4 Betting Trends to Help Set Your Week 14 Daily Fantasy Football Lineup
When making tough decisions in daily fantasy football, Vegas lines can be predictive of fantasy scoring, while providing an edge on the competition.
Unfortunately, as professional NFL handicapper Warren Sharp has pointed out, oddsmakers' primary goal is not to set the most accurate lines; their 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, an edge can be gained when making lineup decisions.
Baltimore Ravens (+6.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (O/U 51)
Betting Trends: Chasing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North, the 7-5 Baltimore Ravens will have their work cut out for them when they face the 10-2 Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. The Ravens are winners of three straight with Lamar Jackson at the helm, including a 26-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. On the other side, the Chiefs held off the Oakland Raiders 40-33, taking another step toward a playoff bye. Despite taking 66% of the bets after the line opened at -7.5-points, the Chiefs have fallen to 6.5-point favorites, showing some sharp interest on the Baltimore side.
Takeaways: This line movement likely has to do with the Ravens' offense under Lamar Jackson. Prior to starting, the Ravens ranked first in plays per game, but allowed the 11th-most plays against. Under Jackson, they still run the most plays per game, but now give up the fewest plays per game, due in part to their domination of time of possession. This likely means lower scoring overall for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense. With the fourth-highest implied team total on the slate (28.75), they remain in play, but ceilings could be lower than anticipated for Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce in tournaments.
With the Ravens still stark underdogs, this game could provide Lamar the game script necessary to see Jackson's ceiling. Jackson has 18 rush attempts per game as the starter, but only 21.7 pass attempts. With an amazing rushing floor, game script could thrust Jackson towards 30 pass attempts pushing his ceiling through the roof. Lamar remains playable on his own and stacking options include Michael Crabtree and John Brown, who rank first and second on the team in targets (13,12) in Jackson's tenure as quarterback.
Indianapolis Colts (+4.5) at Houston Texans (O/U 50)
Betting Trends: Entering a tough division matchup the 6-6 Indianapolis Colts will look to chase down the 9-3 Houston Texans. When these teams faced off earlier this season, the Texans won in overtime 37-34 and have not lost since. The Colts have also improved, winning five of their last six games, making for an exciting match. To start the week, 57% of public bets have favored the Texans, but the line has fallen from 5.5 points to 4.5 points. This shows favor from sharps or bookmakers on the Indianapolis side of the line.
Takeaways: While winning nine-straight games, the Texans have faced only one team with a winning record, perhaps leading to this interesting line movement. With the fifth-highest implied team total on the slate (27.25), the Texans remain a favorable team to target in DFS. Deshaun Watson passed for 375 yards when these teams previously met and the Colts remain the eighth-worst pass defense, according to our metrics. Hopkins looks like the best stacking option with the tenth-most targets in football (115) and the sixth-most air yards (1,460).
Indianapolis should benefit from soft match-ups across the pass game. Houston ranks third in run defense, but Andrew Luck torched this defense for 464 passing yards in Week 4. T.Y. Hilton also posted 115 yards receiving before leaving with an injury. Eric Ebron also finds himself in a solid matchup against this Texans' defense that has allowed the sixth-most yards to tight ends this season (769). In games without Jack Doyle, Ebron has an absurd 23% target share and a 28% air yards in the Colts' offense.
New England Patriots (-7.5) at Miami Dolphins (O/U 47)
Betting Trends: In another division rivalry game the 9-3 New England Patriots travel to battle the 6-6 Miami Dolphins. Last week, the Patriots dismantled the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 and the Dolphins routed the Buffalo Bills 21-17. New England opened as 9-point favorites to start the week, with 71% of bets favoring their side. However, as the week has progressed, the Pats have fallen to 7.5-point favorites, showing some sharp interest in a home Miami team.
Takeaways: Historically under-performing in Miami, the Patriots have lost four out of their last five games played down south. However, even after the line movement New England remains 7.5-point favorites, boding well for Sony Michel and their rushing attack. In two victories since returning from injury, Michel has 23 and 18 touches. Even with Rex Burkhead returning, Michel still figures to play a prominent offensive role after the Patriots used two running backs on a league-high 32% of their plays last week. Miami ranks 27th in rush defense per our metrics and has allowed the fourth-most rushing yards this season (1,404) to backs.
New England's biggest weakness looks like pass-catching running backs after allowing the eighth-most receiving yards to backs (631). This matchup favors Kenyan Drake, whose 60 targets out-shine Frank Gore's 15. Otherwise, aside from a possible dart-throw at Kenny Stills, Miami's 25th ranked offense should be avoided in this matchup.
Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) at Dallas Cowboys (O/U 44)
Betting Trends: In a matchup crucial to the NFC East, the 6-6 Philadelphia Eagles travel to take on the 7-5 Dallas Cowboys. Last week the Eagles defeated the division rival Washington Redskins 28-13, while the Cowboys surprisingly routed the New Orleans Saints 13-10. While the Cowboys opened this contest favored by 4-points and have received 61% of the betting tickets, the line has dropped to 3.5 points, showing bookmaker or sharp interest on the Philadelphia side of the line.
Takeaways: A closer game in this contest bodes well Carson Wentz and the Eagles' passing attack. Dallas ranks fourth in rush defense and 11th in pass defense according to our metrics. Wentz has played up and down of late, but recorded 306 passing yards last week. On the other hand, Zach Ertz has dominated 2018 with a league-leading 120 tight end targets, showing matchup-proof ability throughout the season. This Dallas defense remains formidable, but the passing game looks like its biggest weakness.
On the other side, Ezekiel Elliott has absolutely dominated work in the Dallas offense. He has at least 25 touches in each of his last four games, including 6 targets in each. Philly has shown cracks in the run game, allowing the third-most rushing yards in the last four weeks (556). Still favored by 3.5-points and playing at home, Zeke looks like a lock button play this week.
Matthew Gajewski is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Gajewski also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mgajewski. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.