests with the spread of less than a field goal featuring teams from the same division. The underdog finished within nine points of the favorites' score about 74% of the time.
While a 74% win rate for teased short divisional dogs falls just shy of the 76% average requirement, combining the Colts and Pats offer mathematical justification for a teaser: 78% x 74% = 58%.