NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Teaser Worth Considering
Six-point Teaser: Rams +8.5 and Bills +7.5
Historically, underdogs of less than three points have proven winning bets against the spread in the NFL Playoffs. Since the 2003-04 season, teams in this spot beat the number at greater than a 65% clip, which has proven statistically significant at better than the 90% confidence level. In fact (and not surprisingly, given that NFL scores most commonly result in a minimum of three points), pooches taking less than a field goal have won outright more times than not (20-17 SU), for a 16% return on investment.
Short dogs' success versus the moneyline accrued entirely in the early going of the postseason. Squads meeting this criteria in the Wildcard or Divisional rounds have amassed a 17-11 SU record, versus 3-5 for teams playing in the Divisional Championships or the Superbowl (where more elite teams are more likely to be favored).
Thus, the Rams (at the Bucs) and the Bills (at the Chiefs) mark ideal spots to back a couple of dogs ATS, or even to take flyers on upsets, if one is so inclined. We are not so bold. More consistent with our appetite for risk, we are teasing these narrow underdogs by six, which has likewise proven a winning approach.
Dogs of no more than 2.5 points beat teased lines 84% of the time, implying a 70.5% win rate for such two-leg teasers (84% x 84%). Recall that standard six-point teasers, with their -120 vigorish, require about a 54.5% cover rate to breakeven (-120 ÷ [-120-100]).