Week 2 Vegas Fantasy Preview
September 19, 2015 | Chet
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Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (Saints -9.5, over/under 47)
A lot of online books opened Saints -10.5 and -11 and early action was on Tampa to push the line off the key number of 10. Just a week ago there was no way this line would have been double digits (likely closer to Saints -7), but Jameis Winston’s opening act will do these sorts of things. The Saints were torched by Carson Palmer (3 TDs, 307 Yards) and Rob Ryan’s defense looks as bad as ever. The back and forth between Sean Payton and Rob Ryan is must see TV but you gotta think Ryan’s job security is on thin ice. Mike Evans’ return could accelerate the process as he should step in right away and be a high-upside WR2 in fantasy leagues. Expect the Bucs to move the ball with relative ease but for the Saints to eek out the win in a shootout of sorts. I especially like Brandin Cooks in all DFS leagues this week. Two bad defenses makes this game very fantasy-friendly.
My bet: Bucs +10
Pittsburgh @ San Francisco (Steelers -6.5, over/under 45.5)
Interestingly, this line opened Steelers -6.5 and sharps quickly bet the 49ers to push the line to Steelers -5. However, the past couple days have steadily seen Pittsburgh money push the line to -7 online and -6.5 here in Vegas. It looks like the line will settle at -7 most everywhere by kickoff, with the crowd split between having a Steelers ticket giving less than a touchdown or the 49ers getting a touchdown. Personally I think the Steelers were incredibly lucky to eek out a push (and in some places a cover) against the Patriots in week 1. Missing Maurkice Pouncey, LeVeon Bell, and Martavis Bryant is clearly is affecting the offense while the Steeler defense is a shell of its former self. The 49ers looked like a team with something to prove to its many doubters in week 1 and I expect that momentum to continue. Trent Baalke deserves credit for the 49ers depth in years past, preparing for inevitable departures — though nobody could have foreseen this many personnel losses. Still, it seems like there is no better motivation than negative media attention. Take the Niners and the touchdown
My bet: 49ers +7
Detroit @ Minnesota (Vikings -2, over/under 43.5)
Public underdog alert! 72% of spread and 89% of moneyline bets have been on the Lions (courtesy vegasinsider.com), which has pushed the Vikings off the key opening number -3 to -1.5 in some places, and it’s still steaming. I expect a pick ‘em by kickoff. A nationally televised Monday night disaster for the Vikings is to blame, to go along with some of that Ameer Abdullah hype. I expect the entire Viking offense to get back on track in their home opener. The Lions fall victim to the schedule and should be considered at least a 3 point underdog in this one, so the value is clearly on Minnesota. With an over/under of 43.5 and 44 everywhere, this game still has plenty of fantasy implications and I would expect rebounds for underperforming week 1 superstars Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson.
My bet: Vikings -2
New England @ Buffalo (pick ‘em, over/under 44.5)
Most books have this as a pick ‘em but the sharpest of books (Westgate hotel in Vegas & online at Pinnacle) have moved to Buffalo -1 after opening Patriots -1. The squarest book of them all (Bovada) has the Pats -2 favorites, so that’s all you need to know. With a clear sharp vs public divide, it’s easy to blindly point to Buffalo as the winner here. However, if any coach can work wonders with the extra preparation time (9 days off between week 1 and 2 for New England), it’s Bill Belichick. For this reason I’m staying away from betting the winner of this game. This is one of those games where if I find +1.5 or higher on either side, I’m teasing that team to +7.5. With the perception of both of these defenses, and this game being in Buffalo, it seemed like the opening total of 45 was a bit high. The Patriots defense did just give up 464 yards of total offense to an undermanned Steelers team so the Bills should be able to move the ball with relative ease. The under 44.5 is likely a trap. Some unexpectedly positive fantasy performances can come out of this (I’m looking at you, Sammy Watkins).
My bet: over 44.5
Arizona @ Chicago (Cardinals -2, over/under 46.5)
Here’s another public perception matchup, as 87% of the spread bets have been on Arizona. With an opening game that Carson Palmer had (and the Bears being the Bears) this is predictable. It’s a tell that this line hasn’t moved off the Cardinals -2, meaning big money is being placed on the Bears. Avoid the trap, fade the public, cross your fingers, and hope Jay Cutler doesn’t (literally) throw this game away.
My bet: Chicago +2
Tennessee @ Cleveland (Titans -2, over/under 41)
And here’s one more public overreaction. The Browns opened as a 2 point favorite but have been bet down to a 2 point underdog because of what Marcus Mariota did against one of the worst teams in the NFL in week 1. While Mariota could easily be the rookie of the year, he will fall back down to earth this week. Johnny Manziel is about to make his most important professional start of his career. If the Browns lose and Manziel is careless with the ball again, this is more than likely the last we’ll see of him in Cleveland. The Browns will find out pretty soon if Johnny Football is their franchise quarterback. I buy into the talent and have faith that he will at least listen to coaches and try to limit his turnovers. Like Cutler, betting Manziel is not easy at all. I’m definitely in the minority here but it is clear value to take the Browns in this one. Duke Johnson is one of my home run tournament plays in DFS this week, as he is dirt cheap and clearly the best all around talent at RB in Cleveland. Hopefully the Browns involve him in the passing game this week.
