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Over the course of the 2015 NFL season week we'll be exploring DFS Strategy for FanDuel and DraftKings GPPs and cash games. Daily fantasy football is huge and growing, and RotoBaller's DFS strategy experts are here to help you win big!

Today we'll be looking at how you can utilize Las Vegas betting lines and prop bets to get a leg up on the DFS competition on DraftKings and FanDuel. Stay tuned for more DFS strategy columns coming soon.

Editor’s Note: We have some start of season NFL DFS Services Premium Lineup Picks deals, that include all of our Premium DFS lineup picks, analysis and also exclusive access to all our other Premium tools, apps and resources. Get NFL DFS Premium and get an edge!

 

Vegas Lines - NFL DFS Strategy

There are hundreds of ways to prepare for your daily NFL contests, but Vegas is a tool that should definitely be utilized. If you are new to fantasy, and betting in general, Las Vegas is where it all happens. No, they cannot predict the future, but they can give you one of the most educated guesses in the business. It seems as if Vegas lines are grossly underused in fantasy football, and prop bets are even more underused than the lines.

So, what are Vegas lines? Vegas lines will give you an educated guess on how many points will be scored in a game and which team will win that game. You’re probably wondering how to read Vegas lines, and if you would have a bit of patience, I’ll let you know! Let’s take some week one Vegas lines as an example.

Pittsburgh                 55u
New England            -6.5

Cleveland                  41u
N.Y. Jets                     -1

While these two examples look simple, it may tell us a bit more than you’re expecting. First, the Steelers and Patriots are projected to score 55 points, and New England is projected to win by 6.5 points. This game is projected to be a much higher scoring game than the Browns/Jets, which means that if you are choosing between these two games, you’ll likely want to attack the players in the game that is set to feature more points (Steelers/Patriots). This tool isn’t only beneficial for finding which position players to use, but it’s also easy to see that of these four teams, the Jets defense is the best pick. The Steelers/Patriots game will feature too many points for a solid defensive outing, while the Jets are projected to hold the Browns to the fewest points of the group.

There is a bit more that we can take away from just these couple of numbers, as well. Next, you’ll want to break down the winners and losers of each game to help determine what players will be the most valuable. The Patriots are significant favorites, which means that they will likely be winning the game when the beginning of the fourth quarter comes. What does that mean for fantasy purposes? First, the Steelers will likely be airing the ball out for most of the second half, raising the ceiling of Ben Roethlisberger and his wide-outs. That will also lower the ceiling of DeAngelo Williams, who will be starting for the suspended Le’Veon Bell. This score will also hurt the fantasy upside Jimmy Garoppolo, as he will likely be handing the ball off to whoever is in the Patriots' backfield to run the clock.

As you can see, a lot of information can be taken from a couple of simple numbers that Vegas spits out. As I mentioned before, Vegas cannot see into the future, but they will give you one of the best game predictions on the internet. It only takes a small amount of time to analyze each game, and your fantasy production should sky rocket if you choose to do so.

 

Prop Bets - NFL DFS Strategy

The next order of business is prop bets, which tend to give fantasy players a bit more trouble than the simpler Vegas lines. Prop bets are an educated guess at what a specific player will do during a game. These can be extremely helpful in picking players that you may have missed in your first line of research. There are no prop bets out for week one of the NFL season, so I will make up an example below:

How many touchdowns will be thrown?

Ben Roethlisberger            4o (-115)
Jimmy Garoppolo               4u (-130)
Ryan Fitzpatrick                  2u (-150)

 

This is a very vague idea of a prop bet, and it is not exactly what you are going to see when you look at them, but this example will get the point across. First, Ryan Fitzpatrick can immediately be eliminated from this group, as he is projected to score less than two touchdowns, while the other two are set to score around four touchdowns.

The next part that should be looked at is the “o/u” that is after the number. The o stands for over and the u stands for under. These numbers show that Roethlisberger is more likely to throw over four touchdowns, while Garoppolo is more likely to thrown under four touchdowns. The number in parenthesis represents how much money a person has to bet to make $100 from Vegas. That means, the lower the number, the more likely it is to happen.

Beware of only using these prop bets, though. You also have to consider the prices of the players on your specified site. If Roethlisberger costs $10,000 and Garoppolo only costs $5,000, Garoppolo is the more valuable player based on how many fantasy points they are projected to score. You will have to keep track of that number from the prop bets, as Vegas does not do fantasy projections.

You can also use prop bets if something seems a bit off with a player. Here is a personal example I used this season in baseball.

A few weeks ago, I was searching for a cheap player to fill out my MLB roster. I noticed that Vegas had a prop bet on Derek Dietrich, which had him at the same likelihood to hit a home run as Todd Frazier. Clearly, Dietrich and Frazier should never be on the same level of power, as Frazier has hit 20 more home runs this season than Dietrich. While I was confused on why Dietrich was one of the more likely players to hit a home run, I played him. Needless to say, Dietrich blasted a solo home run in his second at-bat of the game.

I cannot put enough emphasis on the fact that Vegas will not always get their predictions correct. With that being said, they can give as good of a “guess” as anyone in the fantasy sports world.

 

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