Vegas vs Fantasy Week 8 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
Patriots vs. Chargers 49 49.5 -0.5
Washington vs. Cowboys 50.5 47.5 -3

The Chargers head from the West Coast to the East Coast to take on the Patriots. New England comes into this game as one of the worst defenses in the league. They are yielding the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, fifth most to running backs, and eighth most to tight ends. They have played better as of late, but they are far from stout. The Patriots are 7.5 point favorites in this contest, so we could see the Chargers chasing points and relying on Rivers’ arm. If you are concerned about a quarterback traveling from West to East because, don’t be. In a 42 game sample size going back to last season, quarterbacks in this exact same situation, traveling from West to East and playing at 1pm Eastern, have exceeded expectations by an average of 3.86 points and have been consistent 66.7 percent of the time, per Fantasy Labs. On the other hand, the Patriots have one of the higher implied totals of this slate and face off against a middle of the pack Chargers defense. The short passes might come into play for the New England offense to avoid Brady from getting hit by the Chargers solid pass rush. James White is an intriguing play because of that, as he averages seven targets per game and could see a lot of dump offs. All pass catchers for New England are firmly in play and of course, Tom Brady is as well. The public thinks that this game exceed the implied total as 70 percent of the bets are on the over and they also think the Patriots cover as 64 percent of the bets are taking the Patriots against the spread. This could cause high ownership for the Pats and not so much for the Chargers, making them enticing in tournaments.

The Cowboys and Redskins game opened at a healthy 50.5 over/under, but has dropped three points since. The betting in this matchup is quite the opposite as the one above as 67 percent of the public is betting the under, but the Cowboys who are on the road are receiving 72 percent of the bets against the spread. Dallas is a two-point favorite in this matchup and have an implied team total of 24.75. Taking all of this into consideration, we can expect a close game here which means that from a fantasy standpoint, you want all the usual suspects from each offense. The best way to attack the Cowboys defense is through the air. They have been generous to both quarterbacks and receivers this season. On the other side, the Redskins really struggle against tight ends, allowing the third most fantasy points per game to the position, while giving up 37 receptions for 519 yards and three touchdowns. This is a game that could draw a lot of attention in DFS, but based on the Vegas numbers, has a shot to disappoint.
Game Open O/U Live O/U Move
Browns vs. Vikings 37.5 38 0.5

Since the line opened, it has increased half of a point and that could possibly be because of the Stefon Diggs news, as the Vikings implied team total moved up one point, while the Browns implied team total decreased by half of a point. Most bets against the spread (72 percent) are with the Vikings and 52 percent of the bets are on the under. Being that this game is in London, no team has home field advantage. The Vikings are expected to roll in this matchup as 10-point favorites. This is an offense that has some fantasy goodness in Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs (check status), and Jerick McKinnon. You can even consider Latavius Murray who could see some extra carries with a Vikings lead. For the Browns, there is not really much to like aside from maybe Duke Johnson who catches passes out of the backfield and the game script here favors pass catchers for Cleveland. As far as defenses, the Vikings make for a strong play this week.

The last thing I want to cover is the game with the biggest spread.
Teams Spread
Eagles -12.5
49ers 12.5

This is a very interesting game to me, as it could provide some fantasy goodness. The over/under on this game dropped two points and it stands at 45.5, and 51 percent of the public is betting the under. That is very close to a 50/50 so it can go either way. The Eagles are the heaviest favorites on the board this week and are receiving 57 percent of the bets against the spreads. There appears to be some comfort that they will cover, but not nearly as much as some of the other teams. The Eagles have the highest implied team total of the slate at 29 points, so this is an offense you want exposure too. From the Niners, I am interested in C.J. Beathard, Pierre Garcon, and Carlos Hyde because the game script favors them, and at least for Beathard and Garcon, this is a favorable matchup. Keeping a close eye on where the bets are going for this over/under could be key to getting this game right and it is something I will be doing.

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