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 3 of the 2015 NFL season:
Week 3 NFL projected scores based on Las Vegas
|Thu Sep 24||Washington Redskins||21||New York Giants||24||8:25 PM||45|
|Sun Sep 27||Atlanta Falcons||22.25||Dallas Cowboys||21.75||1:00 PM||44|
|Cincinnati Bengals||21.5||Baltimore Ravens||23||1:00 PM||44.5|
|Indianapolis Colts||26.25||Tennessee Titans||21.25||1:00 PM||47.5|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||17||New England Patriots||31||1:00 PM||48|
|New Orleans Saints||20.25||Carolina Panthers||23.75||1:00 PM||44|
|Oakland Raiders||18.5||Cleveland Browns||23||1:00 PM||41.5|
|Philadelphia Eagles||25||New York Jets||22.5||1:00 PM||47.5|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||24.75||St. Louis Rams||23.25||1:00 PM||48|
|San Diego Chargers||22||Minnesota Vikings||23.5||1:00 PM||45.5|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||18.25||Houston Texans||21.75||1:00 PM||40|
|San Francisco 49ers||19||Arizona Cardinals||25||4:05 PM||44|
|Buffalo Bills||20.5||Miami Dolphins||23||4:25 PM||43.5|
|Chicago Bears||15.5||Seattle Seahawks||29.5||4:25 PM||45|
|Denver Broncos||21.5||Detroit Lions||24||8:30 PM||45.5|
|Mon Sep 28||Kansas City Chiefs||20.75||Green Bay Packers||27.25||8:30 PM||48
One thing worth noting that I haven’t really brought up yet this year is that the sportsbooks sometimes modify odds and over/unders to encourage betting on a game or team.
That said, I still think it is a very good factor to consider during fantasy football preparation.
There are some very interesting predictions this week from Las Vegas. The highest point spread is 48, the average is 45.1 and the average odds are -3.3.
What makes that odds average interesting is two -14s on the board — Seattle at home against Chicago and New England at home against Jacksonville. The Packers are also favored by six over the Chiefs on Monday night, The Cardinals are favored by six over the 49ers and the Colts are favored by five over the Titans.
That’ll skew some numbers. So overall, the rest of the field should play pretty tight this week.
In blowouts you want to own the running back and team defense of the winning team. If the team being blown out is at home, you may want to consider their quarterback as a sleeper because they should throw a lot and could be in line for the garbage time bonus.
New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers are all at home, so their running back-D/ST combo is in play and there are no garbage-time QBs to target. Note James Starks is still minimum priced at $3,000 and Dion Lewis is still only $4,200 at Draft Kings this week. They’ll likely appear high in our running back rankings and in our Draft Kings sleepers.
Lewis is a bit disturbing thought because this could be a LeGarrette Blount game.
If Marshawn Lynch can’t get off the strugglebus the Seahawks will have to rely on Fred Jackson, who at age 34 is the oldest running back in the NFL. I wonder if Lynch is hurt, if he’s lost a step or if it’s just early season rust, but last week should have been a big one for him. He averaged 2.7 yards per carry.
In a blowout, game scripts change. Trailing teams can abandon the run and winning teams can lean on the run to salt the game away. But in close games, with an over/under of less than a field goal in this case, all players should remain viable.
The following games fit that bill: Falcons-Cowboys, Bengals-Ravens, Eagles-Jets, Steelers-Rams, Chargers-Vikings, Bills-Dolphins, Broncos-Lions
Like I said above, there are a lot of potentially close games this week.
So, let’s split a few more hairs to try to get just a little more of an edge than our opponents.
Next, let’s look at a list of teams ranked based on projected score this week. A team that has a high projected score should have more fantasy points to go around on game day.
|New England Patriots||31|
|Green Bay Packers||27.25|
|New York Giants||24|
|St. Louis Rams||23.25|
|New York Jets||22.5|
|San Diego Chargers||22|
|Kansas City Chiefs||20.75|
|New Orleans Saints||20.25|
|San Francisco 49ers||19|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||18.25|
Normally I don’t dive into this list too deeply, but there are a couple things I really want to point out.
There are only two teams projected to score 28 or more points (four touchdowns) — the Packers and Seahawks.
There are, however, a whopping eight teams projected to score less than three touchdowns — Chiefs, Bills, Saints, 49ers, Raiders, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Bears.
The Bears have an absurdly low projection, barely more than two touchdowns, in their contest with the Seahawks in Seattle.