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, 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: 2-0/season: 7-1)
Baltimore Ravens +3 @ Cleveland Browns
Denver Broncos +7 @ New York Jets
(last week: 1-1-1/season: 3-6-1)
Like the Browns after week 3, I was 1-1-1 last week with the Bengals winning, Cardinals lost by 3 after I took +3 and the totals of 38.5 just missing with 37 points scored. I need a winning week and this feels like the winning week.
New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers -7
After a bye week, Carolina should be well rested and looking for a big win to get to 3-1. Given that scenario, I am happy to take -7 against the Giants. ‘Big Blue’ have had a tough start to the year against the Jaguars, Saints and having to go to Jerry’s World against the Cowboys. The Panthers are a tough opponent and should put up a lot of points against the Giants defense. -7 doesn’t feel like enough.
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills (38.5)
The Titans have quietly gotten off to a 3-1 start to the season after their overtime win against the reigning champion Eagles. Whereas, Buffalo will be looking for redemption after being shut out against Green Bay. I think Vegas has overreacted with the totals on this game and 38.5 is too low. Give me the over on this and I’m happy.
Titans/Bills over 38.5
JOHN DI BARI
(last week: 1-2-1/season: 4-6-1)
Last week I went to the well a few times too many, going back to the Chiefs and the over, and I’ll hit that a few more times as the season gnew oes on but not this week. I think we have a market correction to the high scoring this week and I like quite a few dogs and unders after a high scoring first 4 weeks in the NFL.
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots (51.5)
Do you expect two good Thursday night games in a row? I don’t. The Colts come in after an overtime loss without T.Y. Hilton and the Pats come in likely without Gronk. Edelman returns, but at age 32 after an ACL tear, I think they bring him along slowly. I don’t think this game is a total clunker, but I don’t think it comes close to the total with both teams playing it safe on a week of short rest.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns (47)
Many of these AFC North games end up as low scoring defensive battles, and this was before the Browns had a formidable defensive unit. Flacco and Mayfield have looked good thus far, with plenty of weapons, but I see the defenses taking over in this one and we get a low scoring contest.
Atlanta Falcons +3 @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers get the ubiquitous “3 points for being at home” in this one, and I thought it was a little surprising. The Falcons’ defense has been hobbled with injuries, and historically they haven’t been a strong road team, especially outdoors, but getting 3 seems like a gift. The Steelers seem to be in total disarray. Big Ben looks shaky at best, Antonio Brown is disgruntled, James Conner looks over his head since his big week 1 and the Le’Veon Bell drama got stirred up again this week. They’re in a free fall at this point and shouldn’t be laying points to one of the NFC’s hottest offenses.
Oakland Raiders +6 @ Los Angeles Chargers
This pains me, as I think the Raiders under Gruden are really bad. However, the Chargers love to lay an egg in a sot like this. They barely got by the Niners last week, and let’s face it, this is going to be a home game for the Raiders. I don’t necessarily think the Raiders are better, but I do think the Bolts will find a way to blow it. I got it early in the week at 6, but he line has moved down to 5 at most places, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it at 4 or 4.5 at kick off.
Colts/Patriots under 51.5
Ravens/Browns under 47
(last week: 2-2 /season: 3-9)
Arizona Cardinals +4.5 @ San Francisco 49ers
Josh Rosen looked good and I’m excited for the guy. He threw bullets into tight windows on numerous occassions, including a dime to Kirk that ultimately ended up in a flag for defensive pass interference. Like the Browns, this team has entered a new era with their quarterback. Poor coaching has limited this team but I think they play aggressively against San Fran and Rosen takes a leap in his development.
Baltimore Ravens -3 @ Cleveland Browns
The Ravens will look to take down the statistically inferior Browns and keep pace with Cincy. I see this going one of two ways: Baltimore rolls Baker and the Browns, or at worst, a push. I don’t see Cleveland covering this spread.
Since 2016 the Ravens are 4-0 against the Browns. They have won 26.5 to 13.5 and 25.5 to 10 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Granted, the Browns are a different team, but so are the Ravens. Flacco has been a completely different version of himself with his new toys. He is averaging 313 yards per game and has eight TDs to only two interceptions.
Baltimore is 4th in attempts in the red zone with 4.2 per game while Cleveland is 21st with 2.8 per game. I think this will play a large part in covering as the Ravens won’t give up as many big plays as Oakland did last week.
Finally, as many points as Cleveland put up last week, Baker struggled. He turned the ball over four times, including a pick-six to start the game off. I think the Ravens will cause just as much havoc.
Oakland Raiders +5 @ LA Chargers (51.5)
Did you know the Raiders have beaten the Chargers straight up 4 out of the last 6 games these teams went head-to-head? I’ve never been a big Derek Carr guy, but you can’t deny the guy is balling right now.
Carr is averaging 343 passing yards per game and averaging a 71% completion rate. He has been reckless at times with multiple interceptions in all but one game, but if he can limit them, this team could take a step in the right direction. Beastmode has been doing just that and Cooper’s hands are looking more reliable than normal.
Neither defense scares me and this should be a closer shoot-out.
Raiders/Chargers Over 51.5
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.
TARGETS AND FADES
The Steelers, Chargers, and Saints are the highest projected teams in the highest projected games this week. Each should all have several fantasy relevant options this week. On the other hand, the Bills, Cardinals, Broncos and Giants should probably be avoided outside of the marquee names. 14 teams are projected to amass more than 3 touchdowns worth of points, so the fantasy points should be there for the taking this weekend.
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