Vegas vs Fantasy Week 14 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
Chiefs vs. Raiders 47.5 49 1.5
Rams vs. Eagles 51 48 -3

The Chiefs and Raiders will face each other for the second time this season. In their first meeting, the Raiders beat the Chiefs 31-30. This week’s contest opened with a 47.5 over/under, but has moved up a point and a half since, and 71 percent of the action is on the over. The Chiefs are four point favorites this week and are receiving 59 percent of the bets against the spread. Both of these teams are projected to score over 21 points. What Vegas is telling us here is that this could be a potential shootout and that makes a lot of sense. These teams have struggled defensively this season and both teams have plenty of weapons on offense. The Raiders struggle against both the pass and the run, so this is a great spot for all of the Chiefs top offensive players. In their last meeting, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce both found the pay dirt, while Kareem Hunt eclipsed 100 total yards. On the other side, the Chiefs have really struggled against the pass this season, so Derek Carr and his pass catchers are firmly in play. Carr had his best game of the season against Kansas City, where he threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. Both of these offenses can score in bunches and neither defense has shown the ability to shut down opponents, so this is a matchup that you want exposure to as it should produce plenty of fantasy goodness.

This matchup between the Rams and Eagles should be a good one. In fact, this game could end up determining who gets a first round by in the NFC for the playoffs as the Eagles are 10-2 and the Rams are 9-3. A win here could lock up the head-to-head record, which could be the deciding factor should these two teams end up with the same record. Both of these offenses rank amongst the best in the league. The Eagles average the third most yards and are tied for first averaging 30.1 points per game, while the Rams average the fourth most yards per game and are the team that is tied with the Eagles in first averaging 30.1 points per game. That said, both of these defenses also rank amongst the top 10 as far as points per game allowed, so this should be an interesting matchup. The over/under opened at 51 points, but has dropped three points since then. The betting is still bullish on the under, as 56 percent of the money is betting the under. The Rams are one point home favorites, but the Eagles are receiving 70 percent of the bets against the spread. This game is tough to read as it is two potent offenses and two very solid defenses, but something has to give. Both teams are projected to score more than 23 points, so there should be some fantasy goodness. Based on the numbers, Vegas thinks that the offenses will flourish in this contest. The Eagles have struggled against pass catching backs, yielding 68 receptions for 499 yards and five receiving touchdowns, which is the second most in the league. This puts Todd Gurley in a phenomenal spot. The Eagles have also shown vulnerability at times against the pass, so targeting someone like Cooper Kupp who sees a lot of high percentage targets makes a lot of sense. From the Eagles side, Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz are both in play as they are every week. The Rams biggest hole defensively is against the run, but it is tough to have much faith in any of the Eagles running backs as they use a running back by committee approach, but if you want to play one, Jay Ajayi would be the one I would roll the dice on. Both signal callers in this game are also in play this week. This game has a lot of appeal to it and fantasy owners should not hesitate to start their players from this game.

The next thing I want to focus on is the game with the lowest point total.
Game Open O/U Live O/U Move
Bengals vs. Bears 37 39 2

The Bengals and Bears currently has the lowest over/under of the week, but it is trending in the right direction as the line has moved up two points since it opened and 67 percent of the bets are on the over. The Bengals are 6.5 home favorites and are receiving 59 percent of the bets against the spread. Both of these teams are in the bottom 10 in the league in points per game, while being 31st and 32nd in yards per game. Neither offense is all that explosive and both defenses have played solid for the majority of the season. This is not a game that I have much interest in besides the usual suspects like A.J. Green and maybe some Jordan Howard. Gio Bernard is also interesting as he is expected to start in place of the injured Joe Mixon and the game script does play in his favor. Aside from that, I am not looking at many offensive players from this game. I have more interest in both defenses and currently consider them both strong streaming options.

The last thing I want to cover is the game with the biggest spread.
Teams Spread
Patriots -11
Dolphins 11

This comes to no surprise whatsoever. You have arguably the best team in football playing one of the worst teams in football. The Patriots are 11 point favorites against the Dolphins and are receiving 78 percent of the bets against the spread. They faced each other several weeks ago and in that contest the Patriots won 35-17. Tom Brady torched the Dolphins in that last meeting, throwing four touchdowns. He has a good track record against them and is once again the top quarterback this week. The Dolphins defense has been bad all season and their secondary has really struggled, so Brady should pick them apart once again. New England will be without Rob Gronkowski, but could get Kevin Hogan back. The game script here really favors the running backs for the Patriots and in recent games, Rex Burkhead has been the most productive back in this backfield. He and Dion Lewis can be considered as viable options. From the Dolphins side, it is tough to feel great about anyone in particular aside from Jarvis Landry. The Patriots have really turned things around defensively and have become one of the better defenses in the league for a little over a month now. What we do know is that Miami will likely be chasing points, so all of the pass catchers should see a bump this week as the Dolphins should be throwing a ton. New England has the highest implied total of the week at 29 and Miami is projected to score just 18 points. There is far more appeal on the Patriots side for fantasy purposes in this one.

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