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 “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. To be consistent, we all use the lines found here courtesy of our friends at BetOnline.ag.
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. Now, this is neither an exact science, nor 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 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.
Each week, Greg Brandt, Rick Kerns, James Hanmore and myself, John Di Bari will provide you with a short breakdown of each game using Las Vegas lines, and you can find the rest of our weekly content, including start-sit suggestions and waiver wire recommendations here. Thank you and good luck.
Baltimore Ravens -3.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars (London) (39.5)
This matchup is being played at the Jaguars home away from home, London. This early morning Sunday matchup has the lowest over/under for the weekend. The Ravens cross the pond as the 3.5-point favorite with a projected 21.5 points. Entering Week-3 the Ravens have averaged 22 points per game to this point, which falls in line with their weekly projection. With the absence of Danny Woodhead, look for Buck Allen to continue his role as the primary fantasy back in Baltimore. Through two games the Ravens defense has only given up 10 points thus far. Be sure to start the Ravens defense going against Blake Bortles and the lackluster Jaguars offense.
The Jaguars enter this game with a projected 18 points and coming off a very disappointing divisional game. Where the Titans took it to the Jaguars offensively and defensively. The best option to this point has been Leonard Fournette. If the Jaguars get down big early that could nullify Fournette’s touches right off the bat. There will be few promising plays for the Jags facing this defense. (GB)
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers -5.5 (47.5)
The Saints enter this divisional matchup as a 5.5-point underdog. Over the last 8 years, you haven’t heard that often, if ever. Drew Brees and his Saints come in at a disappointing 0-2 and are only projected at 21 points this week. Through two games the Saints are averaging 19.5 per game. Carolina has only given up 3 points in each of its games thus far, but neither offensive unit that they faced appears to be very good at this point. With the slow start, the Saints still might be another week away from a breakout going against this stout Panthers defense. If the Saints offense does finally take off look for a big one from Michael Thomas. Alvin Kamara is another Saint to keep an eye on, he’s been a constant target out of the backfield.
The 2-0 Panthers enter this game with a projected 26.5 total. With the injury to Greg Olsen, it appears Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess are set to get a steady workload. Through 2 games, Jonathan Stewart has been given 33 carries, doing his best to fend off the young Christian McCaffrey. This might be a week where you see a big receiving play from McCaffrey. Last week, Saints rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone was burned for two touchdowns in coverage. If McCaffrey gets lined up one-on-one with Anzalone look out. (GB)
Cleveland Browns -1 at Indianapolis Colts (40.5)
In this battle of 0-2 teams, the Colts come in as a home dog to the Browns. The Colts enter this game putting up 11 points per game. The projected total comes in at 19.75, even that low total will be difficult for the Colts to get. The Browns defense has been solid to this point. Starting any Colts player other than Frank Gore is risky. The receivers and tight ends are really capped at this point with the lack of quarterback options in Indy.
The Browns enter this game as a one-point favorite with a projected 20.75 points. With an injury to young receiver Corey Coleman, look for Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins to continue to see an increased role in the Browns offense. He caught 7 of 11 targets in Week-2 both leading the team. Isaiah Crowell hasn’t done much to this point neither has Kenny Britt. Britt appears to be just showing up for a check at this point. Duke Johnson continues to get targets, but not many carries. He could be a guy to make a play against this depleted Colts linebacking unit. (GB)
Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans -3 (42.5)
One of the most disappointing offenses to this point in the season has been the Seahawks. This offense enters Week-3 only averaging 10.5 points per game. They have a projected Week-3 total of 19.75. The Seahawk offense has produced just one touchdown through two games! At some point, you would imagine this offense gets back to normal if the offensive line can even slightly give Russell Wilson some time. After two disappointing games, I’m looking for Wilson to have a bounce back game. His top receiver Baldwin looks for a possible increase in targets with the injury to Jimmy Graham. It’s still unknown at this point how much if at all the injury will affect Graham.
