A Look at the Lines, NFL Week 1

One of the tools long known to the daily fantasy sports (DFS) community, but not often used by the season-long fantasy sports player, is how to use the Las Vegas gambling lines for fantasy. The point spread, or “line,” on sporting events can help you as a fantasy owner when it’s time to build a DFS lineup or set your weekly roster in season long. In short, you can look at a projected game total and point spread and determine the points expected to be scored in any given contest.

For example, if team A is a 10 point favorite over team B and the game total is 48, you can expect that team A will score 29, and team B will score 19. This is in no way an exact science, nor is it accurate 100% of the time, but it will give you a general idea of what to expect from teams on any given week. That same week, team C might be a 7 point favorite over team D with a game total of 37, which gives team C an implied point total of 22 while team D is expected to score only 15 points.

This is a very simplistic breakdown, but using these examples, we can see that team A has an implied point total of 29 points while team D is looking at 15 points. Using these examples, more often than not, it would benefit you to use players from team A rather than team D.

Last season, we touched on every game, but this year Rick Kerns, James Hanmore, Joey Knish, and myself will be providing you with a short breakdown of only our favorite plays of the week for gambling purposes. We’ll also give a breakdown of each team’s projected point total and the point total for each game as well. That should help give you a nice foundation to work from as you make your start/sit decisions for the week. Thank you and good luck.


Rick Kerns:

Bengals +3 @ Colts

Vegas figures this is an even game, giving the obligatory 3 points to the visiting team. I’ll take those 3 points because the wrong team is favored here. Colts have too many question marks, Luck’s first game back in a long while, not a great OL, unproven running game and I believe the defense to be suspect as well. Bengals match up well in this one with some nice offensive weapons, Dalton was hot in the preseason, and he should be able to carry that into this one. Mixon is now the feature back and will do work against the Colts. Bengals defense can get after the passer, and that will be tough on the Colts OL and Luck. Again- the wrong team is favored. Take the Bengals money line as well at +135.

Rams -4 @ Raiders

Looks too easy but I just don’t see how this one goes wrong. Raiders are an absolute dumpster fire and the Rams are legit. A teaser of Bengals +9 and Rams +2 is EASY MONEY!


Bengals +3

Bengals money line +135

Rams -4

Bengals +9 and Rams +2 teaser


James Hanmore:

Rams -4 @ Raiders

There is only one point spread I really love this week, and that is the Rams. They get a prime-time Monday night game against Gruden’s Raiders and -4 almost seems ridiculous for a team that looked really good last year under McVay’s regime. Would it be surprising if the Raiders locker room is already questioning Gruden following the trade of Khalil Mack? I have the Rams winning this by upwards of ten points.

Redskins @ Cardinals over 44

44 feels like a pretty low total in the Redskins-Cardinals game. The Redskins should be a fairly high scoring team with Alex Smith at quarterback and a strong running game assuming Perine has improved from last year, and Adrian Peterson still has it. Then you have the Cardinals who have their star running back David Johnson back and now have a great backup in Chase Edmonds. When you look at Bradford at QB for them, he loves a slot receiver to throw to. Who is better in that position than Larry Fitzgerald? This game could go way over that total by a reasonable distance.


Rams -4

Redskins at Cardinals over 44


John DiBari:

Falcons @ Eagles under 45

I’m on board with both the Bengals and Rams selections. If you’re looking for some action on Thursday night, I like the under in the Atlanta-Philadelphia game. Thursday games have been garbage traditionally, and I expect more of the same here. Foles has looked shaky for the Eagles thus far, Ajayi has already been a little banged up and Alshon Jeffery is out. All the excitement of the championship banner being raised… then poof. The Eagles should come out flat on the offensive side of the ball after all the banner raising hoopla. Atlanta looked terrible under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian last season. They’re typically not a great road team either- especially outdoors. Last season they averaged 21 points in road games, and I think they took a step back offensively. Let’s kick the season off with a whimper.

Saints -2.5 and Chiefs @ Chargers over 41 (teaser)

Looking for a simple teaser? The Saints are at home, hosting the abysmal Buccaneers laying 9-and-a-half points. A 7 point teaser will bump that down to an amazing 2.5, getting it below the key number 3. A game to pair up with is the Chiefs-Chargers contest. The Chiefs defense might be one of the worst units in the league, and I expect them to give up at least 20 each and every week this season.

On the other hand, I believe in sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes and think the gunslinger and his weapons on offense can score 20 themselves each week. With the total sitting at 48, teasing it down to 41 feels great. Six total touchdowns will get it done, or 5 scores and 2 field goals score the push, but I think it goes closer to 50 and the 41 comes and goes early in this one. Over the last decade, this matchup has averaged 44 points.


Atlanta at Philadelphia under 45

Saints -2.5 and KC/LAC over 41 teaser


Projected Totals

In no way should this be your go to when making lineup decisions, but this can be a great tool to target sleepers for DFS and can be used as tie breaker when deciding between multiple players in season long. The games and teams in green should be strongly considered,  the yellow also shows a favorable game script for fantasy. White is middle of the road. Orange games and teams have much less upside regarding scoring opportunities ,while red should give you some concern.


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Please be a responsible gambler!


Chicagoan living in Las Vegas. Fantasy Football writer & Director of In-Season Analysis for Dynasty Football Factory, blogger for USFantasy and contributor to TheFakeHockey. Member FSWA.

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