For the 2017 NFL regular season, Ben Gretch of RotoViz contributed his Deconstructing the Vegas Betting Lines piece to FantasyLabs. In this piece I apply his methodology to the Divisional Round Vegas lines.
To get a sense of how NFL teams might score their points this weekend, I’ve looked at the year-to-date ‘market share’ of offensive and defensive production for each team’s passing, rushing, and kicking attacks. For instance, this year the Patriots have scored 42.8, 21.0, and 34.1 percent of their points through the passing, rushing, and kicking games, and they’ve allowed 49.3, 12.2, and 32.4 percent of the points scored against them to come via the pass, run, and kick. (For this exercise I’m setting aside defensive scores, which are largely random.)
Once we know the proportional production tendencies of offenses and defenses, we can apply those rates to the Vegas lines to create market-based and phase-specific point projections.
For the people who want all of the separate point projections for each team in one table, here it is.
For the people who also want phase-specific market share data (“Pass MS%,” “Rush MS%,” and “Kick MS%”), I’ve averaged the offensive and defensive production ratios for each matchup and provided those in the three tables below.
Passing Point Projections
This is an absolute #SmashSpot for the Patriots, and quarterback Tom Brady will likely be popular in guaranteed prize pools. The Pats are implied for a slate-high 30.25 points at home, and they have an ideal matchup: Their offense and the Titans defense are top-three in passing market share — the Pats score via the air, which is where the Titans allow the most points. Per Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), the Pats offense is first in passing, and the Titans have a funnel defense, ranking seventh against the run but 24th against the pass. In comparison to their peers Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowksi are expensive — especially Gronk, who is the identity of the Pats offense — but wide receiver Brandin Cooks is more reasonably priced and makes for a viable stacking option. Facing the only team left in the playoffs with a negative points differential, the Pats are 9-1 against the spread over the past 10 games and coming off a bye week in which ESPN’s Seth Wickersham gave them some extra motivation.
Rushing Point Projections
The Saints handily lead the league with 25 touchdowns rushing, and the Vikings defense has the slate’s second-highest rushing market share. Although the Saints — led by Pro-Bowl running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara — were held to just 41 yards rushing in their 31-26 Wild Card victory over the Panthers, they still scored twice on the ground. The Vikings defense is no pushover, ranking second in overall DVOA and fifth against the run, but even if they struggle Ingram and Kamara have the potential to salvage their performances with touchdowns. Given that Ingram leads the team with 12 rushing scores and is the cheaper of the New Orleans backs, he’s a potential pivot play on Kamara in GPPs.
Kicking Point Projections
You might not want to pay up for kicker Stephen Gostkowski on FanDuel, but keep an eye on his player prop. I’d be somewhat surprised if GOATskowski’s over/under for points scored were higher than 10.0. For that matter, keep an eye on all the kicker props this weekend. While we don’t highlight kickers in our Player Props Dashboard, the projections in this table — when properly adjusted for any line movement — will likely provide you with actionable guidance on which way to lean. And this should go without saying but be sure to check the weather in our Models before making any bets. There are exceptions, but kickers tend to be weather-dependent producers.
Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.
Photo Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports