Week 5 Vegas Fantasy Preview
October 11, 2015 | Chet
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Buffalo @ Tennessee (Bills -1, over/under 42)
This line opened Bills -3 and has crashed to Bills -1 in most casinos, with the sharpest of books hanging a pick ‘em line or Titans -1. This is all in spite of 81% reported on the Bills. This type of reverse line movement tells me huge amounts of likely sharp money is being placed on the Titans, both against the spread and moneyline. Coming off a bye, Mariota is looking for his first home win in his young career. I expect Ken Whisenhunt to put Mariota in the best position possible, implementing game-changer Dorial Green-Beckham into the offense more. This should open up the underneath routes for Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker to keep the chains moving. The 4-headed monster at RB for Tennessee will likely be game flow and hot-hand dependent, effectively killing everybody’s fantasy value. This Titans offense should only get better as the season progresses and one of these running backs will be a nice lottery ticket that could help win leagues. My money’s on the most talented one, David Cobb.
My bet: Titans moneyline
Cleveland @ Baltimore (Ravens -7, over/under 43)
It’s hard to believe this Ravens team is actually getting 7 points against any team, but, of course, this is the Browns. Baltimore didn’t exactly win last week’s game at Pittsburgh as much as the Steelers lost it (short week/Vick/kicking/bad play calling). Without Steve Smith, the Ravens’ offense has become stagnant and predictable. On a pure talent basis, the Browns are better than the Ravens. Of course, quarterback play is the most important aspect in the NFL and Flacco easily beats whomever the Browns trot out there, so favoring the home team by a touchdown does make some sense. Behind a good offensive line, the Browns will be able to move the ball easily with the underrated duo of Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell. This line really should be closer to Ravens -3, but the stigma that is the Cleveland Browns to go along with the Ravens mystique is pushing this line to 7.
My bet: Browns +7
Washington @ Atlanta (Falcons -7, over/under 48)
This line opened with the Falcons being 9 point favorites but has gotten bet down to the key number of 7, where it will likely settle. Perhaps the Falcons line was inflated because of the 4-0 start (and more importantly 4-0 against the spread) and the public just saw the Redskins beat the Eagles. Make no mistake, the Redskins are not a good team. You think Kyle Shanahan will want to stick it to his old team that screwed him over? He will do everything in his power to run up the score on a mediocre Washington defense. The entire Falcons offense are great fantasy plays in this matchup, with Julio Jones being the most likely receiver to score multiple times this week.
My bet: Falcons -7
Chicago @ Kansas City (Chiefs -9, over/under 45)
Kansas City opened as a 10 point favorite in this matchup but the line has gotten bet down to 9. Keep a close eye on the statuses of Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal, if they’re both ruled inactive, Chiefs -9 becomes a lot more appealing. The underrated Chiefs defense could be one of the highest scoring units in fantasy this week as well. In this situation it’s generally better value to take the 9 points when the underdog has a competent quarterback, but this is Jay Cutler in a hostile environment missing weapons on a team that’s content to punt the season. If the Chiefs get out to an early lead, this one will get ugly quickly.
My bet: Chiefs -9
New Orleans @ Philadelphia (Eagles -6, over/under 49.5)
This line opened Eagles -4 but has moved to -6 despite 69% of side bets coming in on the Saints. The public just saw the Saints escape with a win and lucky cover vs the Cowboys last Sunday night while the Eagles lost to the hapless Redskins. With both teams sitting at 1-3, this game is extremely important with the losing team having almost no chance of making the playoffs. While it’s always difficult to bet against Drew Brees, the Saints defense is its Achilles heel. The Saints’ pass defense has given up 7 touchdowns (0 interceptions) for a league worst 116.3 QB passer rating against. Throw in a hungry Eagles’ offense with Sam Bradford gaining confidence at the right time and this could be the breakout party everybody expected at the start of the season. Start the entire Eagles’ passing offense with confidence; this one will be high scoring.
My bets: Eagles -6, over 49.5
St. Louis @ Green Bay (Packers 9.5, over/under 46)
With both of these teams coming off impressive road victories, this line has not moved much at all. Todd Gurley’s breakout party was exactly what the Rams needed. In order to win games, St. Louis’ identity as a team needs to be a run-oriented offense with a game manager at QB to complement their elite defense. However, this is the Packers with Aaron Rodgers looking better than ever. Already a 2-time MVP, Rodgers is on pace to have his finest season yet and it’s not like they have had a cakewalk of a schedule. Games vs KC, vs Seattle, and @SF were at worst above-average defensive matchups and the Packers still covered the spread every week. If the Packers find a way to take the rookie Gurley out of the game and force Nick Foles to throw the ball, turnovers will come. An opportunistic Packer defense should be able to make it happen and although the Rams have one of the better defenses in the league, we’re in the midst of a historic season for Aaron Rodgers; clearly the odds-on favorite for MVP number 3.
My bet: Packers -9.5
Seattle @ Cincinnati (Bengals -3, over/under 43)
With this spread being Bengals -3 or -3.5 everywhere, this is week 2 all over again for Seattle. Flash back to Seattle @ Green Bay 2 weeks ago and you’re looking at the exact same scenario (Packers -3 to -3.5 with the moneyline set at around -170). While the Bengals are an impressive 4-0 (and covering in every game), are they really just as good as the Packers? Seattle is gaining momentum after the Monday Night win and this should continue. It’s hard to expect Russell Wilson to be so careless with the football again. He will get it right and make smart decisions on the road. Seattle’s defense has more than enough talent to keep Andy Dalton and his weapons in check. This should be the best game of the week, a true coin flip. Take the +3
My bet: Seattle +3
New England @ Dallas (Patriots -9, over/under 49.5)
Coming off a bye, the Patriots line has jumped from -7.5 to -9 with some books already moving to -10. With 90% of bets coming in on the Patriots, this sort of thing happens. After Spygate, the Patriots won and covered 8 weeks in a row, so betting on them might just be free money once again. It’s also just as easy to fade Brandon Weeden. A Patriots cover will mean a loss for almost every sportsbook, but this line is absolutely inflated. Multi-billion dollar casinos aren’t built because the house loses these types of games, right? I’ll take the value with Dallas, knowing that a bet against Tom Brady is playing with fire.
My bet: Dallas +9
San Francisco @ New York Giants (Giants -7, over/under 43)
The Giants have the best run defense in the league while giving up the 2nd most passing yards. Not a great matchup for the 49ers, who need to run the ball to establish any kind of offense at all. Kaepernick will turn the ball over when forced to throw and will need to rely on his legs to pick up first downs. It’s quickly looking like a lost season for the 49ers, who simply have had too many personnel losses to overcome. With 2 important divisional games on deck, New York needs this win. There won’t be an easier matchup all season for the Giants. A rout is likely.
My bet: Giants -7
Pittsburgh @ San Diego (Chargers -4, over/under 45.5)
This line moved off the key number of Chargers -3 to -4, likely due to the Mike Vick factor. While downfield accuracy has always been an issue for Vick, he can still get it to playmakers LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown in space. The meltdown last Thursday night for the Steelers was due more to bad play calling than Vick’s inaccuracy. It’s Todd Haley, did you expect anything different? The mini-bye was much needed for a Steelers’ offense needing time to adjust to a quarterback with a completely different playing style than Roethlisberger. This should be another coin flip type of game that the Steelers can easily win. Getting more than a field goal is just icing on the cake.
My bet: Steelers +4
YTD against-the-spread record: 16-18 (47%)
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