The Titans come into the weekend with a projected 22.75 points total. Mariota has looked decent as a passer but is lacking in the touchdown category which is a big one for fantasy. Don’t’ look now but we may have a running back controversy brewing in Tennessee. Derrick Henry saw more carries and was much more effective with his touches than DeMarco Murray. Averaging just over 3 yards per carry through two games DeMarco might be reaching the end of a productive career. Henry may be the back to own going forward in this offense. (GB)
Pittsburgh Steelers -7 at Chicago Bears (44)
Steelers come into Chi-town as big favorites and have an implied total of 25.5. Their offense hasn’t been the Steelers we are used to seeing but they’ve faced an improved Cleveland D and a top Minnesota D so they get a little breather this week. Look for Bell to get on track this week in a big way with all the LB injuries the Bears have. All the other usual suspects for the Steelers are certainly in play.
The Bears are sticking with Glennon at least to start this one, but you have to think Trubisky gets his shot soon. In the meantime, about the only startable asset on the Bears is the “human joystick,” RB Tarik Cohen. He’s heavily involved in all aspects of the game plans – and with Howard nursing an injury that will certainly continue.
Steelers win big, cover their implied total but doubt the Bears score enough to go over the total. (RK)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings (Off)
This one is off the board at the time of this writing based on the uncertainty regarding QB Sam Bradford and his status for the game because of his knee troubles.
I’d imagine Bradford plays in this one, but certainly won’t be as effective as he was in week 1. Regardless, he’ll still play well enough along with Diggs, Cook, Thielen, and Rudolph to get the “W” along with a good performance from the always good Vikings D.
Now, that’s not to say that the Bucs won’t play well. I think Winston, Evans, and company will do some good things as well in the passing game, but don’t look for much in the run game. (RK)
Atlanta Falcons -3 at Detroit Lions (50.5)
You’ve got to love what these two teams are doing. Both are playing well and this should be a very fun game to watch. The Falcons are favored on the road with an implied total of 26.75 and why not with the way they are playing. Play’em if you’ve got’em and I’d look for Julio to be more involved this week.
Stafford looks very comfortable in his offense and his ability. He’s earning the title of highest paid QB. Abdullah got more involved in the run game last week and showed well. The only issue here is Detroit’s offensive line is a little suspect and can they give Stafford the time to make plays. That’ll be helped a bit by LB Beasley being out for the Falcons, so they’ll be without their best pass rusher. I’d look for WR Golden Tate to be all over the field trying to stay away from CB Desmond Trufant and picking up some good numbers in this one.
I like the Falcons here just barely to cover, winning by 4 and the difference being their defense does more to stop the other than the Lions defense. (RK)
Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers -8.5 (44.5)
The Bengals just haven’t looked good on offense and it cost their offensive coordinator his job. So, a new one comes in and I’d bet he decides quickly to get the ball to his best players: WR A.J. Green and RB Joe Mixon. Enough of this LaFell and Erickson nonsense and surely, he’ll put RB Jeremy Hill where he belongs, on the bench. Regardless, I doubt they have much success here as GB is looking very solid on defense and I expect the Bengals offense to be better, but not near good enough in this one.
The Packers have in implied total of 26.5 and I think that’s easily attainable by their offense in this one. They may get a score from their defense with Dalton on the other side. It’s possible Jordy doesn’t play in this one, but even without him they have enough weapons to get it done. Look for Rodgers to spread it around and Montgomery will be heavily involved on the ground and through the air. 8.5 is a big number to cover, but if Jordy was playing I’d probably have no problem with it. Since Jordy is questionable, I’ll say the Bengals score some late garbage points to cover, just barely. (RK)
Denver Broncos -3 at Buffalo Bills (40)
The Broncos travel to the east coast as a 3-point favorite to take on the Bills. The Broncos come in with a projected 21.5-point total. Coming off a big offensive performance that saw Trevor Siemian throw 4 touchdown passes. The Bills defense has only given up 10.5 points per game to this point. After a 42-point game against the Cowboys, the Broncos might be in for a tougher test this week. DeMaryius Thomas has been a constant target for the Broncos offense. I would look for that to continue into Week-3.
