Week 12: Vegas Vs. Fantasy

Using Vegas' lines and spreads, Fantasy Football Expert Armando Marsal attempts to predict how Week 12 will play out from a Fantasy Football stand point.

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, usually indicates 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.

Game

Open Total

Live Total

Movement

Cowboys vs. Redskins

48

52

+4

Falcons vs. Cardinals

50.5

50.5

0

Raiders vs. Panthers

48

49

+1

The Cowboys and Redskins have the highest projected total of the slate at 52 points, and Dallas has the highest implied team total of the week. This game takes place on Thanksgiving, so if you play the Thursday slate, the Cowboys offense is one you want a piece of. Washington is terrible against the run, so Ezekiel Elliott is an elite option. The Redskins are seven point dogs so it is very likely that they will be chasing points, which means that if you want exposure to this offense, you would be better off selecting the pass catchers. Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, and Jordan Reed are all solid options. Both teams are projected to score over three touchdowns in this contest, making both offenses appealing fantasy targets.

Falcons host the Cardinals in the second highest projected total of the slate. Arizona is currently a 4.5 point underdog, so they should be chasing points, and that is a good thing for Carson Palmer as the Falcons are yielding the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Atlanta is giving up 297 passing yards per game and has surrendered 23 passing touchdowns. David Johnson also has a good matchup as the Falcons give up 92.7 rushing yards per game and have allowed nine rushing touchdowns, as well as, 81 receptions, 634 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns to opposing backs. He is matchup proof anyways, but in spots like these, it is tough to fade him, even as a road dog. For the Falcons, the usual suspects are in play as they have a healthy implied team total of 27.5 points.

The Raiders host the Panthers in what Vegas is projecting to be the third highest scoring game. Carr has played well for most of the season and gets a good matchup against Carolina. The Panthers are giving up 290.1 passing yards per game and have surrendered 19 passing touchdowns. They have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw four passing touchdowns in a game, two times on the road this season. The Panthers have been stingy against the run, which could force Oakland to rely on the pass this week. Both Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper are fine plays. Since Week 4, Carolina is giving up 16.3 receptions and 215.6 receiving yards per game while yielding ten touchdowns. From the Panthers side of the offense, Cam Newton, Kelvin Benjamin, Greg Olsen, and even Jonathan Stewart is in play. The Raiders defense has been below average all season and has struggled to stop both the run and the pass most weeks.

The next thing I want to focus on is the game with the lowest point total.

Game

Open O/U

Live O/U

Move

Broncos vs. Chiefs

40.5

40

-0.5

Two AFC West teams will go at it in this week’s lowest projected total. The Chiefs have the lowest implied team total, while the Broncos are projected to score a smidge over three touchdowns. I have no interest in either quarterback this week as they both have tough matchups and have been unimpressive throughout the season. The receivers for the Chiefs are in a tough matchup against the Broncos defense that allows the fewest fantasy points per game to the position and is giving up just 110.5 receiving yards per game while yielding just five receiving touchdowns. On the other side, the Broncos receivers are in a tough spot as well as the Chiefs defense has been solid, and the lack of quarterback play for the Broncos has capped the receivers' ceilings. If I am choosing one, it will be Demaryius Thomas who has at least ten targets in five straight games. You can talk me into Spencer Ware as the Broncos have been more susceptible to the run this year than in years past. However, it is not a play I am very excited about. Where I have the most interest in this contest is in the defenses, as they are both in great spots.

The last thing I want to cover is the game with the biggest spread.

Teams

Spread

Steelers

-10

Colts

+10

This game opened at a 2.5 point spread, but since Andrew Luck has been ruled out, the spread jumped to 10 points, and Pittsburgh has a healthy team total of 29 points. The Colts defense has been vulnerable through the air and on the ground, so both the passing game and running game for the Steelers are in play, making Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger all elite options. From the Colts side, it is difficult to feel great about anyone due to the lack of talent under center this week. Donte Moncrief, T.Y. Hilton, and Frank Gore are in good spots but have capped ceilings in this matchup because of the quarterback situation. The Steelers defense also makes for an interesting play. Overall, this will likely be a lopsided game because the Colts will be without Luck.

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 this week.


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