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Week 13: 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, 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

Saints vs. Lions

54

53.5

-0.5

Raiders vs. Bills

50.5

50.5

0

Steelers vs. Giants

50

50

0

The Saints and Lions game have the highest projected point total this week, and both teams are projected to score over three touchdowns. Both of these defenses have had their troubles all season, and both offenses can put up points in a hurry. The Saints are a 5.5 point favorite and have the highest implied team total of the slate at 29.5 points. This game is in New Orleans where Drew Brees plays his best football. That translates to better games out of his receivers, putting Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, and Willie Snead in good spots. This is an offense you want exposure to in DFS and if your season long leagues, deploy the usual suspects like you would normally do. From the Lions side, Matthew Stafford is in a favorable situation against a poor pass defense. He should be able to pick this defense apart. Golden Tate, Theo Riddick, and Eric Ebron are all in play this week and could be in for productive days. Even taking a shot at the struggling Marvin Jones may be worth it. This contest offers plenty of fantasy goodness.

The Raiders host the Bills in what Vegas is projecting to be the second highest scoring game of the week. Oakland is at home, but just a three point favorite and both teams are projected to score over three touchdowns. The Raiders have struggled to stop both the pass and run this season, so considering how much the Bills like to run, you have to think LeSean McCoy is an elite play this week. Tyrod Taylor is also a good play as he can gain yardage with his legs. One player I have an interest in this week, more so in DFS because of price, is Sammy Watkins. This Raiders defense has been generous to receivers for the majority of the season, and despite playing limited snaps last week, Watkins received the second most targets of Buffalo's receivers. As far as the Oakland side, the usual suspects are all in play. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Latavius Murray can all be considered as viable options. The Bills have given up five rushing touchdowns in the last five games, and despite the lack of volume, Murray sees plenty of touches in the red zone. Buffalo has also been shredded by receivers in recent weeks, giving up eight touchdowns in the last six games to opposing wideouts.

The Steelers and Giants face off in the third highest projected total of the week and the last game of the slate at this time with a 50 or greater implied point total. This is going to be interesting as the Giants have been solid against the run and the pass, but face a potent offense. Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le'Veon Bell are all in play, Bell and Brown being matchup proof at this points. Since this game is at home for the Steelers, I am comfortable recommending Big Ben. From the Giants side, the one player I feel most confident in is Odell Beckham Jr. That being said, the Steelers have struggled against opposing running backs, making Rashad Jennings an interesting play. The concern I have is that he is just too inconsistent and unreliable for my likings.

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

Game

Open O/U

Live O/U

Move

Ravens vs. Dolphins

41.5

41

-0.5

The red-hot Dolphins head to Baltimore to take on a stingy Ravens defense in what Vegas has projected at the lowest total of the slate. It is tough to have much interest on either offense as both teams have low implied team totals. The Dolphins struggle to stop the run, but the Ravens have a cluster in their backfield at this time. On the other hand, the Ravens have been stout against the run, which limits Jay Ajayi's upside. Both teams have mediocre passing attacks, and in unfavorable matchups, it is not something worth strongly considering. This is probably a game I will limit my exposure to or fade entirely. It is not that appealing from a DFS standpoint.

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

Teams

Spread

Patriots

-13.5

Rams

13.5

The Patriots have found themselves as heavy favorites multiple times this season, and to no surprise, they are nearly a two-touchdown favorite against the Rams. This is a game where targeting Patriots players is the way to go, but it also comes with a risk of a potential blowout could lead them not to play a full game. Tom Brady and company are all in play, as well as, LeGarrette Blount who could just get fed the entire second half if the game script plays out as it should. As far as the Rams are concerned, well it is very tough to like anyone here as there have been very few bright spots all season for this offense. If I am taking a flier, it would be with Kenny Britt who could see an abundance of targets as his team plays catch up.

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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