Analyzing Vegas Odds: Divisional Round

by Eric Moody | @EricNMoody | Featured Writer
Jan 11, 2019

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 into what Vegas believes is 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 briefly discuss all of the divisional round games and close out the article with a DraftKings lineup.

Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
at Chiefs -5.0 Colts 57.0 +200 -224

The Colts are matched up against the No. 1-seeded Chiefs in a game with the total opening at 57 points. The Chiefs are five-point favorites. The expectation is that we will see neutral game flow considering the Chiefs defense has allowed the most passing yards per game (273.4). It’s a good chance that these two high powered offenses combine for more than 57 points, but the Colts defense should not be overlooked. This unit has only allowed 20.6 points per game which ranked ninth in the NFL. The Chiefs are 1-10 straight up in their last 11 playoff games according to Pro-Football-Reference, with its only win coming in 2015 against the Texans.

Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
at Saints -8.0 Eagles 51.0 +329 -379

Did you know the Saints are undefeated in home playoff games under head coach Sean Payton? The Eagles travel to the Superdome as an eight-point underdog with the total opening at 51 points. The team is 1-4 straight up and against the spread against the Saints. The Eagles were manhandled by the Saints back in Week 11. losing 48-7, but used that defeat as a catalyst to close out the season strong winning five of their last six games. The team has gone 5-2 straight up and against the spread in their last seven games when given the underdog label. This game will be closer than what Vegas projects.

Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
at Rams -7.5 Cowboys 50.0 +295 -337

The Rams offense averaged 421.1 yards per game during the regular season. The Chiefs (425.6) are the only NFL team that averaged more. The Cowboys are viewed as seven-point underdogs with the total opening at 50 points. Dallas’ defense shined on the primetime stage last week against Seattle, but it will be interesting to see how this unit fares against the Rams. The Cowboys allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game during the regular season but are not quite as stout against the pass. Rams quarterback Jared Goff averaged 35 pass attempts per game while running back Todd Gurley averaged nearly six targets a game. The team will remain balanced on offense, but Rams wide receivers Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks could be critical in exposing Dallas’ cornerbacks. The total has gone under in 10 of the Cowboys’ last 12 road games.

Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
at Patriots -4.0 Chargers 47.0 +173 -193

The Patriots are 15-0 straight up and 12-3 against the spread in their last 15 games. The team ranks 22nd in passing yards and 20th in passing touchdowns per game. The Patriots defense will be tested by Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. The Chargers are viewed as five-point underdogs with the total currently at 47 points. I believe the over will be hit in this game. The total has gone over in six of the Chargers last eight games when playing on the road against the Patriots.

DraftKings Lineup

Patrick Mahomes averaged 318.5 passing yards and 3.12 passing touchdowns per game in the regular season. He is only the second quarterback (the first being Peyton Manning back in 2013) in NFL history, according to Pro-Football-Reference, with 5,000 or more passing yards and 50 touchdowns in the same season. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be in a position to see a heavy dose of targets. Damien Williams has averaged 15.3 opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets) per game since his role was expanded in Week 14. It would be wise to stack the key players of the NFL’s most explosive offense in the Divisional Round game with the highest point total.

Marlon Mack has accumulated 119 rushing yards or more in three of his last four games. He has also scored a touchdown in five consecutive games. The only two teams that have given up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Chiefs are the Cardinals and Bengals.

James White has scored six touchdowns in his last eight playoff games. This season he has scored 13 or more PPR points per game. The Chargers have allowed opposing running backs to score a touchdown or gain 100 or more total yards in five of their last six games.

T.Y. Hilton has not scored a touchdown over his last seven games but does have 85 or more receiving yards in five of them. I believe this is the week he goes boom against the Chiefs secondary.

Chris Hogan was targeted 11 times against the Jets back in Week 17. The Chargers defense will be busy trying to contain Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski which will allow him to see additional opportunities in wake of Josh Gordon’s suspension.

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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