5 Betting Trends to Help Set Your Week 4 Daily Fantasy Football Lineup
It's no secret that Vegas totals and spreads can be helpful when making fantasy football decisions -- especially in daily fantasy contests.
Unfortunately, as professional NFL handicapper Warren Sharp has pointed out, oddsmakers' primary goal is not to set the most accurate lines; its goal is to make money, and they do that by encouraging public action on a particular side. What does that mean?
Let's say a sportsbook opens the line on a game with Team X favored to beat Team Y by seven points. If 80% of the public money coming in is in favor of Team X against the spread but the book still does not adjust the line, that demonstrates that either there is sharp money on Team Y, or that they feel confident about Team Y against the spread. Either way, by examining how the oddsmakers are moving lines in comparison to where the public is betting, we can potentially gain an edge when making lineup decisions.
Houston Texans (+1.0) at Indianapolis Colts (O/U 47.0)
Betting Trends: After an 0-3 start, public bettors are not as sold on Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans as they were at the beginning of the season. Houston travels to Indiana to take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, and bettors are indicating a slight lean towards the home team, as about 60% of tickets against the spread are on the Colts, yet the line has dropped from Indianapolis -2.5 at the open to the current line of -1.0. This is a classic example of reverse line movement, indicating that the sharps are going against the public and are on Houston, which is supported by 66% of moneyline bets going to Houston.
Takeaways: The reverse line movement benefits Lamar Miller, who has seen solid usage so far this year but failed to translate it to solid production. It does help, however, that only two teams have allowed more receiving yards to running backs than the Colts. Indianapolis has also struggled to defend tight ends, which makes Ryan Griffin, an 80% snap player so far, a punt play option.
On Indianapolis' side, the line movement -- or lack thereof with the high over/under -- bodes well for the chances of a shootout, which helps their passing game. T.Y. Hilton has scorched the Texans in his career for five100-yard games, including an astonishing 25% of his career touchdowns. While Eric Ebron left DFS players who used him kicking themselves last week, he still drew 11 targets and could be in line for similar volume if Jack Doyle is out again. Houston has already allowed 196 yards and 2 touchdowns to tight ends this season.
Buffalo Bills (+9.5) at Green Bay Packers (O/U 45.0)
Betting Trends: Maybe it's a concern that after suffering his first loss of the season Aaron Rodgers is still not 100%. Maybe it's because Josh Allen and company looked fantastic in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. Whatever it is, the oddsmakers seem to think the Buffalo Bills can keep this game against the Green Bay Packers close, as even though public bettors are relatively split on this one, in both the spread and moneyline, the line has moved over a point in Buffalo's favor from Packers -11.0 to -9.5.
Takeaways: So far this season, 90% of rushing attempts against Green Bay have gained positive yardage, which is the highest rate in the league. Remember, the Packers just lost Muhammad Wilkerson to a season-ending injury, they've allowed 4.98 YPC on the year, and LeSean McCoy is expected to return this week. No one benefits from the line movement in Buffalo's favor more than Shady.
Josh Allen could end up being a classic Konami quarterback who doesn't seem like an attractive play but ends up with a good day via his legs. Allen has accounted for a quarterback-high 32.9% of his team's rushing yards and is first in red zone and inside-the-10 rushing attempts at the position.
The line movement helps this Packers passing offense, as it reduces the chances of a run-heavy game script in the second half after a blowout. You can use Rodgers and his wide receivers, especially considering that Buffalo has allowed a league-high 74.2% completion rate. As a massive home favorite, one of the Packers' backs should have a nice day. Unfortunately, it's a guessing game as to who that is, but you should have exposure in tournaments for the upside at low ownership that they provide.
It's been a slow start to the year for Jimmy Graham, but the Bills have surrendered 213 yards and a touchdown to tight ends this year. Graham ranks fifth among all tight ends in air yards, and we already know that we want to target tight ends playing at home or as favorites, because it increases their touchdown upside. Graham fits the bill this week.
New York Jets (+7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (O/U 38.5)
Betting Trends: After destroying the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football in Week 1, Sam Darnold and the New York Jets received a ton of line movement in their favor for Week 2. After two straight poor performances, however, the public has turned sour on Darnold and company, as fewer than 40% of bets against the spread are on the Jets. Despite this, the line has moved 1.5 points from Jaguars -9.0 to Jaguars -7.5. There is reverse line action in play as sharp money appears to be coming in on New York, including 49% on the moneyline.
