Vegas vs Fantasy Week 12 2017

By Armando Marsal
Armando Marsal It was not until I began playing DFS that I started using Vegas lines as part of my research and a determining factor when setting up my lineups. These lines can provide so much information each week. It gives you an idea of the potential game flow we could expect. High totals and close spreads, usually indicates a potential shootout. Whereas, a low total with a low spread is a game that is not expected to have a lot of fantasy goodness aside from the defenses. These lines are set by math wizards and some of the best handicappers in the world. They spend countless hours studying patterns, teams, and situations. For those who are not familiar, spreads are the amount of points a team is expected to win or lose by. The point total is the amount of points both teams combined are projected to score.

My goal each week is to look through the lines and point out which offenses you should be targeting and which defenses are in good situations. Let’s dive right into it.

The chart below shows the two games this week with the highest point totals. I included where it opened and the current live line. This can give you an idea of where the public is putting their money on. Generally if the total opens at one number and it begins to rise, the public is betting the over and vice versa.
Game Open Total Live Total Movement
Rams vs. Saints 54 54 0
Falcons vs. Bucs 49 49 0

The Rams and Saints game has the highest implied total of the week at 54 points. The line has remained the same from where it opened and at this time the over is receiving 70 percent of the bets. The Rams are a two point favorite in this game, but the Saints are receiving 68 percent of the bets against the spread. Both of these offenses are amongst the top in the NFL. The Saints are averaging the most yards and third most points per game, while the Rams are averaging the fifth most yards and second most points per game. That said, the Saints defense is much improved this season, allowing the ninth fewest points per game and the Rams defense is also good, allowing the seventh fewest points per game. There are some holes on these defenses, which is where you want to attack them. The Rams are giving up 110.4 rushing yards per game and have surrendered nine rushing touchdowns, while also allowing 50 receptions for 404 yards and two touchdowns. This puts the Saints backfield who has been strong all season, firmly in play. On the other hand, the Saints themselves have also struggled against running backs, allowing 90 rushing yards per game with four rushing touchdowns and 60 receptions for 494 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams will be without Robert Woods and he was the lead receiver for this offense, which could cause some issues for the passing game. While Vegas really likes this game to be high scoring, I am not entirely convinced that this game will shootout. I like the running backs from both sides, but I am having trouble seeing the passing game for either team have a ton of success. I will likely be underweight as far as exposure to this game, aside from the backfields of both teams.

The Falcons and Bucs have the second highest over/under of the slate at 49 points and 53 percent of the bets are hitting the over. The Falcons are 10 point favorites in this matchup and 58 percent of the bets are betting them against the spread. Neither of these teams implied totals have moved since it opened, so it appears that the betting has been consistent from the beginning. The Bucs are one of the worst pass defenses in the league, allowing 285.6 passing yards per game with 17 touchdowns to opposing signal callers. They also rank fifth worst in DVOA against the pass. So this shapes up to be a prime spot for Matt Ryan. They are also weak against receivers, allowing the most fantasy points per game to the position, which makes Julio Jones one of the top plays of the weekend. In fact, this entire Falcons offense could be in for a big game and their 29.5 point implied team total suggests that. The Bucs on the other hand are not getting as much love from the bettors and I can totally see why. This Falcons defense has been surprisingly solid this season, limiting the damage from opposing offenses as they are giving up the 10th fewest yards and 13th fewest points per game. They are not a shutdown defense by any means, but they are not one that you go out of your way to target. They have been susceptible to pass catching backs, but considering that the Bucs do not have a featured back that is an elite pass catcher, there is really nobody to target on this backfield. Mike Evans is probably the only Bucs player who I have any type of interest in this week and it is because of how good he is rather than the matchup. A receiver like him will always be in play simply because of his talent and role on this offense. Like Vegas, I am very bullish on this Falcons team and not so much on the Bucs.
Game Open O/U Live O/U Move
Cardinals vs. Jaguars 38 37.5 -0.5

This should not come to a surprise as the Cardinals and Jaguars have the lowest over/under of the week. The total has fallen half of a point since it opened and 53 percent of the bets are going towards the under. The Jaguars are a five point favorite in this contest and are receiving 78 percent of the bets against the spread. Both teams are projected to score fewer than 22 points this week, so if you are looking for fantasy goodness, this might not be the game to find it at. Jacksonville remains the top defense in the league, allowing the fewest yards and points per game, while forcing the most turnovers. This is a phenomenal spot for this unit as they get a Cardinals offense without Carson Palmer and David Johnson, an offense that averages the sixth fewest points per game. The Jaguars should completely dominate the Cardinals offense, ruling out any strong plays from Arizona. On the other side, the Cardinals have not been as dominant defensively this year as they have been in past years, so this could be a situation where you may be considering some of the Jaguars offensive players. The Cardinals have been far more susceptible against the pass than the run this season, but in recent weeks they have struggled against running backs as well, allowing four rushing touchdowns in their last five games and two 100+ rushing yard games during that stretch. Therefore, Leonard Fournette would be my favorite Jacksonville players this week. Aside from him and the Jaguars defense, this game is one that I will be staying away from for the most part.

The last thing I want to cover is the game with the biggest spread.
Teams Spread
Patriots -16.5
Dolphins 16.5

The Patriots are over a two touchdown favorite against the Dolphins and this comes to no surprise as they are the far superior team. The spread opened at 17 points, but has shifted half of a point in Miami’s favorite. That said, the Patriots are still receiving 66 percent of the bets against the spread. The Patriots offense is one of the top ones in the league, averaging the second most yards and fourth most points per game. They should score at will against the Dolphins who have been well below average defensively this season. All of the usual suspects for the Patriots are in play this week. The only concern here is that they might not play a full four quarters due to the blowout possibility. The Dolphins have one of the lowest implied team total of the slate at 15.5, so this is not an offense that you want a ton of exposure to. What we do know is that they are very likely going to be chasing points, so rostering some of their pass catchers might not be a bad idea. With Matt Moore starting, Kenny Stills would be my top receiver to target on this offense because recent history shows that he has an eye for Stills. That said, this is a Patriots defense that has really tightened things up defensively and are no longer playing like they were to start the season. They have become one of the tougher defenses in the league. I am approaching this game just like Vegas is projecting it, very bullish on the Patriots and having some exposure to pass catchers from Miami as they will be chasing points here.

Vegas lines are very helpful and prop bets can be as well. You can see yardage totals, projected touchdowns, and all sorts of different lines that can help you project what a player is expected to do. Best of luck to all this week.

If you have any questions, you can always find me on Twitter: @Armando_Marsal