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Week 16: 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.

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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 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.

Game

Open Total

Live Total

Movement

Raiders vs. Colts

53

53

0

Saints vs. Buccaneers

52.5

52

-0.5

Panthers vs. Falcons

51.5

51.5

0

The Raiders and Colts game has the highest projected total of the slate and only a 3.5 point spread. Both of these offenses can score points, and neither of these defenses have been stout this season, making this a contest filled with Fantasy goodness. The Raiders have struggled against both the run and the pass, which puts Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief (if healthy), and Frank Gore in good spots. The Colts have an implied team total of 24.75, so they should score some points. On the Raiders side, Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, and Latavius Murray are all in play. Indy has struggled to stop the run, making Murray a very enticing play and in season-long leagues a must. They have also been subpar against the pass which puts this Oakland passing attack in a great spot.

The Saints host the Bucs in what Vegas expects to be a high scoring affair. These two teams faced off against each other in Week 14 and in that game, Drew Brees threw for 257 yards and three interceptions, scoring single digit fantasy points. That was on the road, and this is in New Orleans where he plays much better football. Brees, Brandin Cooks, and Michael Thomas all make superb options this week as they should be able to pick this secondary apart in the dome. On the Bucs side, Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, and Cameron Brate are all in play as this team is expected to score more than three touchdowns. Doug Martin is also someone to consider as he did find the pay dirt in their last meeting. There is no reason to fade this game or the usual suspects on either team.

Panthers head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in one of three games this week with a projected total of more than 50 points. The Panthers are stingy against the run, so it is best to target the pass catchers and signal caller for Atlanta in this contest. Being that their backs catch passes out of the backfield, both Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman can be considered. On the Panthers side of the ball, Cam Newton who has struggled this season is in a favorable matchup against a Falcons defense that has struggled immensely against the pass. Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen are also in great spots. The Falcons have been more generous to pass catching backs, so Jonathan Stewart is not in an elite situation, but it is still a favorable one.      

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

Game

Open O/U

Live O/U

Move

Chiefs vs. Broncos

38

37.5

-0.5

These teams met a couple of weeks back, and after a low scoring first half, these two teams put up a good amount of points in the second half. That being said, this week this game has the lowest projected total, and I am on the same page as Vegas. Both of these defenses have played well this season and the Chiefs have been tough at home. Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are always considerations, but in this contest, it is best to temper expectations. On the Chiefs side, Travis Kelce and Spencer Ware are appealing, but not in the best of spots. The two good plays here are the defenses, which should be started in all season long leagues and are viable options in DFS.

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

Teams

Spread

Patriots

-16.5

Jets

16.5

This comes to no surprise as the Patriots are by far the superior team in this matchup. Everyone on the Patriots offense, at least the usual suspects, can be plugged in. The Jets have been far more generous against the pass than they have against the run, so it might be a better idea to target Tom Brady and some pass catchers. For the Jets, it is tough to have much interest in anyone. You can make a case for Robby Anderson who has been playing well in recent weeks, but that is about it.   

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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