A Look at the Lines: Week 8
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.
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.
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens -3 (37)
We start off with a real barn burner on Thursday night this week. The Cutler-less Dolphins (implied total of 17) travel to Baltimore where their mascot can be heard saying, “Offense? Nevermore.” QB Matt Moore will lead the Dolphins this week and played well in his relief last week. I’d expect a lot of Ajayi in this one and the only player I’d trust other than him for the Dolphins would be WR Jarvis Landry who is their only consistent offensive threat. He’s the only WR in the league with 10+ PPR points every week.
The Ravens (implied total of 20) are brutal on offense, no other way to say it. They have no star power and no identity anymore. They may be able to do a few things this week though against the Dolphins defense who struggle against the pass. If you must play Ravens, then you can throw a dart with RB Allen and maybe WR Maclin and TE Watson if they even play as they are questionable.
I don’t see how the total in this game could be as high as projected. I see no way it gets there and I’d expect neither team to reach their implied total either. I’ll call this one a 10–7 push for the Ravens in a fittingly horrific game with Halloween coming up. (RK)
Minnesota Vikings -9.5 at Cleveland Browns (37.5)
Vikings and Browns are both on the road this week in London in what seems to be happening all too often this season. Enough with the games on foreign soil. “Football” is an American sport, “futbol” is a foreign sport. Let’s keep football where it belongs.
Vikings (implied total of 23.5) will again have Keenum under center and it looks as though he and his crew will have a fairly easy time in this one. Running game is going well with McKinnon and even Murray. The passing game is strong with Thielen, Diggs who may well be back this week and Rudolph. Play’em if you’ve got’em.
Browns continue their roller coaster at QB with Kizer in and out, WR corps is horrible and the only player ever worth playing on that offense is RB Duke Johnson. Avoid the rest and forget about it.
Vikings will likely roll here by 3 touchdowns, but I’d go “under “as I doubt the Browns score much… if at all. (RK)
Atlanta Falcons -4.5 at New York Jets (46.5)
With several games looking at a projected total in the upper 40s, there appears to be a lot of points out there this weekend. The Falcons are 4.5-point road favorite with a projected total of 25.5, and I just don’t see it here. They should’ve lost to the Bears and the Lions and they’ve been brutal on the road for years. Obviously, Julio and Freeman are in play as they are every week, but I don’t trust this team enough to rely on anybody else this week. On the other side, we have a surprising Jets team projected to tally 21 points. Josh McCown has been surprisingly good and the Falcons are TERRIBLE against receivers out of the backfield, so I like Matt Forte and Elijah McGuire this week. (JD)
Carolina Panthers At Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2) 44.5
The two-win Tampa Bay Bucs come home as the favorite over the four-win Carolina Panthers. The Bucs have a projected total of 23.25. Preseason, I had high hopes for Jameis Winston — that he would make a big leap and enter the elite quarterback discussion. To this point, that hasn’t happened. Mike Evans has been a top option at the receiver position. DeSean Jackson is still looking for his breakout game, expect that to happen soon in Tampa.
The Panthers are coming off a horrible lose in Chicago. The Panthers were only able to mustard up 3 points and failed to win a game that saw their defense only allow 4 pass completions. Cam Newton enters this game with 10 interceptions already through 7 games played. The Bucs defense has given up 30 points in back to back games after the Panthers horrible offensive performance last week, look for a better effort in a divisional game. (GB)
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles -13 (47)
This might not be the highest total on the board this week, but the Eagles have the highest team total and are the biggest favorite. Let’s get to the easy part — the Niners are looking at 17 points, yuck, fade everybody. For the Eagles though, take your pick. I’m playing every Eagle I have in every lineup, they’re projected for 30 and it should come from all over the place via the air early and on the ground late. Smallwood and Agholor are probably going to be lesser owned this week if you’re looking to differentiate a bit. (JD)
Chicago Bears At New Orleans Saints (-9) 47.5
The Bears come into New Orleans as a 9-point dog with a projected total of 19.25. The Bears are coming off a win but a horrible offensive performance. Mitchell Trubisky only completed 4 passes in the whole game on 7 attempts. The only two variable starters on the Bears offense is Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. With an absence of a passing game, the Bears will be riding there running backs.
New Orleans comes into the weekend with a projected total of 28.25, one of the higher totals of the week. Drew Brees is Drew Brees and you always start him. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are good options out of the backfield for the Saints. Michael Thomas has been Brees’ favorite target with almost 6 catches per game. (GB)
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots -7 (48.5)
Another week, another point spread of 7+ for the Pats. Of course, all your Patriots are in play like they are every week; however, the hard part is just knowing who is going to get the scores and share in that 27.5 projected total. I’m fading Gillislee though as he seems to have fallen out of favor. On the flip-side, I really like Philip Rivers this week facing a suspect Pats secondary in a game he should be trailing in, I’m looking for some garbage time production and I like Keenan Allen as well. Hunter Henry has seen an increased workload and he too might factor into the projected 20.75 Chargers’ points as well. I assume the Pats plan is to shut down the Chargers Strength, which is Melvin Gordon, so I’ll be avoiding him if I can. (JD)
Oakland Raiders At Buffalo Bills (-2.5) 45
Before the season started seeing the Buffalo Bills a favorite against the Raiders would have been a shock. The Bills come in as a 2.5-point favorite along with a projected total of 23.75. Tyrod Taylor has had a solid season with the talent around him. Last week Taylor got back his top wide receiver target back in Jordan Matthews. Looks for Shady McCoy to have a big game against the Raiders.
