4 Betting Trends to Help Set Your Week 7 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.
New England Patriots (-2.5) at Chicago Bears (O/U 49.5)
Betting Trends: Coming off a dramatic home win over the then-undefeated Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will travel to the Windy City where they will face the Chicago Bears. The "Monsters of the Midway" looked tame last week as they lost in Miami. This week, over 75% of tickets are on last year's AFC Champions, but yet the line has not moved from the Patriots -2.5, demonstrating that either sharps or the bookmakers like Chicago.
Takeaways: The sharps might like Chicago because, over his past two games, Mitchell Trubisky has managed over 10.0 yards per pass attempt while averaging 50 rushing yards on the ground. The Patriots have no pass rush, as they are last in sacks and 25th in quarterback hit rate this year.
Week 7 matchups with sum of pressure rates between opposing offenses and defenses
Higher percentage: that offensive line could be in trouble (red)
Lower percentage: not expecting much pressure on QB (green) pic.twitter.com/AW13WfZ4aE
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 17, 2018
While sharp action on the Bears would normally bode well for Jordan Howard, his snap share has been in free fall of late. Tarik Cohen's snap share has been on the rise in consecutive weeks, and New England has allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to running backs, so he could play a huge role.
Sony Michel with the Blount-esque usage in first five games as a Patriot. 133 total snaps, 91 carries but only 23 routes run and 3 catches.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) October 18, 2018
That doesn't mean you should be all-in on him either, as the Bears have allowed the lowest percentage of carries to go for both 5 and 10 yards.
After failing to eclipse a 30% snap share in his first two games with New England, Josh Gordon assumed a full-time role last week as he reached the 80% snap rate threshold. Such a talented player on the field with Brady should be mixed into tournament lineups on a weekly basis.
Typically, you expect a healthy Rob Gronkowski to lead the Patriots in red zone targets, but it's actually the little guy James White, with nine from his running back spot. That doesn't mean you should get away from Gronk, however, as the Bears have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in four straight contests. Since returning, Julian Edelman has matched White in red zone targets, and slot wideouts have found success against Chicago this year.
Still, this is a matchup downgrade for New England, as the Bears are one of just 5 defenses to rank top-10 in both Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP and Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per Play.
New Orleans Saints (+2.5) at Baltimore Ravens (O/U 50.0)
Betting Trends: The 4-1 New Orleans Saints will go on the road to take on the 4-2 Baltimore Ravens, and as they do so they somewhat surprisingly go in as underdogs. The over/under has dropped by a point on FanDuel Sportsbook and, in other books, by as much as two whole points. Despite that, 63% of bets are on the over, so it would appear that the sharps are favoring the under, which makes this one less appealing for the offenses, particularly the road Saints.
Takeaways: While New Orleans enters with the NFL's sixth-best offense, per our rankings, Baltimore will do its best to slow them down as they boast the league's best defense, ranking second against both the rush and pass by our metrics. Furthermore, it's a clash of play styles in addition to a clash of individual team strengths -- and it's not what you'd expect.
According to Football Outsiders' pace stats, Baltimore is 3rd in seconds per play (25.55) and New Orleans checks in 27th, averaging 28.98 seconds per play -- over three more than the Ravens. And even if we narrow that to situation-neutral plays, the Ravens operated at the league's second-fastest pace to New Orleans' middle-of-the-pack (17th) pace.
Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas all cost at least $8,200 on FanDuel's main slate. Given Brees' home/road splits over the last two-plus seasons, those prices might be too high in a road tilt.
For Baltimore, they own the higher implied total, but as a favorite, Joe Flacco has averaged 6.62 fewer FanDuel points per game (15.60-22.22). Running backs Alex Collins and Javorius Allen have been better as favorites, though there's some risk as they take on a Saints squad that sits first in Rushing NEP per carry and Success Rate allowed to the running back position. However, on the positive end, Allen could benefit as a pass-catcher, as New Orleans ranks dead last in Target Success Rate against backs.
