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Analyzing Vegas Odds: Wild Card Round

by Eric Moody | @EricNMoody | Featured Writer
Jan 5, 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 discuss two wildcard games that will provide you with the most upside for your DFS lineups.

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Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
at Texans -1.0 Colts 48.5 +110 -121

Did you know this is the third time over the last four seasons that the Texans are hosting a wild card game? The Texans finished the regular season with a record of 11-5 (6-2 at home). The Colts (10-6), on the other hand, began the season with a 1 -5 record and finished with a 9-1 record. The Texans defense allowed the third fewest points per game at home with 17. The projected point total on this game is 48 points with the Texans as 2.5-point favorites.

The game script in this matchup is projected to be neutral. It should be a close game with both teams sticking to their strengths and not abandoning the running game. Let me break down a few players you should target in DFS.

  • Deshaun Watson finished the regular season as the QB4 averaging 20.7 fantasy points per game. His rushing ability provides him the most upside of any of the eight quarterbacks playing during Wild Card weekend.
  • The Colts running game was nonexistent before Marlon Mack returned after missing four of the first five games of the regular season due to an injury. He finished the year with 908 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Mack averaged 14.8 PPR fantasy points per game.
  • DeAndre Hopkins finished the regular season as the WR1. He averaged 10.18 targets, 99 receiving yards, and 124.7 air yards per game.

  • Eric Ebron closed out the regular season with 66 catches, 750 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns. The only other tight end with more upside this week is Zach Ertz.
  • Keke Coutee is also expected to play today after dealing with a hamstring injury all week. He hasn’t played since Week 12, but Coutee finished with 109 receiving yards against the Colts back in Week 4.

Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
at Cowboys -2.5 Seahawks 43.0 +117 -129

The Seahawks are a 5-0 against the spread in the last five games as an underdog in primetime games. Did you know the team is 25-6-4 against the spread in their last 35 games at night? The Seahawks travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys in a matchup where the game script is projected to be neutral. Both teams will leverage the running game. It would not surprise me if the over was hit in this matchup. The Cowboys offense has played much better at home. The over has it in seven of the Seahawks last eight games with an average combined score of 54 points per game. The trend is similar for the Cowboys with the over being hit in five of their last seven games. Let me break down a few players you should target in DFS.

  • Russell Wilson averaged nearly 19 fantasy points per game finishing as the QB9. His 3,448 passing yards were Wilson’s lowest since 2013. He rises to the occasion in prime time games.

  • Ezekiel Elliott and Chris Carson are two running backs to target depending on how much salary you can free up in your lineups. Elliott averaged 26.6 opportunities per game (rushing attempts plus targets) during the regular season while Carson averaged 19.3.
  • Amari Cooper has an opportunity to thrive against the Seahawks secondary which has allowed 240 passing yards per game and 26 passing touchdowns.
  • Tyler Lockett is the Seahawks receiver to target. His explosiveness could lead to a touchdown on any given play. Lockett leads the NFL in yards per targets with 13.8 among all receivers with 65 or more.

  • Cole Beasley and Blake Jarwin are also two names to keep on your radar. Both players could thrive in short-yardage and third-down situations.

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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