The Raiders have been one of the more disappointing teams this season at 3–4. They come into Buffalo as the underdog with a projected total of 21.25. Amari Cooper comes off his biggest game of the season and with the loss of Marshawn Lynch for the game look for the Raiders to continue to ride Cooper. Marshawn Lynch is serving his one-game suspension, he’s not done much to this point in the season. DeAndre Washington could be a sneaky start in Marshawn’s absence. (GB)
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals -10.5 (41)
Bengals are a big favorite against the hapless Colts this week and I’m not sure the spread is enough. Colts were an absolute wreck last week in getting shutout and now they face a Bengals team looking for an opportunity to explode. Colts (implied total of 15.25) have little to offer on offense and their defense isn’t much better. The lone player I’d look for to do anything this week for the Colts may be RB Marlon Mack as he’s entrenched as the pass-catching back and should continue to see more carries as well as he begins to take over for Gore.
The Bengals (implied total of 25.75) have a lot to offer this week on offense including Dalton and Green who should have big games and maybe this is the week that Mixon really goes off as well. Kroft has been having some nice games at TE as well for them.
Bengals cover their implied total, the spread and may well cover the game total on their own. Look for a whipping here, enjoy it if you’re a Bengals fan. If you’re a Colts fan, there’s always next year. (RK)
Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks -5.5 (45.5)
I’m just not too excited about this contest. Featuring two strong defenses and offenses that go hot-and-cold week-to-week and play-to-play, I’m thinking this goes under the total and neither team gets to their projected total, 25.5 for the Seahawks and 20 for the Texans. The Seahawks are strong at home and facing a rookie QB, I don’t see Watson lighting it up, nor do I see anything from Lamar Miller. On the Seattle side, their run game is stagnant, and injury-riddled at best. If I had to cherry pick somebody from this game, I do like Russell Wilson and Baldwin and Graham to contribute offensively. If you’re a real sick animal, I’d target both kickers in this one. (JD)
Dallas Cowboys -2.5 at Washington Redskins 50.5
Another high scoring NFC East affair here in the highest-scoring game of the week. Kirk Cousins is in play as always and should factor in heavily in the ‘Skins total of 24. The receivers are a crapshoot week to week, this week I have a sneaky feeling that Josh Doctson is the play here (full disclosure: I thought that last week too). Washington’s running game is a non-starter and I’d avoid Perine and Kelly, but in PPR leagues, keep riding the Chris Thompson hot streak. The Cowboys, like the Redskins, have an undependable situation at wide receiver. Dez is the big name but if I’m looking to get a piece of this passing attack, I’m grabbing Dak Prescott. Of course, if Zeke isn’t suspended, he’s in play as well. (JD)
Pittsburgh Steelers -3 at Detroit Lions (45)
Steelers on the road to Detroit in this one as a road favorite. That’s always tough but the Steelers are playing well of late and the Lions are banged up. DT Ngata is out for the Lions which bodes well for RB Bell and on the other side, WR Tate is out for the Lions which hurts their offense quite a bit. Ben, AB, Bell, are good options in this one and even JuJu Smith-Schuster is a good play with Martavis Bryant not going to play.
The Lions are never out of a game but always seem to come up just short. This one will be no different as Stafford, Jones, Abdullah, and Riddick are good bets in this one and may rack up some good garbage time stats.
Steelers pull away late in this one and Lions play catch up. Steelers cover and likely surpass their implied total of 24. (RK)
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs -7.5 (43)
Chiefs are coming off their first two losses of the season and they’ll come into this one looking to right the ship. This game is always a battle and this one will be different. Chiefs will look to get Hunt on track here and really try to lean on the running game, but Smith, Hill, and Kelce will also get their stats in this one.
Broncos are struggling on offense a bit with injuries to Siemian and Sanders. Running game is not as good as it was early which is putting more stress on that average at best passing game. WR Thomas should have a solid game but the Chiefs will load up to stop Anderson and the run game.
Expect a very tight game with the Chiefs probably getting a late FG by Harrison Butker who has a great Twitter handle, @buttkicker87. Tough, hard fought game where the Chiefs offense does just enough to get the win but can’t imagine they cover the number and probably doesn’t go over either. (RK)
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Originally published at dynastyfootballfactory.com on October 26, 2017.