Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4: Vegas Vs. Fantasy

Using Vegas' odds, lines and spreads, Fantasy Football Expert Armando Marsal gets a feel for how this week's matchups will pan out. It's not a perfect science; however, it illustrates trends generated by some of the world's best handicappers.

It was not until I began playing DFS that I started using Vegas lines as part of my research and 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 indicate 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 the defenses. 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 and point out which offenses you should be targeting and which defenses are in good situations. Let’s dive right into it.

The chart below shows the three 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.

HIGHEST POINT TOTALS

Game

Open O/U

Live O/U

Movement

Chargers vs. Saints

53.5

53.5

0

Falcons vs. Panthers

50

50

0

Jaguars vs. Colts

49.5

49.5

0

Guess what? The Saints are once again in the contest with the highest total. Why am I not surprised. In Week 3, the Saints surrendered 45 points to the Falcons. That game went well over the projected total. The Saints defense is flat out bad. They have allowed the eighth most passing and receiving yards as well as the most rushing yards. Opposing running backs have totaled 606 yards and have scored seven touchdowns against the Saints. Melvin Gordon is an elite play this week. He played in 87 percent of the snaps last game and received 20 touches. He also scored his fourth touchdown of the season and had scored in every game thus far. This entire offense is in play in this contest, so make sure to get them in your lineups. On the opposite side of the field, the Saints offense is very much in play as well. The Chargers have surrendered over 300 passing yards to the opposing quarterbacks in each of the first three games and have yielded five touchdowns. They have also given up over 400 total yards and four touchdowns to running backs this season. This should be a shootout, and both offenses should be able to exploit the defenses. Both teams are projected to score more than three touchdowns.

The Falcons and Panthers have the second highest projected total of the slate at 50 points. The Panthers head to Atlanta, but are currently a 3.5 point favorite and have an implied point total of 26.75. In two of their last three games, the Panthers have scored over 30 points against the Falcons. The Falcons have surrendered 28 or more points in each game this season. Opposing quarterbacks have thrown for 956 yards against the Falcons in the first three games. They have allowed ten passing touchdowns which are tied for most allowed by a defense thus far in the season. Cam Newton is in a favorable situation this week and is my top option in this contest. In his last three games against the Falcons, he has six total touchdowns (two of which were rushing). Both of these offenses are expected to score at least three touchdowns. The Panthers defense is not as imposing as it once was, which makes the Falcons offense appealing as well. The usual suspects on both teams are playable options, and none should be avoided. According to Vegas, this should be a close game with lots of scoring. That is always a plus.

The third game with the highest total is half of a point from 50 projected points. We head to Jacksonville for a battle between two of the AFC South teams, Jaguars and Colts. Both teams are projected to score more than three touchdowns. The Colts are a 2.5 point favorite on the road. The Colts have struggled against running backs. They have surrendered 484 yards and six touchdowns. Also, 22 receptions. With the Jaguars expected to be trailing and chasing points, and the lack of defense against running backs by the Colts, T.J. Yeldon is in a good spot here. He has been disappointing all season but could redeem himself this week. He is the Jaguars pass catching back and could play a significant role if the Jags fall be behind early. The Colts have also susceptible to the pass, but they do have Vontae Davis back. The Colts have surrendered 300+ passing yards in two of their three games. As far as the Jaguars, they have not allowed a ton of yardage through the air but have given up six passing touchdowns. Receivers have gotten the best of them this season as they have caught 10 or more passes in each game and have eclipsed 145 receiving yards in every game. Not to mention, they have scored five touchdowns. Neither team has shown the ability to shut down their opponents this season, so just like Vegas is projecting a shootout, as am I.

LOWEST POINT TOTAL

Game

Open O/U

Live O/U

Move

Texans vs. Titans

41

40.5

-0.5

The Texans and Titans face off this week in Houston. This contest has the lowest projected total of the slate, and the Titans have the lowest implied point total of the week at 17 points. To be fair, this line could see some movement with the J.J. Watt news as he will not play in this contest due to a back injury. That being said, the Texans still have a tough defense, and the Titans offense has not been all that great. The Texans are favored by 6.5 points, which indicates that the Titans could be chasing points. In this instance, you want to target the Titans pass catchers. Players such as Delanie Walker (if healthy), Tajae Sharpe, and even DeMarco Murray could see a lot of targets. On the Texans side of things, the entire offense is in play. Despite this being a low projected total, the Texans have an implied point total of 23.25 points, which is a little over three touchdowns. Since they are at home and are favored, Lamar Miller makes the most sense as he should receive a lot of carries to kill some time off the clock. The Titans have allowed 100+ rushing yards in each of the last two games and have shown some vulnerability against opposing receivers as well. The Texans offense is one that I would target this week as they can quietly put up some points.

LARGEST SPREAD

Game

Spread

Arizona Cardinals

-8

Los Angeles Rams

+8

This game is projected to be lopsided, and if I had to take a guess, I would say it will be. The Cardinals have not played up to their expectations this season, but they are headed home to take on a sub par Rams team. The Cardinals are the biggest favorites on the board this week. It is worth noting that the spread opened at 10 points and had dropped two points since. This is something that is worth monitoring because that could point to people putting money on the Rams, which would raise a red flag. With that said, if you are choosing players from this game, expose yourself to the Cardinals side of the ball. The Rams have only kept the Seahawks from scoring 28 or more points this season. They beat the Bucs last week 37-32, a team that the Cardinals demolished the week before. I understand Todd Gurley is coming off of a big game, but this is a week I would advise fantasy owners to temper their expectations as the Rams could be playing catch up on Sunday. Overall all my exposure to this game would be solely on the Cardinals side with David Johnson as the top play.

Please note: Two games did not have any lines out at the time of this piece was written.

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 in Week 4.

 


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