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Vegas vs Fantasy Week 8 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|
|Rams vs. Packers||57||56.5||-0.5|
|Bengals vs. Buccaneers||53.5||54.5||1|
The Rams and Packers game should be a high scoring one according to Vegas, as it has the highest over/under on the slate. The over is receiving the majority of the bets (77 percent). The Rams have a 33 implied team total, which is the highest of any team on the slate, while the Packers have a 23.5 implied team total. Los Angeles is a 9.5 point favorite in this contest, but Green Bay is currently receiving 70 percent of the bets. This game should be high scoring and although Vegas thinks that the Rams should easily win this one, the bettors think otherwise. Without a doubt, this is a game you want exposure to this weekend. The usual suspects for the Rams are firmly in play – Jared Goff, Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, and Todd Gurley. The game environment really favors all of them, making them all fine options. On the other side, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are both very strong options as well. The Packers should be chasing points here, making this a positive game script for the passing game. In addition, they have not been able to establish a run game, which should force Rodgers to sling it. Aside from those two, Jimmy Graham, Randall Cobb, and Geronimo Allison can be considered as well. Neither of the defense will be making my rosters this weekend.
The Bengals and Buccanneers game is one I am really excited about. The over/under is the second highest on the slate, and it has jumped up one point since it opened, so it is trending in the right direction. At this time, 57 percent of the bets are being placed on the over. Cincinnati has a healthy 29 implied team total and Tampa Bay has 25.5 implied team total. The Bengals are currently 3.5 point favorites and are receiving 68 percent of the bets against the spread. I am with Vegas on this one, as I expect this to be a shootout. Neither of these defenses have been able to stop opposing offenses and both of these offenses can score points, as they have plenty of weapons. Let’s start with the Bengals side of the ball. Andy Dalton is in a prime spot against the worst pass defense in the NFL. He should be able to light up the Bucs and get back on track after some subpar performances in recent games. His pass catchers are also in prime spots and should have no trouble being productive. A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and C.J. Uzomah all make for strong plays this week and if you have them on your roster, do not hesitate to fire them up. Joe Mixon should also have some opportunities to score this week and catch passes out of the backfield, but this is a matchup I prefer using the receivers in. Of course in a season-long format, you are playing Mixon, but in DFS, I think there are better options. From the Bucs offense, Jameis Winston is in a great spot against the Bengals defense that has been generous to opposing signal callers. Winston has been lights out since returning from suspension and becoming the starter, and I expect that to continue this week, as he will be forced to sling it due to the horrendous defensive play for the Bucs. His pass catchers are all in play, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howards. You can also throw in Adam Humphries and Cameron Brate. The spread the ball on this offense, so if you are looking to stack Winston, Mike Evans will be your guy, as he has the more solidified role, but playing a naked Winston is not out of the question. Neither defenses are in play for me here.
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. 49ers||43||41.5||-1.5|
A battle of the two worst teams in the NFC West occurs this weekend, as the 49ers take on the Cardinals in what Vegas projects to be a low scoring game. The over/under is currently 41.5, moving down a point and a half since it open, and at this time 63 percent of the bets are on the under. Arizona has a 20.25 implied team total, while San Francisco has a 21.25 implied team total. The 49ers are a one point road favorite in this one and are receiving 72 percent of the bets against the spread. This is one of those games where there are a couple of interesting players due to the matchup, but the Vegas numbers lessen my excitement for the players. From the 49ers side, Raheem Mostert makes for a strong play should Matt Breida sit, as the Cardinals are one of the worst run defenses in the league and the game script could favor the run game for San Francisco. I am not excited about the passing game for the 49ers, but I do not hate George Kittle this week. Aside from that though, nothing else stands out at me in this offense. From Arizona, David Johnson is in a favorable matchup, but we have seen this before and he continues to lack efficiency, becoming very touchdown dependent. That said, he should not be benched in season long leagues. I also have some interest in Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald for Arizona, as this shapes up to be a solid matchup for them. They will not be core plays of mine this week, but are interesting options considering their potential low ownership.
The last thing I want to cover is the game with the biggest spread.
The Chiefs host the Broncos this week and are heavy favorites, favored by a slate high 10 points. This game also has one of the higher over/under’s of the slate at 53.5, but 56 percent of the bets are on the under. Kansas City has a healthy 31.75 implied team total, while Denver has a 21.75 implied team total. The Chiefs are receiving 61 percent of the bets against the spread. This is a great example of a superior team taking on an inferior team. The usual suspects from the Chiefs offense are all firmly in play – Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Kareem Hunt. This week however, I am far more bullish on the run game for the Chiefs than anything else. The Broncos have been horrendous against the run this season, allowing well over 100 rushing yards per game and seven rushing touchdowns. Hunt should smash in this spot and the game environment is in his favor. That said, I still think the passing attack for the Chiefs can do well in this matchup too. The Broncos pass catchers are in favorable matchups, putting Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas in play this week, and you can also throw in Courtland Sutton in the mix as a flier. In addition, I really like Phillip Lindsay this week. I know that the game script does not appear to be in the run game for Denver, but Lindsay’s ability to catch passes out of the backfield and the Chiefs struggles defensively this season, really makes him an interesting option this week. Despite this game being a potential blowout, I can’t roster the Chiefs defense, as they have been far too bad.
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