Analyzing Vegas Odds: Week 14

by Eric Moody | @EricNMoody | Featured Writer
Dec 6, 2018

A great matchup and tasty projected game script make Alvin Kamara a great DFS play

How can I analyze Vegas odds to create lineups and gain an edge in daily fantasy sports? That, in essence, is what this weekly column is about. The manner in which you use the information Vegas puts in circulation is a foundational aspect of many prominent DFS players. The lines provide us with a line of sight of what Vegas believes in going to happen in every single NFL game. It is critical to pick up on everything that Vegas discloses and to interpret what the movement in lines mean from a fantasy football perspective.

They have millions of dollars at stake. If Vegas posts a terrible line, it will get abused. They do not want to get arbitraged, and as a result, Vegas is incentivized to create accurate lines. Do not stop reading now because we will discuss four games and highlight players at each position that will provide you the most upside for your DFS lineups in Week 14.

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Date Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
December 9, 2018, 1:00 PM Saints -8.0 at Buccaneers 56.0 -367 +319

The Saints are 5-1 straight up in their last six games after a loss. The team will look to get back on track against the Buccaneers after their 10-game winning streak came to end against the Cowboys last week on Thursday Night Football. The irony is that they face the only other team to defeat them this season in Week 14. Let me break down which players you should target in this matchup.

The Buccaneers rank 28th in the NFL allowing 274.4 passing yards per game. Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Tre’Quan Smith are all excellent options as the Saints offense looks to get back on track. Brees has scored 15 or more fantasy points in 75 percent of his games. He finished with 439 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Buccaneers during the season opener. Thomas is averaging nine targets per game and has scored 15 or more fantasy points in 58 percent of them.

The projected point total on this matchup provides Smith an opportunity to shine. Brees should complete more than 18 passes in this game unlike last week against the Cowboys.

Alvin Kamara has a dream matchup against the Buccaneers who are currently allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. He has averaged 17 touches since Mark Ingram returned to the backfield after serving his suspension. The spread and point total suggests that Ingram could thrive in this matchup. Stick with me, because there are a few Buccaneers players you should consider.

Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Cameron Brate, and Adam Humphries are all options that should be considered as you look to diversify your DFS lineups. Winston has thrown for 561 passing yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions since replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter. Evans will be matched up against Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore. I wouldn’t be intimidated by the matchup considering the monster stat lines Lattimore has allowed, but Evans will see enough targets in this high scoring matchup to justify his salary.

Godwin is my favorite receiving option outside of Evans. Our very own Mike Tagliere provides an excellent breakdown on why he should be on your DFS radar:

With DeSean Jackson out of the lineup last week, it allowed Godwin to flourish in the offense, catching five passes for 101 yards and a touchdown on just six targets. He’ll see a lot of Eli Apple in coverage this week, a less-than-average cornerback who’s allowed a 72.3 percent catch-rate in his coverage to go along with 13.3 yards per reception since joining the Saints in Week 8. With Evans dealing with the tougher matchup against Lattimore, Godwin should be a favorite of Winston if Jackson is out again. In three games without Jackson in the lineup, Godwin averages 8.0 targets, 5.0 receptions, 103.3 yards, and 0.7 touchdowns. It’s a small sample size, but given his plus-matchup with Apple, Godwin is clearly in the high-end WR3 conversation this week.

Date Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
December 9, 2018 ,1:00 PM at Chiefs -6.5 Ravens 53.0 +247 -280

Did you know the total has gone under in nine of the Chiefs’ last 10 games at home? The total has gone under in seven of the Ravens’ last 10 games. The statistics suggest that the projected point total of this game will finish under 53 points, but let me walk you through which players you should target in DFS.

Patrick Mahomes has averaged 327 passing yards per game and has thrown 41 touchdowns in 12 games this season. The matchup is not ideal, but Mahomes has scored 20 or more fantasy points in 92 percent of his games. Lamar Jackson could be the better value against a Chiefs defense allowing 122 rushing yards per game if Joe Flacco isn’t ready to return.

Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are the receiving options I recommend you prioritize. Hill looks to get back on track after recording one catch in last week’s win against the Raiders. He is averaging 93 receiving yards and 119 air yards per game this season. Kelce has a more difficult matchup this week against the Ravens, but is still worth the investment at a position with very few difference makers. There simply isn’t enough passing volume within the Ravens offense to recommend any of the receivers.

Gus Edwards and Spencer Ware are the running backs to target. Both will have scoring opportunities. Edwards has averaged 20 rushing attempts per game over the last three. He continues to be a non-factor in the passing game. Ware started last week in place of the released Kareem Hunt. He should continue to see a high number of opportunities, but was only targeted one-time last week against the Raiders.

Date Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
December 9, 2018, 8:20 PM Rams -3.0 at Bears 52.5 -151 +137

The Rams are 1-3-1 against the spread in its last five games and are 8-1 straight up in its last nine games on the road. My concern is that the total has gone under in four out of six of the Rams’ recent games on the road. Who should you target in this matchup?

Mitch Trubisky will be difficult to trust in a primetime matchup against the Rams as he looks to return to the fold after dealing with a shoulder injury. The projected point total on this matchup creates images of a shootout in your mind, but remember that he has only averaged 247 passing yards per game this season. Trubisky has the potential to be the kind of contrarian play that propels your DFS lineup to victory considering his salary. Jared Goff, on the other hand, has a tough matchup against the Bears defense which has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Goff has averaged 15 or more fantasy points in 75 percent of his games.

Todd Gurley and Tarik Cohen are your best targets at the running back position. Gurley has the third-highest success rate according to numberFire’s Net Expected Points model. Cohen has at least six receptions in three of his last four games and will be heavily used a receiver out of the backfield in this game.

The receivers to prioritize in this game are Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, and Allen Robinson. Woods has 70 or more receiving yards or a touchdown in every game since Week 1. He has also run a high number of routes lined up in the slot since Cooper Kupp’s season-ending injury. Brandin Cooks became the first player in NFL history to record three 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career with three separate franchises according to Dynasty League Football’s Ryan McDowell. The Bears defense has given up touchdowns to Kenny Golladay, Stefon Diggs, and Odell Beckham over the last four weeks. The unit has also allowed the fifth-most receptions (26) over the last three games.

Woods and Cooks see enough targets to be successful in this matchup. Robinson’s fantasy production is as volatile as the S&P 500 index. He hasn’t posted 50 receiving yards in consecutive games since the first three weeks of the season. The return of Trubisky would help Robinson’s outlook against the Rams.

Date Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
December 9, 2018, 4:25 PM Steelers -11.0 at Raiders 51.5 -582 +485

Did you know the total has gone under in five of the Raiders’ last seven games when playing at home against the Steelers? The bottom line in this matchup is to insert Steelers players into your lineup and fade Raiders players.

Ben Roethlisberger has averaged 329 passing yards per game and has thrown multiple touchdowns in five of his last six games. The Raiders defense is allowing 397 total yards per game this season. The Steelers lead the NFL with 43.5 passing attempts per game. Roethlisberger will be in a position to outperform his DFS salary this week.

Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster have averaged 21 targets and 207 air yards per game this season. The Raiders defense is allowing 2.4 passing touchdowns per game.

I expect Jaylen Samuels to lead the Steelers backfield in touches. The Steelers coaching staff has been very adamant about the backfield being a committee, but James Conner averaged 22.4 opportunities per game.

Do you agree or disagree? What did you find most useful? Please leave a comment below or better yet reach out via Twitter @EricNMoody. Until next time!

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Eric Moody is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Eric, check out his archive and follow him @EricNMoody.

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