The house always wins. Regular gamblers, moviegoers, and most people can recognize what this phrase means. When it comes to gambling over the long run, the casino/house will always win out. They have been doing it long enough to know all the tricks and all the ways to separate you from your money. What if we could work together with the house? And we could use the years of knowledge and data that sportsbooks pour into game lines? What if we could harness this power to help win our dynasty fantasy football league?. This, my friends, is winning WITH Vegas.
If you are new to the series, please check out the explanation in the following two paragraphs. If you are a returning reader, you can skip down to the games and players we picked this week. All lines are courtesy of Fanduel Sportsbook.
The premise of this series is to look at weekly over/unders and implied team totals to find fringe starters in our deeper fantasy football leagues. If these terms confuse you, don’t worry. Here is your crash course on sportsbook betting terminology we will be using. Every NFL game has three basic things to bet on; spread, money line, and over/unders. The spread is the number of points a team is projected to win or lose by. A team favored by -7 is projected to win by a touchdown or more. The reverse would be a team as +7 underdogs are projected to lose by a touchdown or less. Moneyline is just the straight-up winner and over/under is the projected combined total of both teams’ scores.
In this series, we will be concerned with over/unders and spreads to figure out implied team totals. The implied team total would be the final projected score for a team based on Vegas lines. To figure this out, we must determine the final score Vegas is projecting. Let us set up a scenario where a game has an over/under of 42, and the favorite is projected to win by 8 points. We must use math to come up with a final score that will meet both of these criteria. In this example, a final score of 25 – 17 will match both projections. By going through every game in a week, we can quickly see which teams Vegas has scoring big, and that will give us a clue as to what players have the best touchdown upside.
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
Implied Final Score: Bills (27) Chiefs (30)
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, BUF
Sanders has not so quietly emerged as a viable WR3 in this Buffalo passing attack. A team that is continuing its 2020 trend of being very pass-happy. We have seen Sanders explode for two touchdowns week three against the Washington Football Team, a matchup that we did not expect to be a shoot-out. Buffalo has put up at least 35 points every week since their week one loss to Pittsburgh. Now with a team that will keep up on the other side, not to mention a very poor Kansas City defense. This game will easily hit the over. When that happens, don’t be surprised for Sanders to wind up as a WR2 this week, assuming he can find his way into the endzone.
Josh Gordon, WR, KC
Fantasy football is supposed to be fun, right? Well, what can be more fun than starting a 30-year-old wide receiver who hasn’t played football in two years? Let us not forget, Gordon averages over 17 yards per reception for his career and has never played with a quarterback like Mahomes. In addition, with two years off, you have to imagine he has fresh legs. He could finish as a WR6 or as the WR1! That’s the fun part! In a deep league where he has been stashed on your bench since the startup, now is his time to shine.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Implied Final Score: Giants (23) Cowboys (30)
Dalton Schultz, TE, DAL
Schultz had a breakout game last week against Carolina; 8 targets, 6 receptions for 58 yards, and a touchdown. While some may see this as a one-week wonder, I believe it is more of a trend of things to come. Schultz looked explosive in his yards after catch ability. Schultz is currently out-targeting fellow tight end Blake Jarwin 23 to 12 on the season. That, combined with Michael Gallup missing another game, means that Schultz will have another TE1 season this week. Start him with confidence.
Kadarius Toney, WR, NYG
Last week against the New Orleans Saints, rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney saw a career-high 9 targets. The emergence came on the heels of injuries to both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. The good news for Kadarius Toney managers is that neither Shepard nor Slayton was on the practice field as of this past Thursday. This game is a heated division rivalry that will easily hit the over. Given the lack of weapons for the Giants, Toney can be safely started as a WR3 with extreme WR1 upside given the high-scoring nature of this matchup.
Green Bay Packers (-7) at Cincinnati Bengals
Implied Final Score: Packers (27) Bengals (24)
Randal Cobb, WR GB
Cobb has emerged as the WR2 in Green Bay after Marquez Valdes-Scantling landed on the IR with a hamstring injury. That fact may not be surprising, given his history with Green Bay. What may be surprising is that he is currently top 5 in the NFL at the receiver position with an 81.8% catch rate. Meaning, if he can just secure a couple of more targets a game, we could be talking about Randal Cobb as an every-week WR3 with WR2 upside given some touchdown production. With a likely high-scoring game this week, the odds are good he can find the endzone.
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I hope you enjoyed this dive into Vegas implied team totals, over/unders, and how math can help us in fantasy football. For more content like this, be sure to give me a follow on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for any questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!