The Bills are coming off a disappointing week of only mustering up 3 points and 176 total yards against the Panthers. The Bills offense has looked as bad as we expected in preseason. Other than riding LeSean McCoy, not a lot of good options in Buffalo to play. (GB)
Miami Dolphins -6 at New York Jets (42)
The Jets season is going how we expected too. The Jets enter this game as the 6-point home underdog. The Jets don’t have much going for them offensively at this point. The home dog enters this game with a projected 18-point total. The Jets have had no running game to this point. Not much through the air either. Last week we saw Jermaine Kearse haul in two touchdown catches. He’s been McCown’s favorite target to this point. Kearse has some value as a cheap DFS option or very deep roster leagues.
The Dolphins travel to New York for their second game of the season. They enter as the favorite and have a projected 24-point total. Jay Ajayi is coming off a big week 1 that saw him rush for 122 yards. Ajayi and DeVante Parker are a couple of Dolphins who can have big weeks against the floundering Jets. Jay Cutler had a decent debut for the Dolphins. If he can continue to limit turnovers, he’ll be a serviceable option in superflex leagues as your QB2. (GB)
Houston Texans at New England Patriots -13 (44)
Brady sure looked like the G.O.A.T. once again last week. This week they have an implied total just North of 4 touchdowns at 28.5. Houston’s D is always tough but they are a man down at CB so I’d expect Brady and company to have a good day. Who knows with the run game, but it seems Gillislee is locked in for goal-line carries and James White is the man to own for his pass catching. Let’s all hope Gronk is good to go.
Watson got a “W” last week but like I’ve said here before, he has a long way to go before he is a legit NFL quarterback in the passing game. He can run and that is clear, but that won’t last forever. Time will tell if he has a long-term future in this league. My money is on “no”. Hopkins is the only receiver to play here and Miller has an okay week at RB; however, Foreman got some touches and I’d expect that to continue.
Two touchdowns are always very tough to cover in the NFL, but I think it’s highly possible here and I’d look for nearly a 3 touchdown win for the Pats. (RK)
Oakland Raiders -3 at Washington Redskins (53.5)
Highest total on the board here and this game has shootout written all over it if, and it’s a big if, Washington can hold up their end of the bargain. Raiders are another team with an implied total over 4 touchdowns at 28.5 and I’d say that is certainly possible. Carr and Crabtree have a real connection, sure would be nice if Carr and Cooper could get that going and it would help if Cooper would stop the silly drops. Lynch is the thumper in the run game and Richard is the change of pace guy. All have value this week.
The Skins aren’t hitting on all cylinders in their offense and the Raiders are playing well on defense. So, we’ll just have to hope Washington can get on track here or maybe just be playing catch-up all day. They’ll possibly be without RB Kelley which could hurt, but how about that Chris Thompson going off in his place. Thompson has always been a threat in the pass game but he did it via land and air last week. It’s a shame they seem reluctant to use him more. Maybe they have no choice this week. I’d expect a lot of passing by the Skins so Cousins, Reed, Crowder, Pryor, and Thompson are all good options.
Raiders win and cover but we’ll all hope for a close shoot-out. (RK)
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles -6 (43)
The Eagles head into this NFC East matchup as a 6-point favorite over the Giants. With a projected 24.5-point total, Carson Wentz is in a good spot for Week-3. Averaging over 320 yards per game to this point. With the lack of a running game, the Eagles will look to pass the ball a lot. Keep an eye on Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery to get a big workload.
The Giants head to Philadelphia as a 6-point dog with a projected 18.5-point total. The Giants have scored a total of 13 points through two games. They have no run game and Eli has more interceptions than touchdowns at this point. With the return of Odell Beckham on Monday night, he will look to improve on his first action of the season. With his high-ankle sprain, he still might be slowed heading into his second game. I would still be willing to start Beckham although he’ll just be getting back on track after his injury. (GB)
Thanks again to BetOnline.ag for providing us with the latest up-to-date lines for these contests. We hope you find this tool useful in making lineup decisions each week (and possibly for DFS and gambling if you’re so inclined). Please be sure to reach out to us via twitter if you have any questions or comments. Hopefully, we’ll see you back here next week with wins under your belts.