Dreaming of Streaming: Advice From Vegas September 5, 2013  |  C.D. Carter

Our powers of prognostication don’t have to be honed through years of game watching, analyzing, and statistical parsing.

We can just listen to the odds makers in Las Vegas.

Projections of any kind should incorporate cues from the masters of degeneracy whose kingdom is the Vegas strip. Nowhere is Vegas’s sage advice more relevant, I think, than in choosing streaming defenses from week to week.

Let the over-under be your guide.

Read more about streaming defenses…
Dreaming of Streaming: A Glut of Week 1 Options

Over-unders, for the uninitiated, are point totals attached to each game indicating how high scoring — or low scoring — the odds makers expect the contest to be. These predictions, as I’ve mentioned, should be taken seriously to fantasy footballers.

Game Over-Under
Saints-Falcons 54
Eagles-Washington 51
Patriots-Bills 49
Packers-49ers 48.5
Giants-Cowboys 48.5
Ravens-Broncos 48
Raiders-Colts 47
Vikings-Lions 46.5
Seahawks-Panthers 45
Texans-Chargers 44
Titans-Steelers 42
Bengals-Bears 41.5
Dolphins-Browns 41
Chiefs-Jaguars 41
Cardinals-Rams 40.5
Bucs-Jets 39.5

Data courtesy of TheSpread.com.

It’s important not to reflexively discount using defenses involved in the top half of this chart. Yes, I’d likely prefer to leave my defensive spot empty than to play the Saints or Falcons defenses in Week 1, but the Patriots are a locked-and-loaded top-5 option, even with EJ Manuel under center.

The Chiefs, our streaming whipping boys from 2012, were often in games with a high over-under. The point spread, however, filled in the missing pieces: Kansas City was a considerable underdog for most of those contests, meaning an over-under of 47 shouldn’t terrify us when one team is favored by 11 points.

Keeping an eye on fluctuating over-under projections is also key for us, as odds makers bump total scores up or down with news of key injuries, among other factors. It should give us pause when a game’s over-under jumps by a point or two, or drops by a couple points on Friday and Saturday.

Below are some observations from Week 1’s over-under projections.

  • I won’t lie. I cringed, if ever so slightly, when I saw the Colts-Raiders game in the top-7 highest scoring projections. It’s a tad discomforting, I’ll admit. Probably it’d be much lower if clipboard holder extraordinaire Matt Flynn were starting for Oakland. Terrelle Pryor’s emergence — if it can be labeled as such — has caused many owners to shy away from the Colts as a no-brainer streaming option. I think Pryor can get his, on the ground if nowhere else, and still give up a chunk of fantasy goodness to Indy’s defense. Defensive streaming isn’t a zero-sum game; a defense can post a high score and some skill position players on the other side of the ball can produce decent fantasy numbers.
  • The low over-under for the Steelers-Titans matchup is just another reason to plug Pittsburgh into your Week 1 lineups, if they’re somehow floating amidst the scraps on the waiver wire. I have the Steelers as a top-3 play for this week. The run-blocking maulers on the Titans’ revamped offensive line won’t stop Pittsburgh from working Jake Locker into a panicked, flustered turnover machine.
  • That Bucs-Jets over-under should activate your salivary glands en mass. Geno Smith is starting for New York after looking laughably bad through much of his preseason action, Tampa’s vicious front seven is sure to shut down any semblance of a running attack, and Darrelle Revis — if healthy — will take away an entire side of the field all by his lonesome. Forget that this game is in New York (we like our streamers at home). Vegas is begging you to stream the Bucs defense.


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