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 2 of the 2015 NFL season:
Week 1 projected scores and over/unders
|Thu Sep 17||Denver Broncos||19.5||Kansas City Chiefs||22.5||8:25 PM||42|
|Sun Sep 20||Arizona Cardinals||23.75||Chicago Bears||21.25||1:00 PM||45|
|Atlanta Falcons||24.5||New York Giants||26.5||1:00 PM||51|
|Detroit Lions||20.5||Minnesota Vikings||23.5||1:00 PM||44|
|Houston Texans||18.75||Carolina Panthers||21.75||1:00 PM||40.5|
|New England Patriots||22.75||Buffalo Bills||22.25||1:00 PM||45|
|San Diego Chargers||21||Cincinnati Bengals||24.5||1:00 PM||45.5|
|San Francisco 49ers||18.75||Pittsburgh Steelers||25.25||1:00 PM||44|
|St. Louis Rams||22.5||Washington Redskins||19||1:00 PM||41.5|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||18.75||New Orleans Saints||28.75||1:00 PM||47.5|
|Tennessee Titans||21||Cleveland Browns||20.5||1:00 PM||41.5|
|Baltimore Ravens||24||Oakland Raiders||18||4:05 PM||42|
|Miami Dolphins||23.75||Jacksonville Jaguars||17.75||4:05 PM||41.5|
|Dallas Cowboys||25.25||Philadelphia Eagles||30.25||4:25 PM||55.5|
|Seattle Seahawks||22.5||Green Bay Packers||26||8:30 PM||48.5|
|Mon Sep 21||New York Jets||20||Indianapolis Colts||27||8:30 PM||47|
The Ravens-Raiders game was a very late addition. I’m not sure why. It’s early a.m. in Las Vegas and maybe they just didn’t get to it right away. The earliest line has the Ravens favored by six with a relatively unexciting 42-point over/under. I wouldn’t be surprised if the odds get pushed to Ravens -7 or more by the time everybody weighs in.
If there is a massive change once more lines become available we’ll update it.
How do we use these projected scores? Let’s dive in.
First let’s look for blowouts. The Saints jump right out with a 10-point advantage over the Buccaneers. That means we should see a lot of Drew Brees and company in our rankings this week, especially after what Marcus Mariota did to Tampa last week. If New Orleans ends up ahead by a ton it’ll be a good day for Mark Ingram. While we can’t judge him on one week, Jameis Winston looks like he might be a good quarterback to target when choosing your streaming and/or daily fantasy defense each week.
The Colts are also favored by a full touchdown over the Jets. That’s a pretty big margin in the NFL. It’ll be interesting to see if the newly remodeled Jets secondary can slow down a T.Y. Hilton-less Colts offense. Which side has Andrew Luck? Yeah, that’s the side I’m going with. However, I’m not going to hog wild in Colts WR ownership because of those DBs. Frank Gore, if he can avoid the leg cramps, should be in line for lots of opportunities.
There isn’t quite a 7-point difference between the Steelers and 49ers, but Pittsburgh is favored by 6.5, which is still pretty high. I’m intrigued that the Vikings, which by all accounts were supposed to be better this year on offense, weren’t able to move the ball against the San Fran defense, which by all accounts should have been devastated by roster upheaval.
Oh, Week 2, as if you weren’t already so interesting.
Three other games, Dolphins by six over the Jaguars and Eagles by five over the Cowboys, also go above the standard odds, which are usually around two or three on average. If Lamar Miller can’t get going against the Jaguars we should be concerned. That Cowboys-Giants game was so weird. It’ll be interesting to see if these teams are as good or bad as they looked.
Next we’ll look for high-scoring games with relatively close (average-ish) odds.
Falcons-Giants has a 51-point over/under with a two-point spread. That game tops this list. Essentially, the bookmakers think there won’t be a lick of defense in this one.
The Bills-Patriots game, always an awesome AFC East showdown, is at a pick’em right now for most oddsmakers, but there’s a definite lean toward the Patriots, which is reflected in the picks. Still here’s a 45-point over/under with a less than 1-point spread.
These types of games should mean the game script will remain steady throughout the entire contest. That means two-down running backs, like Alfred Morris, should be a viable option for their respective team down to the final whistle.
The Cardinals-Bears game also fits this scenario.
One other interesting game is Titans-Browns. Cleveland at home should be a slight favorite, but with Mariota on the other side raising questions they are at a pick’em early with a lean toward Tennessee’s rookie signal caller. That is reflected in the projected score.
Teams with a high projected score should have more fantasy points to go around on a given week. Meanwhile, teams with a low projected score should have fewer than usual.
Here are the projected team scores listed from highest to lowest:
|New Orleans Saints||28.75|
|New York Giants||26.5|
|Green Bay Packers||26|
|New England Patriots||22.75|
|St. Louis Rams||22.5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||22.5|
|San Diego Chargers||21|
|New York Jets||20|
|San Francisco 49ers||18.75|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||18.75|