My bet: Cleveland +2
San Diego @ Cincinnati (Bengals -3, over/under 47)
Two of the more impressive teams in week 1 were the Bengals and Chargers. I know it was the Raiders, but the way the Bengals dominated in Oakland shows that they have to be considered one of the top teams in the AFC and legitimate Super Bowl contenders. This line being only -3 is still showing disrespect, as Vegas is saying that these two teams are equals on a neutral field. The Chargers have the firepower to make it interesting and I expect this game to go over the total, but the Bengals should show that they are the team to beat in the North… and perhaps the entire AFC. Because of this high total and the likelihood of an over still happening, it’s safe to start plenty of players on either side of this matchup. Marvin Jones is a nice tournament play in DFS leagues with his big play ability and the Chargers defense (who rolled coverage to stop Megatron last week) focusing on Eifert and Green.
My bet: Bengals -3
Atlanta @ New York Giants (Giants -2.5, over/under 51)
I was surprised to see the Falcons as underdogs in this game but with 62% of bets being placed on the Giants and this game trending towards NY -3 at kickoff, apparently the public disagrees. This is a vastly improved Falcons team with an excellent defensive mind in Dan Quinn as head coach. Atlanta also found a semblance of a running game to bring much-needed balance to the offense. This is definitely a team on the rise while the Giants have gigantic holes to fill defensively. The Falcons should have their way with the Giants defense and make enough plays on defense to pull off the win. With an over/under of 51 there is plenty of fantasy goodness to go around. As mentioned before, Tevin Coleman could have a nice breakout game and is worth a shot in any format. Coleman is the closest thing to this-seasons Jeremy Hill.
My bet: Falcons +2.5
Miami @ Jacksonville (Dolphins -6, over/under 41.5)
Coming off a nice win (and a lucky late cover) at Washington, the Dolphins travel to Jacksonville to take on a hungry Jags team. It’s a tough spot for Miami and once again I will fade the public’s opinion (82% of spread bets going to Miami). Some reverse line movement is moving this game to Miami -5.5, so the sharps will be on the Jags here as well. Bovada hanging a -6.5 also makes this another clear sharps vs squares matchup. I’m confidently taking the Jags as my lock of the week. For fantasy I expect the Jaguars to give TJ Yeldon all the work he can handle. He may have the highest floor of any rookie RB, and if the Jaguars are to pull off an upset he will need to have a big game.
My bet: Jacksonville +6
Dallas @ Philly (Eagles -5, over/under 55)
Once again the Eagles have the highest total of the week. It’s likely that every Eagles game will have an inflated total, but betting the under is still playing with fire (11 of the Eagles’ 16 games went over 50 points last season). With the Eagles (trying to) beef up their run game and defense, their games will likely go under the total more often than not this season, so just a heads up. Before the season started some books had a look ahead line of Eagles -3, so giving them 2 points based on Dez Bryant’s injury is a bit reckless. Dallas will likely try to play ball control with what they do best; run the ball behind behind that offensive line. Because of game flow, a Dallas +6 cover would likely mean an under 55. Conversely, an Eagles cover should be parlayed with the over. In an AFC East rivalry game like this one, the underdog is usually the better bet.
My bet: Dallas +5
Seattle @ Green Bay (Pack -3.5, over/under 49)
Perhaps the game of the year… so early here in week 2? While these games rarely ever live up to their billing, this one has a chance. Not much line movement at all means this line has settled in pretty good with equal money on both sides. Of course, if you want Green Bay you’re taking the -3 with juice. The NFC Championship payback aspect of this game makes me want to take the Pack here, but Seattle really is more equipped to win shootouts now. Kam Chancellor’s absence is obviously a knock on the entire defense, but the Legion of Boom still has more than enough talent to hold Aaron Rodgers in check. The winner of this game will be the odds-on-favorite to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs so I do not expect the Seahawks to go down easily at all in this one. Russell Wilson just got paid big money to win games like this. I can’t wait for this one
My bet: Seattle +3.5
New York Jets @ Indianapolis (Colts -7, over/under 46.5)
Only a slight line movement in favor of the Jets (despite ⅔ of bets in favor of the Colts) shows some support for the Jets getting a touchdown, but a prime time Colts home opener will be a tough spot for New York. Coming off a loss, the Colts need this one. Teasing Indy to -1 is one of the safer bets this week. Andrew Luck will get back on track whether TY Hilton plays or not. I’m leaning the Colts and the over, but this really is a no bet for me other than the tease.
Any DFS, fantasy, or Vegas questions? Feel free to comment below or follow me on Twitter @jeffd119