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 4 projected scores based on Las Vegas odds
|Thu Oct 1||Baltimore Ravens||23.25||Pittsburgh Steelers||20.75||8:25 PM||44|
|Sun Oct 4||New York Jets||22||Miami Dolphins||19.5||9:30 AM||41.5|
|Carolina Panthers||21.5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||18.5||1:00 PM||40|
|Houston Texans||20.25||Atlanta Falcons||26.75||1:00 PM||47|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||19.75||Indianapolis Colts||28.25||1:00 PM||48|
|Kansas City Chiefs||20.25||Cincinnati Bengals||23.75||1:00 PM||44|
|New York Giants||20.5||Buffalo Bills||26||1:00 PM||46.5|
|Oakland Raiders||23.75||Chicago Bears||20.75||1:00 PM||44.5|
|Philadelphia Eagles||25||Washington Redskins||22||1:00 PM||47|
|Cleveland Browns||18.75||San Diego Chargers||26.25||4:05 PM||45|
|Green Bay Packers||28||San Francisco 49ers||19.5||4:25 PM||47.5|
|Minnesota Vikings||18||Denver Broncos||24.5||4:25 PM||42.5|
|St. Louis Rams||18||Arizona Cardinals||24.5||4:25 PM||42.5|
|Dallas Cowboys||21.25||New Orleans Saints||25.25||8:30 PM||46.5|
|Mon Oct 5||Detroit Lions||16.75||Seattle Seahawks||26.25||8:30 PM||43|
Remember, New England and Tennessee kick off 2015 bye weeks this week. Get those Patriots and Titans out of your lineups.
As always, there are some interesting NFL odds this week. The highest over/under is 48 — Jaguars-Colts. The lowest is 40 — Panthers-Buccaneers. The average is 44.6, down from 45.1 last week. The Lions-Seahawks game has the most lopsided odds at -9.5, nearly five points less than our two -14s last week. The Ravens-Steelers and Jets Dolphins, at -2.5 each, are tied for the closest odds. The average is -2.4, down from last week’s -3.3.
The odds say this week’s games should be slightly lower-scoring and closer in general. That said, last week’s performances blew the over/unders out of the water and sent our fantasy football scores skyrocketing. I hope you used our advice here and took advantage of the fun.
While imperfect, I still think it is vital to our success to consider Las Vegas’ betting lines and over/unders when building fantasy football lineups.
No games this week are projected to be decided by more than 9.5 points and there are only four projected at more than a touchdown.
The Seahawks-Lions game tops the list. I find it a bit surprising it’s not Colts-Jaguars. This shows LV’s confidence in the Seahawks and a complete lack of confidence in the Lions. Pick your DFS plays accordingly. Hopefully, Marshawn Lynch practices all week and isn’t a questionable mess going into the weekend.
Colts-Jaguars is tied for the No. 2 spot with an 8.5. If Andrew Luck can shake the turnover bug he could put up a whopper this week.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Aaron Rodgers and the Packers tied for the second-biggest predicted blowout this week — -8.5 against the struggling San Francisco 49ers. I’ll also probably lean on the Packers defense against Colin Kaepernick after last week’s debacle.
The Chargers are favored by 7.5 against the Browns in the game that rounds out our low-end “blowouts” this week. Cleveland has been poor against the run so maybe we’ll get some more clarity on the Melvin Gordon/Danny Woodhead situation this week.
As always, top plays from blowouts are running backs and their defensive teammates on teams expected to have a big lead.
Quarterbacks and receivers, especially at home, on the losing end of a blowout are prime candidates for garbage time. Kaepernick fits the bill this week, but I don’t feel good recommending him.
Last week also made it apparent that elite quarterbacks and receivers will likely be the reason a team goes up big in a blowout.
There are five games expected to be decided by a field goal or less. While game scripts get thrown out in blowouts — a stud running back may get half his normal touches if he’s not a part of his team’s passing game and they’re behind by three touchdowns — teams in close games will use everything in their arsenal to win.
That means we shouldn’t have any special concerns beyond matchups and recent performance for players in the following games: Ravens-Steelers, Jets-Dolphins, Panthers-Buccaneers, Raiders-Bears, Eagles Redskins.
For what it’s worth, the Cowboys-Saints game has an over/under of four. It doesn’t quite fit our description above, but 4 is still a low number. It is also worth noting only one sportsbook has turned in their projection at Vegas Insider so far. I wonder if they’re waiting for more clarity on Drew Brees‘ suggestion he will play in Week 4.
Next, let’s look at a list of teams ranked by projected score this week. A team that has a high projected score should have more fantasy points to go around on game day.
While we didn’t discuss them above, the Falcons have the third-highest total this week, which should have Julio Jones owners licking their chops after the way he’s assaulted the NFL so far this season.
The Bills are a bit surprising to me too, coming in at sixth in overall points. Another big week for Tyrod Taylor? I hope so.
|Green Bay Packers||28|
|San Diego Chargers||26.25|
|New Orleans Saints||25.25|
|New York Jets||22|
|New York Giants||20.5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||20.25|
|San Francisco 49ers||19.5|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||18.5|
|St. Louis Rams||18|