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 6 of the 2015 NFL season:
Week 6 projected scores based on Las Vegas odds
|Thu Oct 15||Atlanta Falcons||27||New Orleans Saints||24||8:25 PM||51|
|Sun Oct 18||Arizona Cardinals||23.75||Pittsburgh Steelers||20.75||1:00 PM||44.5|
|Chicago Bears||20||Detroit Lions||23||1:00 PM||43|
|Cincinnati Bengals||23.5||Buffalo Bills||21||1:00 PM||44.5|
|Denver Broncos||23.25||Cleveland Browns||18.75||1:00 PM||42|
|Houston Texans||22||Jacksonville Jaguars||21||1:00 PM||43|
|Kansas City Chiefs||20.25||Minnesota Vikings||23.75||1:00 PM||44|
|Miami Dolphins||20.5||Tennessee Titans||23||1:00 PM||43.5|
|Washington Redskins||17.5||New York Jets||23||1:00 PM||40.5|
|Carolina Panthers||16.75||Seattle Seahawks||23.75||4:05 PM||40.5|
|Baltimore Ravens||23.25||San Francisco 49ers||20.75||4:25 PM||44|
|San Diego Chargers||20||Green Bay Packers||30||4:25 PM||50|
|New England Patriots||31.5||Indianapolis Colts||23.5||8:30 PM||55|
|Mon Oct 19||New York Giants||23.25||Philadelphia Eagles||26.75||8:30 PM||50|
Teams on bye: Cowboys, Raiders, Rams Buccaneers
Our average over/under is 45.4 this week which is slightly higher than it’s been the last two weeks (45.2 and 45.1), but our average odds are extremely low at 0.8. It was 2.4 each of the previous two weeks.
So closer, higher scoring games this week? Fantasy fans approve.
There are five games with over/unders of more than 50 this week, which is pretty crazy. Two of those four games — Falcons-Saints and Giants-Eagles — are expected to be decided by three points or less. Some week-changing fantasy performances will come out of those contests for sure.
It shouldn’t surprise that the Patriots have the highest projected score (31.5 points) and the highest over/under of the week (55). They also have the second-highest expected margin of victory at -8. The Green Bay Packers lead in that department, favored by 10 over the Chargers in the other 50-point game.
Only one other game is expected to be decided by a touchdown, the Seahawks favored by seven at home over the Panthers in a game tied for the lowest over/under of the week, 40.5 points. The Redskins and Jets have the same over/under.
Those two games are the only ones with over/unders of less than 42.
There are seven contests expected to be decided by a field goal or less, including a near even spread for Texans-Jaguars (HOU favored by 1) and 2.5-point differences for Bengals-Bills and Dolphins Titans.
Green Bay Packers vs. San Diego Chargers — It’s difficult not to get excited for this one. Packers can score in chunks, as long as Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting harassed like he did in Week 5. One big matchup I like in this one: The Packers have allowed the least points this season to opposing defenses, the Chargers have allowed the most. The Packers are also on a D/ST tear, scoring 23, 15 and 8 fantasy points in the last three weeks. We also can expect massive garbage-time passing numbers for Philip Rivers at home. He could set the season-best passing total this week, get him and his weapons — Antonio Gates is BACK — in your lineups.
New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts — The Patriots didn’t score 50 last week, which means they might score 70 this week. It’ll be interesting to see how Vontae Davis affects the Patriots offense. He should be on Julian Edelman, so Edelman may only be a tournament play. Figuring out the No. 2 “wide receiver” in this high-octane offense — is it TE Rob Gronkowski, RB Dion Lewis, WR Danny Amendola or one of those bench WRs? — might end up being the play of the week in daily fantasy. No team had given up more yards to opposing No. 2 wide receivers (84.4) than the Colts going into last week.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers — With such a low over/under, we shouldn’t get too excited, but there’s reason to have hope. The Panthers are only supposed to score two touchdowns, but do-it-all quarterback Cam Newton is matchup-proof at this point. I could see him scrambling for both touchdowns or throwing both of them to Ted Ginn Jr. or Greg Olsen. Those are potential fantasy-winning plays. The Seahawks, meanwhile, have some interesting plays of their own. Russell Wilson is a do-it-all QB like Newton. Thomas Rawls was my top tournament-only play at RB last week. Some people called it a breakout game, but he had that three weeks ago when he replaced Marshawn Lynch the first time. His average stats from two weeks ago were deceiving. He started out with six carries for two yards, but he was 11-for-46 after that, 4.18 yards per carry.
Like I said above, there are seven games expected to be decided by a field goal or less, so there are a lot of close game this week. I’m only going to highlight the games under a field goal here.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — Jacksonville’s offense flashed what it’s capable of last week. It can only get better once Julius Thomas gets up to speed. The NFL highlight crew mentioned that all of the offensivle players making big plays for them Sunday were in their first or second-year — Blake Bortles, Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, T.J. Yeldon. Houston has been most susceptible to running backs this season, especially pass-catching backs, so it might be a good week to get Yeldon in your lineup. Running backs, tight ends, kickers and defenses have feasted on the Jaguars this season. That can’t be a good feeling with an Arian Foster-led offense and J.J. Watt-led defense coming into town.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills — Sniff, sniff. What’s that? It smells like SHOOTOUT! My daily fantasy teams will get all the Andy Dalton and Tyrod Taylor they can handle this week. I’ll probably play Taylor alone and pair Dalton with A.J. Green or Tyler Eifert.
Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans — Will a week off and new leadership wake Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins offense? We’ll see. The Titans haven’t been dishing out free fantasy points. The Dolphins have though. They’ve allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs, eighth-most to wide receivers and eighth-most to kickers so far this season. And they’ve already had their bye week, so they’ve had one less game to accumulate those stats than most of the rest of the NFL. I’ll have some Marcus Mariota and Kendall Wright in my daily fantasy lineups 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.
The Patriots, Packers and Falcons could have a couple elite performers — no surprise there, while the Panthers, Redskins and Browns could struggle to have one elite performer this week.
|New England Patriots||31.5|
|Green Bay Packers||30|
|New Orleans Saints||24|
|New York Giants||23.25|
|New York Jets||23|
|San Francisco 49ers||20.75|
|Kansas City Chiefs||20.25|
|San Diego Chargers||20|