Takeaways: Even with the line movement, however, you shouldn't be looking to Isaiah Crowell, as he's depended on short scores for fantasy production, which are hard to count on as a road dog with the lowest implied team total on the slate. You can, however, consider Quincy Enunwa. Enunwa leads the team in targets, with 29, and should avoid Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye at least partially, as he has received 62% of his targets from the slot.
Don't worry about the line movement with Leonard Fournette. He's a big home favorite and could go underowned after essentially doing nothing all year due his hamstring injury. It could help the Jacksonville passing game, however, if it's a back-and-forth-game rather than a blowout, and the line movement would seem to indicate the former. Dede Westbrook, who runs 85% of his snaps inside, has the best matchup in the Jaguars' receiving corps.
The Jets do rank first in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, so don't go off the deep end with Blake Bortles and company just yet. Maybe just dip your toes in the water this week.
Seattle Seahawks (-3.0) at Arizona Cardinals (O/U 39.0)
Betting Trends: After seeing three straight horrendous performances from the Arizona Cardinals offense, Steve Wilks finally had enough, as he pulled the plug on the expensive Sam Bradford experiment. Apparently, bettors had seen enough, too, as about 75% of bets are on the Seattle Seahawks as a short road favorite in a divisional contest. Despite the public stance, however, more reverse line movement is in play as the line has dropped from Seattle -4.0 at the open to the current line of Seattle -3.0.
Takeaways: This may be due to Arizona's complete ineptitude in terms of sustaining drives, as they've run just 47.3 plays per game. Betting on a rebound from such a unsustainably low mark would align with the sportsbooks' line movement.
Chris Carson played 72.5% of snaps last week, his first this season over 50.0%, as Seattle allowed him to assume the clear lead back role. The 37.0 opposing touches to backfield Arizona has surrendered this year is the most in the league.
But as gross as it may feel, the line movement ultimately benefits Arizona the most. We know David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are talented players, and we know they are likely to carry low ownership this week. If the situation breaks right for them, and it could according to the line movement, Josh Rosen is an upgrade on Sam Bradford, Johnson and Fitzgerald could tilt slates this weekend.
New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at New York Giants (O/U 50.0)
Betting Trends: Following a stunning overtime victory in a shootout over the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints continue their road trip as they head up north to New Jersey to take on the New York Giants. Over 60% of the bets are on the team from the Big Easy, yet the line has moved from Saints -4 at the open to the current line of Saints -3.5. Yet again, we have reverse line movement. In fact, even more perplexing is that the Giants are getting over 70% of the moneyline bets.
Takeaways: The fact that road favorites coming off an overtime win are just 13-23 Against the Spread since 2002 may certainly play a role in the sharps favoring New York over New Orleans.
Frankly, the line movement in New York's favor may benefit for Alvin Kamara, as we get to see more of him in the most valuable pass-catching running back role in football. He's averaging 35.7 routes per game, most for backs, and his 20 targets last week broke the record for single-game running back targets. Of course, the Giants are just 29th in receiving points allowed to opposing backfields, so fading Kamara looks like it may be another futile effort.
Kamara isn't the only Saints player breaking records. Michael Thomas is the first player ever to have 10 receptions in every game in the first 3 games of the season. Benjamin Watson may be worth a shot at tight ends, as the Giants have been bad against tight ends for years and haven't faced anyone better than Austin Seferian-Jenkins to start the year. Watson has played 72% of the team's snaps and ranks third on the team in air yards.
New Orleans has allowed a 78.9% completion rate on throws 15-yards or further downfield, which is almost double the rest of the league (40.6%). That and the Saints poor pass rush should mean good things for the Giants' best big-play threat, Rhett Ellison. I kid; it's obviously Odell Beckham.
Sterling Shepard could have a nice day himself, as New York will be without Evan Engram and the Saints will be without slot corner Patrick Robinson. Eli Manning has been getting the ball out quicker of late, which could help a slot player like Shepard. Even Eli himself is an option, as the Saints rank 32nd in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
They do, however, rank fifth in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, which means you shouldn't go crazy putting Saquon Barkley into your lineups even though the line movement in his favor. Still, his workload, especially in the passing game, is so immense you're not fading him entirely because of the matchup.
Akash Bhatia is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Akash Bhatia also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tenswimrun1. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.