A ton of money changes hands in Las Vegas sportsbooks on NFL Sundays.
They have crack teams of number crunchers who are way better than me and you when it comes to guessing likely scores of NFL games.
Many sports fans have joked about a team kicking a late field goal to finish just under or over the betting line, as if the game was fixed or something. And, well, the game bettors play is kind of fixed, because those aforementioned number crunchers are so darn good at what they do.
It would be foolish for the fantasy football community to ignore these experts. We are better when we take the sums of many parts to form our opinions about players and situations, and Las Vegas betting odds need to be one of the primary parts of the equation.
Here are the projected scores using the current (early) over/under and betting odds for Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season.
Week 13 daily fantasy: Draft Kings sleepers | FanDuel sleepers
Projected scores for Week 13
|Sun Dec 6||Philadelphia Eagles||19.75||New England Patriots||29.25||4:25 PM||49|
|Sun Dec 6||Carolina Panthers||27.75||New Orleans Saints||20.75||1:00 PM||48.5|
|Sun Dec 6||Indianapolis Colts||20.75||Pittsburgh Steelers||27.75||8:30 PM||48.5|
|Thu Dec 3||Green Bay Packers||24.75||Detroit Lions||21.75||8:25 PM||46.5|
|Sun Dec 6||Atlanta Falcons||22||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||24||1:00 PM||46|
|Sun Dec 6||New York Jets||23.5||New York Giants||21.5||1:00 PM||45|
|Sun Dec 6||Kansas City Chiefs||23.25||Oakland Raiders||20.75||4:05 PM||44|
|Sun Dec 6||Baltimore Ravens||19.75||Miami Dolphins||23.75||1:00 PM||43.5|
|Sun Dec 6||Cincinnati Bengals||26.5||Cleveland Browns||17||1:00 PM||43.5|
|Sun Dec 6||Denver Broncos||23.75||San Diego Chargers||19.75||4:05 PM||43.5|
|Sun Dec 6||Arizona Cardinals||24.25||St. Louis Rams||18.75||1:00 PM||43|
|Sun Dec 6||Jacksonville Jaguars||20.25||Tennessee Titans||22.75||1:00 PM||43|
|Sun Dec 6||San Francisco 49ers||18||Chicago Bears||25||1:00 PM||43|
|Mon Dec 7||Dallas Cowboys||19||Washington Redskins||23||8:30 PM||42|
|Sun Dec 6||Houston Texans||19.25||Buffalo Bills||22.25||1:00 PM||41.5|
|Sun Dec 6||Seattle Seahawks||20.75||Minnesota Vikings||20.75||1:00 PM||41.5|
Games are listed from Las Vegas-implied highest- to lowest-scoring. No teams on bye.
Sorry, Ninja. I’m going to have to cut this post short just like I cut yesterday’s. If I can get done with work before 1:30 a.m. I’ll flesh these out a bit more.
There are a TON of home dogs this week, including the Saints with their largest underdog line in New Orleans since 1999 when Jake Delhomme was quarterback.
The Eagles-Patriots game has the highest over/under of the week, but not because of any contributions from the Eagles, as you can see. The Panthers-Saints game and Colts-Steelers game are also projected to be high scoring blowouts.
The Seahawks-Vikings game was a surprising pick’em.
The Bengals and Patriots are the biggest favorites this week, each coming in at -9.5.
Let’s get into the blowouts and close games.
As always, remember a team expected to have a big lead, especially playing at home, usually represents a great matchup for its running back and defense. Quarterbacks and receivers on the losing end of a blowout are prime candidates for garbage time, again, especially at home. Meanwhile, in games that are expected to be close means we can expect the game script to follow suit. Top talents and matchups should be in full effect.
We use composite odds and over/unders from Vegas Insider to generate the projected scores. I will reference Defense-adjusted Value Over Average a lot, it is a Football Outsiders’ metric which can be a better predictor of future success than fantasy points allowed. All team rankings and yards allowed to receivers are referenced from Football Outsiders’ Defense Efficiency page. This is one of our first features of the week, so keep an eye out for late injuries and lineup changes.
Blowouts (7 points or more)
Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots (-9.5) — The Eagles rank 10th in the NFL in DVOA pass defense, but they’ve allowed 93.9 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers and 59.5 yards per game to No. 2 receivers, both among the highest in the NFL. Danny Amendola is expected back and could have a monster week along with Brandon LaFell. And, of course, Tom Brady. I’m not trusting any Eagles, which probably means we could get a low-owned tournament play out of them. The Patriots have struggled against No. 3 and bench receivers. I might work Jordan Matthews into a quarter arcade or two.
Cincinnati Bengals (-9.5) at Cleveland Browns — Our first road dog is a massive one. We’re one Austin Davis injury away from the Browns having to play Johnny Manziel anyway. That would be the best bet for fantasy returns in garbage time. Cincinnati has been a pretty shut down defense, ranking top-10 in both run and pass DVOA. They have, however, been susceptible to tight ends, which is good news for Gary Barnidge owners. Cleveland has long been the team you start your running backs against, but this season they rank bottom five against both the run and the pass, and considering the Bengals projected 26.5 total, everyone should be in play. There is reason for a bit of caution — Andy Dalton has huge games against uncommon opponents, but these teams faced each other a few weeks ago. This isn’t enough of a concern that it’s going to keep me away, but I may not go all-in on Dalton, especially in DFS cash games. Cleveland is susceptible to No. 1 and 2 wide receivers and pass-catching backs, so we’ll have to bump A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Giovani Bernard a bit.
Carolina Panthers (-7) at New Orleans Saints — As stated in the intro, this is projected to be huge home loss for the Saints. We know teams at home in blowouts are candidates for quality garbage time, but it may not be very quality against the unbeaten Panthers stout defense, which ranks top-3 against both the pass and run. I’ll still have Drew Brees in a tournament. I think there’s enough in the tank there to pull an upset. Pass-catching running backs are the Panthers lone weakness, and it’s not really too weak. Still, a Brees-Mark Ingram stack is likely to be very low-owned and I could see a situation where an overconfident Carolina team overlooks the worst defense in the NFL. Speaking of that defense, I’ll be all-in on Cam Newton this week. New Orleans has been very susceptible to tight ends and pass-catching running backs, putting two of Newton’s favorite targets this season — Greg Olsen and Jonathan Stewart — in the spotlight.
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7) — Not many lines have come in so far on this game. The news today that Ben Roethlisberger was cleared to practice should change all of that in a big way. I’m not sure the line will move much higher because Matt Hasselbeck has been decent for the Colts. Still, a home game against a Colts team that has allowed more than 89 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers and 63 per game to No. 2s, has to have Roethlisberger and his top targets — Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton — salivating. It’s also not a terrible spot for Heath Miller. And if the Steelers end up with a big lead, they should lean on DeAngelo Williams quite a bit late. Pittsburgh has a top-10 run defense, which funnels extra plays to the pass, where they rank 19th in the NFL. They’ve allowed among the highest totals in the league to No. 1 and 2 wide receivers and tight ends. That means we need to bump up T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Coby Fleener a bit this week.
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears (-7) — The 49ers have been better of late, but it’s not swaying Las Vegas. They have proven susceptible to big games from No. 1 wide receivers and pass-catching running backs, which happens to fit into Jay Cutler‘s wheelhouse. Expect him to have some big tosses to Alshon Jeffery and his running backs Jeremy Langford and Matt Forte. It’ll be interesting to see how much Forte is used, after last week’s lack of production and the news the Bears think Langford is more explosive and gives them a better chance to win. San Francisco is 31st agaisnt the pass and 27th against the run, so whichever back takes the lead could also be in for a big rushing day.
Close games (3 points or less)
Green Bay Packers (-3) vs. Detroit Lions — Green Bay has proven susceptible to No. 1 wide receivers, which could pay off huge for Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. They’ve also allowed one of the highest totals against tight ends. We shouldn’t trust Eric Ebron, but we might consider starting him Thursday. The Lions rank 23rd in pass DVOA. They don’t give up huge receiving totals to any one position, but all spots have middling totals. I’ll put my money on Randall Cobb if I’m starting any Packers receivers this week. It should be a big week for Aaron Rodgers.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2) — This line was a bit surprising. The Falcons have been in a bit of a tailspin, sure, but it was still surprising. Atlanta is 22nd and 19th against the pass and run respectively. They’ve shown some weakness to No. 1 wide receivers, but they’re real trouble is with tight ends and receiving running backs. Jameis Winston will likely have plenty of work for Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, but Cameron Brate might be the top TE play this week. I’ll consider Charles Sims in a tournament or two as well. Tampa Bay has the No. 2 rush defense and the No. 24 pass defense, which means they funnel plays to the passing game, which should be music to the ears of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones who disappointed last week. The Bucs have been susceptible to No. 1 wide receivers and slot/bench wide receivers.
Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills (-3) — Houston and Buffalo are both considerably worse against the run, according to DVOA, so I’ll consider LeSean McCoy at home for sure this week. DeAndre Hopkins is always in play, and he has a pretty decent matchup here. As do all Houston receivers, really. So Brian Hoyer has to be considered. I wish he was playing at home, not against the Bills in Buffalo, but I’ll consider playing him in daily fantasy. It could be slower going for the Tyrod Taylor-to-Sammy Watkins connection this week. Houston allows just 54.9 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, one of the lowest totals in the NFL. They have given up 67.9 yards per game to No. 2 wide receivers, one of the higher totals, so you may want to consider Robert Woods.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-2.5) — Jacksonville is 30th in the NFL in pass DVOA and fourth against the run, so get all the Marcus Mariota in your lineups. His favorite target is Delanie Walker. It’s a great matchup for him. It’s also a good matchup for No. 1 WR Kendall Wright who should see more snaps and have a bigger role this week in his second week back from injury. It also could be a good spot for Antonio Andrews in PPR leagues. Tennessee provides another good matchup for T.J. Yeldon, but I’m afraid the Jaguars won’t commit to using him the way they should. Tennessee has a middle-of-the-road pass defense and they are most susceptible to tight ends, so Julius Thomas could be in for another nice week. Allen Robinson is always in play.
New York Jets (-2) at New York Giants — The Jets have one of the best defenses in the league, but have shown some weakness to No. 1 and 3 wide receivers, so we should consider Odell Beckham Jr. and Dwayne Harris, but they aren’t safe plays in daily fantasy. The Giants defense is one of the worst in the NFL against the pass. They are horrible against tight ends, but I can’t recommend any of the Jets TEs. They also allow big plays to No. 1 wide receivers. As long as Ryan Fitzpatrick is slinging it, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are in play.
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings (Pk) — The Vikings are more susceptible to the run than the pass, making it a potentially big day for Thomas Rawls and maybe a bit of a letdown after a huge week for Russell Wilson. Minnesota has allowed 77.4 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, so Doug Baldwin might be in play. Seattle’s defense hasn’t been nearly as dominant this season, but they have given up some plays to tight ends, putting Kyle Rudolph on our radar. We also know Adrian Peterson is matchup proof. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings feed him again to keep Wilson and Rawls off the field.
Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) at Oakland Raiders — Kansas City’s defense is top-8 against both the run and pass. The Raiders are 20th against the pass and 22nd against the run. You see where this thing is going, right? More Spencer Ware than we can handle again, probably. The Raiders are also one of the worst teams in the NFL against the TE, putting Travis Kelce directly in play. They’re also one of only four teams in the NFL allowing 90+ yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, which puts Jeremy Maclin in position for another big game. If we’re going to consider two of his top targets, Alex Smith has to be a consideration as well. While the Chiefs defense grades well on DVOA, they are also the only team in the NFL to allow an average of more than 100 yards per game to top wide receivers, that means we could see monstrous performances from Derek Carr and Amari Cooper at home this week.
Teams with a higher projected score should also have higher projected fantasy points, so it doesn’t hurt to see which teams are expected to go bananas and which ones are supposed to drop an egg.
We’ve covered most of the big spots on this list already, but there are a couple we need to discuss.
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams — The Cardinals lost to the Rams at home in Week 4, so they have played each other and they’ve each seen several weeks of film on the other. Advantage Carson Palmer and the Cardinals, hence the projected score. However, I’m not going to get too crazy starting any of them in daily fantasy football because both of these defenses are pretty stout. Maybe some Palmer and some David Johnson. Larry Fitzgerald gets enough volume he could be in play. An interesting spin on this is the Rams side, where the Cardinals haven’t seen Todd Gurley yet. It’ll be interesting to see how that matchup plays out.
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers — The Chargers are a poor defense in both facets. I’m surprised Denver’s score isn’t projected to be higher. C.J. Anderson, Brock Osweiler, Demaryius Thomas, they’re all in play. San Diego has been particularly bad against tight ends, so consider Owen Daniels and Vernon Davis. Of Course, Philip Rivers, playing at home as an underdog, needs to be squarely on our radar. As great as Denver’s pass defense has been, they can’t stop the tight end, which could mean an epic performance for Antonio Gates. They’ve also been middle-of-the-road to No. 1 wide receivers and Stevie Johnson has been getting more than enough targets to turn that into something.
Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens — Huge game from Ryan Tannehill in garbage time last week. He won’t have that luxury this week, but against the Ravens’ 26th-ranked pass defense, he and Jarvis Landry should be able to do some work. It’ll be interesting to see how much DeVante Parker gets into the mix. I drafted him in a bunch of leagues and held him for quite a few weeks in non-keepers waiting for him to get into the game. Lamar Miller was a mess last week and clearly outplayed by Jay Ajayi. I’m staying away from that situation in daily fantasy until there’s clarity. It’s not a great matchup anyway. The Ravens are tied for the fifth-lowest scoring total of the week, but the Dolphins represent a good matchup both on the ground and through the air. Kamar Aiken and Javorius Allen could make decent plays. I can’t recommend Matt Schaub, but that makes him an interesting low-owned tournament play, paired with Aiken against a defense that has allowed 86.4 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers.
|New England Patriots||29.25|
|Green Bay Packers||24.75|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||24|
|New York Jets||23.5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||23.25|
|New York Giants||21.5|
|New Orleans Saints||20.75|
|San Diego Chargers||19.75|
|St. Louis Rams||18.75|
|San Francisco 49ers||18|