Since before mid-season we’ve been using Las Vegas betting odds to adjust our projections and it has led to quite a few revelations.
Of course, in a game like this, variance is always going to rear its ugly head. But for the most part, using Las Vegas to pinpoint the best and worst of the week has been a good decision.
This week we have four teams expected to be at least 10 percent better than average and seven expected to be at least 10 percent below averages and there are extremes on both sides of spectrum.
Let’s start with the big ones: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at home are expected to be almost 20% better than average against Atlanta. Now, Brees has burned us in the past at home so I wouldn’t invest every penny I had on a Brees lineup, but Las Vegas knows what it’s doing and New Orleans was good last week.
The Saints are expected to pile up 496.8 yards of offense (354.7 through the air) based on adjusted averages. These projections are usually pretty conservative — for instance, there isn’t another offense expected to go over 300 yards passing this week. So when we have one at 354.7 it shouldn’t be ignored.
Dallas (17%), San Francisco (13%) and Miami (11%) are all expected to be well above their averages. We need to be cautious with San Francisco as well. They haven’t been able to capitalize on great matchups so far this season, but I will have some exposure to them in daily fantasy this week. Probably just their defense and QB Colin Kaepernick unless the running back injury situation is figured out in a timely fashion.
Arizona and their decimated quarterback and running back ranks are expected to perform at 27% below their average against the second-ranked Seahawks defense this week. It’s been a long season for future Hall-of-Famer Larry Fitzgerald and once-budding star Michael Floyd. I’ll know more after I examine the matchup statistics, but I don’t think I can recommend a single Cardinals play this week.
Cleveland, with Johnny Manziel again at the helm, is expected to be 21% below average. I don’t know if we’ve had two teams below 20% this season.
Houston (-16%), Buffalo (-14%), Minnesota (-14%), Tennessee (-14%) and the New York Giants (-12%), are also expected to perform well below average this week.
All of the Las Vegas-adjusted offense vs. defense averages are listed below. Las Vegas factor is listed at far right. Think of it as a percentage, so move the decimal over two spots. 1.00 (or 100%) means Las Vegas thinks they’ll perform near their average, 0.95 (or 95%) is five-percent below average.
The Las Vegas factor is determined by figuring out Las Vegas’ projected score for each team — add half the point spread to half the over/under for the winning score and subtract half the point spread from half the over/under for the losing team. Then we divide that score by average projected score which we get by averaging a teams points per game and their opponent’s defensive points allowed per game.