Using Vegas Lines to Create a Lineup

fd-101-300x300Welcome to FantasyDraft 101, the only series designed to teach you how to play daily fantasy sports and win on FantasyDraft.com. The articles are designed to teach the basics step-by-step in order to educate beginning players and assist them in becoming the best competitor they can be. With little to no prior knowledge on the topic, these are the fundamentals to setting competitive daily fantasy baseball lineups.

Using Vegas Lines to Help Create a Lineup

Knowing the over/unders and spreads of games in a given slate can be useful. Many daily fantasy players check every single day to get Vegas’ perspective on the games. Typically you can gain certain pieces of information from looking at the lines and use them to your advantage. Before we get that far, let’s define Vegas terms so there is a clear understanding:

Over/under – The estimated number of total runs for the two teams combined in a single ballgame. Many times the number will include half a run such as 8.5 or 9.5. It is for betting purposes to make sure the house cannot lose, but for daily fantasy baseball purposes it just assumes the projected total is slightly more than the nearest lower whole number.

Spread – The projected margin of victory by the favored team. The favored team is always donated with a negative number. For instance, the Cubs may be -1.5 on a given night because they are expected to win by more than one run.

Moneyline – The odds strictly on the straight up outcome of the game that shows truly how favored one team is over another. The more negative a number, the greater the favorite the team is. If a team has a “+” in front of their moneyline odds, it denotes that they are the underdog. The greater the number, the heaving the underdog the team is.

Looking at these numbers daily can give you a nice gauge on a few different items. First and foremost, it will show you which games are projected to score the most runs on a daily basis. Choosing hitters from the highest scoring projected games typically dictates a solid cash game strategy. Using that same thought process, the over/under will also show you which games are most likely to be pitching duels (or poor hitting environments). Pitchers from those games also likely make for solid cash options. High probability plays are always a preferred in the cash game format because you just want to win more often than you lose and only need to finish in the top half. Game spreads will let you know how heavily favored a team is in a certain game. If the over/under in a game is 10 and one team is favored by 1.5 runs then you know Vegas believes they will be the team scoring more runs in a very high scoring game. Although the spread may give you an idea of how favored a team may be, the moneyline tells you the exact figure. If you do not know how to convert moneyline into probabilities, feel free to use this tool. Simply plug in the moneyline, say -150, and the converter will give you a win percentage (60 percent in this example). There is a big difference between a slight favorite of -110 and a gigantic favorite like -250.

This is all very useful information because it also helps you get a gauge on what route most other owners will be going. Highly owned pitchers of the night will likely be the big favorites and highly owned hitters from the night will likely come from the highest projected offenses. If you are looking to be a contrarian in tournaments, you know you will likely want to stay away from the largest over/unders and favorites of the night. Sometimes the key to winning tournaments is zigging when others zag. Vegas is very often incorrect. They do not always get the numbers right. Knowing who likely will be the “chalk” (or common) plays of the night will help you create your own advantages if you can find sneaky players to use instead.

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment below. I am more than happy to help walk you through the thought process of using Vegas to your advantage.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply