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, Spencer Scoled, 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.
(last week: 0-1/season: 5-1)
Well, not so much 6-0, but 5-1 sure isn’t bad. Both the Bengals and Broncos played poorly and couldn’t keep their games within double digits. Pretty sad effort on their part. Oh well, we’ll come back this week and get another W. This week I have a couple of teasers I like, one includes a couple of road teams and the other a couple of home teams.
Minnesota Vikings @ Los Angeles Rams -1
Despite losing both CBs last week to injury, the Rams are still the play here. The Rams offense can do pretty much whatever they want, and on the other side the Vikings offense is in trouble with a poor running game even if Cook comes back he won’t be full strength and Cousins, well, I”m not a fan.
New York Jets @ Jacksonville Jaguars -1
The Jags have got to be salty after a poor performance against the Titans who seem to have their number. The Jags have the talent on both sides of the ball, and that should be more than enough to handle the Jets who are playing better than most expected. Despite their surprising start, the Jets shouldn’t be able to hang close in this one.
Detroit Lions +9 @ Dallas Cowboys
I’m not sure if the Lions were that impressive, or if the Patriots were just that bad last Monday night, but we’ll side with the Lions. The offense is coming together, and they seem to have found an RB in Johnson. Stafford and the receiving corps might be the best unit in the league. The Cowboys have no weapons for Dak to throw to, and Zeke can’t do it all. The Lions probably win this outright, but we’ll take the +9 on the teaser.
Kansas City Chiefs +1 @ Denver Broncos
I’m a little late to the party that is the Chiefs right now, but how can you argue with what they’ve done. Offense looks unstoppable, and the defense (that was thought to be horrible) has actually played well early in games, allowing the offense to build big leads. Then it seems, the defense lets up and gives up the garbage yards and scores to make the game look better for the opposing team than it was in reality.
There you have it, two good looking teasers. Enjoy the games and good luck.
Rams -1 & Jags -1 teaser
Lions +9 & Chiefs +1 teaser
(*editor’s note: The picks were in early Thursday, and I failed to get this edited and published ahead of the Thursday night game. My apologies to Rick and our readers.)
(last week: 1-2/season: 2-5)
Cincinnati Bengals +4.5 @ Atlanta Falcons
After a poor start to the season, I am looking for a big comeback this week. Starting with something that makes me feel a bit ill to say. Bengals +4.5 is a solid play this week. The Falcons defense is beaten up already, Dalton is playing well and has finally found another receiver that isn’t AJ Green in Tyler Boyd. They should at least cover the spread, don’t be surprised if they win the game outright.
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals +3 (38.5)
I am a big Josh Rosen fan, so I am excited to see what he can do this week. Arizona has played poorly, mainly due to terrible quarterback play from Sam Bradford. Now Rosen is getting his shot, and I think they will improve drastically. Give me both Arizona +3 and the over in this game as I think both teams will at least compete in this matchup.
Bengals + 4.5
Seahawks/Cardinals over 38.5
JOHN DI BARI
(last week: 1-2/season: 3-4)
New York Jets @ Jacksonville Jaguars -7.5
The Jags host the Jets after a huge, disappointing home loss to Tennessee last week. If we’ve learned anything through three weeks of NFL action, it’s that Jets’ rookie signal-caller Sam Darnold is prone to some bad throws and decisions. This is not the defense you want to face while you’re adjusting to the NFL game. I think Jacksonville smashes the Jets and I’d like this side laying 13 points, maybe even more.
Kansas City Chiefs -4.5 @ Denver Broncos (55)
If you’ve read this column each week, this is no surprise. I’m going to keep going to the well repeatedly with the overs in the Chiefs games. They’ll score 30-something and give up 28+ week in and week out. I don’t see anything on Denver’s defense that leads me to believe they’ll be able to stop KC and I think they can cover the 4.5 in a shootout.
Cleveland Browns +3 @ Oakland Raiders
I got the Browns earlier in the week at +3 in Las Vegas, but most of the Vegas books have moved it down to -2.5. Offshore you can still get the Browns getting 3. I’m a Baker Mayfield fanboy and maybe I’m betting with my heart and not my head, but I can’t see the Raiders laying points to anyone. Cleveland has renewed energy with Mayfield under center while the Raiders find a new way to lose each week. Give me the points.
Chiefs/Broncos over 55
(last week: 0-4 /season:1-7)
New York Jets @ Jacksonville Jaguars -7.5
Sam Darnold is up to five interceptions on the year in three games. He now faces the vaunted Jags defense who are likely eager to welcome the rookie to TIAA Bank Field. Last season the Jags went 4-2 ATS after a loss. In those four wins, Jacksonville blew out their opponents: 44-7 vs Ravens, 30-9 vs Steelers, 27-0 vs Colts, and 30-10 vs Colts. Bortles is hard to trust in any situation, but I think this defense sets the tone and we get a one-sided game that covers.
Kansas City Chiefs -5.0 @ Denver Broncos (55)
This one feels a bit trappy but Kansas City’s offense looks unstoppable. I don’t see it slowing down any time soon, even if they are playing in Mile High. The Chiefs are a perfect 3-0 ATS and covering their spreads by an average of 9.3 points. They are also 3-0 on overs, covering those by an average of 19 points. Last season, the Broncos were 2-8 ATS after a loss and 1-4-1 ATS against divisional opponents.
The Chiefs are allowing 30.7 points per game and the Broncos 23.3. The Chiefs are scoring at a clip of 39.3 points per game and the Broncos, 20.3. The Broncos should be able to contribute a healthy chunk to this over, but won’t be able to keep up to the Chiefs’ 91.67% red zone conversion rate to cover the spread.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Tennessee Titans +4
The Titans’ defense has been quite impressive: 1st in opponent red zone TD scoring, top 10 in sack and interception percentages. You could chalk that up to a poor showing by the Jags, but the fact of the matter is Tennessee is 2-1 with mostly Blaine Gabbert. Mariota won’t be limited this weekend and looked good last Sunday when he was forced into the game, despite his elbow/finger situation. Adoree Jackson and Jack Conklin should also be good to go on Sunday, which helps this Titans team immensely.
Chiefs/Broncos Over 55
In no way should this be your primary go to when making lineup decisions, but this can be a great tool to target sleepers for DFS and as tie-breaker when deciding between multiple players in season-long leagues. 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.
You’re going to want to target players in the KC/DEN, CIN/ATL, BAL/PIT, and NO/NYG games where you can, and you can also take a look at Chargers players as well. You should probably look to fade the SEA/AZ and NYJ/JAX games. Although a few of us think the Jags will be an underrated provider of fantasy points this week. Other teams to probably fade include the Bills, 49ers, and Titans.
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