Despite Flacco's lower fantasy totals, the Ravens' receivers are in play with this minimally positive game script. The Saints are 32nd according to our defense-versus-position ranks, and maybe most notably they're 32nd against WR3s. Willie Snead could be a nice tournament play in that role.
Buffalo Bills (+7.5) at Indianapolis Colts (O/U 43.0)
Betting Trends: After Josh Allen was injured and Nathan Peterman sank the game with a walkoff pick-six, the Buffalo Bills will roll with Derek Anderson in this start. They will travel from their home in New York to head to the Midwest, where they will face the Indianapolis Colts, who are coming off a loss of their own in a wild affair in the Meadowlands. Bettors are split on this one, but the line has moved two full points from Colts -9.5 at the open to the current line of Indianapolis -7.5, indicating that sharps are either big on the switch to Anderson or this Bills team in general.
Takeaways: The sharps may be on Buffalo, who over the past four weeks, have allowed a touchdown on just 9.1% of their drives, the second-lowest rate over that span. In fact, the Bills, along with the aforementioned Bears, are one of five teams to rank top-10 in both Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points and Rushing NEP per play.
While that makes it hard to trust the Colts offense, you can perhaps go back to their passing offense considering Luck's willingness to push the ball down the field of late.
Andrew Luck's updated air yards per pass attempt (via @NextGenStats). He's airing it out more and more each week, even though T.Y. Hilton (hammy) isn't healthy:
Week 1 - 5.3
Week 2 - 4.6
Week 3 - 6.2
Week 4 - 8.1
Week 5 - 8.2
Week 6 - 9.1
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) October 17, 2018
Eric Ebron is a great option as long as Jack Doyle remains out, as he ranks second at the position in targets since Doyle has been sidelined. Despite the line movement, the Indianapolis D/ST is an option, ranking third in the NFL in sacks and facing a Bills team allowing a 12.4% sack rate thus far.
BUF RB usage last two weeks:
LeSean McCoy 94 snaps, 40 carries, 36 routes, 8 targets.
Chris Ivory 34 snaps, 20 carries, 12 routes, 1 target.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) October 18, 2018
Interestingly enough, Anderson could be good news for Kelvin Benjamin, who has played with Anderson in the past when both players were with the Carolina Panthers. Benjamin actually averaged over 6 receptions and nearly 90 yards in Anderson's 3 starts in Carolina with the former healthy and active.
Houston Texans (+5.0) at Jacksonville Jagaurs (O/U 42.0)
Betting Trends: After winning last week on the aforementioned Peterman pick-six, the 3-3 Houston Texans will travel to Florida to take on their division-rival Jacksonville Jaguars, who are also 3-3 and coming off a beatdown at the hands of Dak Prescott and company at Jerry World. Even with bettors split on this one, the line has moved 1.5 points from the opening 3.5 in favor of Jacksonville to the current line of Jaguars -5.0. This indicates that the sharps are on Jacksonville.
Takeaways: Based on how their offense has struggled recently, the line movement in the Jaguars' favor may make the Jacksonville D/ST the best play in this game. Deshaun Watson has been hit on a league-high 15.8% of his dropbacks, which is certainly a contributing factor to his partially collapsed lung. The pressure chart above shows that as one would expect, the Houston offensive line is a poor matchup against this stout Jacksonville front.
DeAndre Hopkins been targeted an absurd 59 times in last four games vs JAX. Resulted in a 40.6% catch rate. Hopkins has a 58.8% catch rate against all other opponents over last three seasons.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) October 18, 2018
The Texans rank just 26th in receiving points allowed to the running back position which bodes well for T.J. Yeldon. While it's hard to trust either in cash games, both Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief draw favorable matchups and are in play for GPPs. Moncrief leads the team in Air Yards, while Westbrook leads the team in receptions and receiving yards.
And as a home favorite facing a defense that has allowed the sixth-most touchdown passes and eight-highest completion rate in the league, Blake Bortles is in play as well. The Texans, as a defense, are bottom-three in Adjusted Passing NEP per play.
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.