Dreaming of Streaming Week 15: Advice From Vegas December 13, 2013  |  C.D. Carter

Welcome to Las Vegas sign on the Las Vegas Strip. 11/13/09

I’m of two clashing minds when it comes to deploying the Eagles’ defense against Matt Cassel and the Vikings this Sunday.

The matchup is potentially a juicy one, as Cassel — despite his occasional outbursts of reasonably good play — has been a turnover machine for most of the past three seasons, and the Vikings will be without Adrian Peterson and possibly Toby Gerhart, who continues to struggle with a pesky hamstring injury.

And anecdotal look at Philly’s Week 15 matchup says the Eagles much-improved pass rush will be ready and willing to tee off on Cassel and his occasionally leaky offensive line.

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Philly’s defense, which hasn’t scored fewer than seven fantasy points since Week 6 — an incredible streak — has been stout against the run (sixth best in the league, according to Pro Football Focus) so Minnesota will certainly be a one-dimensional offense. This is all well and good.

The other way of looking at Philly’s Week 15 matchup is as simple as asking Vegas oddsmakers what they think of the Vikings’ chances. Vegas, as you’ll see below, has this game pegged as one of the week’s highest scoring affairs, with the Eagles as a 4.5-point favorite. Vegas says Minnesota will score 23.3 points, and that, dear streamer, makes me nervous as hell.

The hope, I think, is that the Eagles can counter the Vikings’ scoring with a bunch of sacks and perhaps a pick or two. Philadelphia’s defense won’t post a big fantasy line this week by shutting down the Minnesota offense; it simply won’t happen. Prepare yourself for scoring, and (maybe) lots of it.


Week 15 Over-Unders

Game Over-Under
Falcons vs. Washington 51
Eagles at Vikings 51
Packers at Cowboys 48.5
Ravens at Lions 48
Rams vs. Saints 46.5
Dolphins vs. Patriots 45.5
Texans at Colts 45.5
Bills at Jaguars 43
Cardinals at Titans 41.5
49ers at Buccaneers 41
Giants vs. Seahawks 41
Jets at Panthers 40.5
Raiders vs. Chiefs 41
Bengals at Steelers 40.5

* * There’s a temptation to roll with the Falcons defense against a Washington team that has simply given up on life in recent weeks. I have the Falcons as a top-15 unit, but this over-under makes me more than wary of rolling with Atlanta. Washington, however, is allowing 12.6 fantasy points to defenses when adjusted for strength of schedule. Only the Jets are worse.

* * The Bengals and Steelers both make for decent, if unexciting, options in what Vegas projects as the lowest scoring affair of Week 15. I don’t think there’s a ton of upside for either defensive unit. Only three offenses allow fewer schedule-adjusted fantasy points to defenses than the Steelers.

* * The Jacksonville defense has been a top-nine unit over the past month, averaging 8.1 fantasy points over that span. It’s a tough case to make in large part because the Jaguars are clearly prone to game flow disaster with Chad Henne at the helm. Jaguars’ coaches have found ways to mitigate Henne’s impact on the game — a boon for a defense that has been put in horrendous positions thanks to their offense’s dysfunction. Buffalo has reportedly pared down the offensive playbook for E.J. Manuel after the rookie appeared overwhelmed last week in Tampa. I’m not sure if this is a good thing for the Jags’ defense, but this much is clear: the Bills’ offense will be simplified, and Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley is a damn good defensive mind.


One Response

  1. Kevin says:

    I enjoy your podcasts, articles, book/short stories, etc. so I don’t want to come off sounding really critical. I know we all are looking for numbers to help us make our projections better. If these over/unders are making you more accurate then stick with them. The question that always comes to my mind is: When you write “Vegas says” do you mean the betting public or the sportsbooks? I’m thinking you are referring to the sportsbooks and I don’t really think of them as telling us anything other than at what point gamblers disagree. For example if the over/under of Philly/Minn is 51, they are telling us that they think roughly 50% of bettors will think there will be less than 51 points scored and the other half think more will be scored. I just looked up the current stats and saw that currently 61% are betting the under (when typically bettors are drawn to Overs) and only 25% are takings the Vikings to stay within 4 points. Does this mean I should think philly’s defense will be better because of the actions of these extra 11% of bettors? Do we watch for line movements or just go with the original line and consider it close enough, since it was the oddsmakers initial guess of public perception?

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