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Vegas vs Fantasy Week 3 2018
By 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 maybe a defense. 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, paint a picture as to what to expect in different situations, and how to attack that game. 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. 49ers 55 55 0
Falcons vs. Saints 53 53.3 +0.5
The Chiefs will play their first home game of the season as they host the 49ers. This contest has the highest over/under on the slate and is currently receiving 64 percent of the bets on the over. The Chiefs have implied team total of 30.5 points, while the 49ers have an implied team total 24.5 points. The Chiefs are six point home favorites and are receiving 66 percent of the bets against the spread. Based on the Vegas numbers, the Chiefs are expected to win this game and score a lot of points. This is a great spot for Patrick Mahomes against a 49ers defense that ranks 22nd in DVOA against the pass. He is off to a phenomenal start and should continue to roll. Tyreek Hill is also in a good position, but I do have some concerns because he is not demanding a lot of targets and paying up for a receiver I have projected for 6-8 targets does not feel all that great for me. That being said, his upside is undeniable and regardless of matchup he has slate breaking potential anytime he is on the field, and this is also a good matchup for him. Travis Kelce is the player I am most keen on from this offense. Mahomes peppered Kelce with 10 targets, which he was able to convert into seven catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Once again, Kelce is in a good spot and should be considered one of the top tight ends on the slate. Kareem Hunt is off to a rough start, but this could be the game where he turns it around. The potential game script favors him as the Chiefs are at home and favored, not to mention, I do not see the 49ers keeping up with them, so there is a chance that Hunt will see some extra carries as they manage the clock. His lack of involvement in the passing game out of the backfield is what is keeping his ceiling down this season, but it is a good price for him in a favorable situation. On the 49ers side of things, this could be the week that Jimmy Garoppolo fans have been waiting for. He faces a Chiefs defense that ranks 29th in DVOA against the pass and has been pretty bad defending quarterbacks thus far. Eric Berry remains unlikely to play this week, so the Chiefs remain vulnerable in the secondary. Marquise Goodwin will be a game time call, but if he plays, I really like his price tag and potential in tournaments. The one player that makes a lot of sense from this offense and could go overlooked because he let down DFS players last week is George Kittle. He has a good shot here at a big game and remains fairly priced. The game script favors the passing game, so that would be the way I approach the 49ers. Both defenses are out of my player pool this week for obvious reasons.
The Saints and Falcons have the second highest over/under of the slate and 68 percent of the action is on the over at this time. Atlanta has a healthy 28.25 implied team total, while the Saints have a 25.25 implied team total. Falcons are at home and favored by three points, but 62 percent of the bets are taking the Saints against the spread. There are some things worth noting about this matchup before we get into the players that stand out. For starters, this is a division game, which usually means that the teams are very familiar with one another. Another thing to take note of is that in their last 10 meetings, they have combined for 50 or more points just 40 percent of the time. Last season, they combined for 37 and 36 points in their two meetings. That said, the Falcons defense is dealing with injuries and the Saints defense is not playing as well as it did last season. The Falcons have some interesting players this week considering how cheap they are on DraftKings. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Austin Hooper all make for viable options. The Saints currently rank 31st in DVOA against the pass. Jones is actually leading all receivers in air yards with 477 and although he has a lower floor than most of the top wide outs, he still has a really nice ceiling compared to his price. Hooper is just too cheap and does have touchdown equity considering his role in the red zone (tied for most RZ targets with Jones on this offense). On the other side, Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas all make for strong plays. My favorite of the bunch is Kamara who should be able to take advantage of the Falcons weakness to defend pass catching backs. Both of these offenses are firmly in play and there are multiple ways to get creative with this game. This is also a potential game stack opportunity. No defense here is in my player pool this week.
The next thing I want to focus on is the game with the lowest point total.
Game Open O/U Live O/U Move
Cardinals vs. Bears 38 39 +1
This contest currently has the lowest total on the board, but 60 percent of the bets are on the over, which is probably why we have seen a minor increase in the over/under. The Bears have an implied team total of 21.75 points, while the Cardinals have a 17.25 implied team total. Bears are favored by 4.5 points and are currently receiving 73 percent of the bets against the spread. There is not a ton to love about this matchup, aside from maybe both defenses here. The Bears have been stout thus far and get a great matchup against an underwhelming offense that got shut out last weekend against the Rams. The Cardinals are also an appealing cheap option because Mitch Trubisky has been very up and down this season, and could make mistakes. I will not fault anyone for rostering Jordan Howard or Allen Robinson from the Bears, as they are going to get their fair share of opportunities. That said, a lot would have to go right for them to have a ceiling game here. I feel the same about David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, which is why I am not planning on having exposure to them.
The last thing I want to cover is the game with the biggest spread.
The Vikings are the heaviest favorites on the board by a large margin and are actually receiving 67 percent of the bets against the spread. This contest has a 41 point over/under and the Vikings have an implied team total of 28.75 points, while the Bills have an embarrassing 12.25 point implied team total. This is a tough game to gauge because the Vikings offense definitely has plenty of great options to choose from, but considering the blowout potential here, it really makes it difficult to feel confident that we will get a full game out of the starters, limiting the potential ceiling. That said, I would not mind taking chances with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, or Kyle Rudolph in tournaments as they will be low owned and if this game gets out of hand as expected, one of them would likely have something to do with it. It is certainly a guessing game if you are taking that approach and you would have to guess right to come out successful. Latavius Murray will get the start for the Vikings as Dalvin Cook has been ruled out. This is a lovely matchup for him and the potential game script is not going to get any better, so feel free to fire him up this weekend. The Vikings defense is the best defensive play in a vacuum, but they are expensive, so it is a matter of whether you want to pay up for them this week or not. From the Bills side, I have nothing at all.
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