The Dawg Pound: Macro-managing World Cup DFS (Part 1)

First off hat tip to BRich for his post today about roster construction. I think he makes a LOT of good points. I agree with so many of his general ideas that I had to change my notes for this post. I’ll be expounding on my roster construction ideas as we get closer to kickoff, but I concur with a lot of the basic tenets he brings up.

In this blog I’m going to share a few very general ideas about what might affect our World Cup DFS experience.

On Vegas and Variance.

Vegas, baby, Vegas. Or more specifically, European bookmakers. BRich touches on this idea, but just to reinforce it: sportsbooks’ lines will be just as strong of an indicator for World Cup DFS as they will be for many of the other sports. We are going to want to target players on the big favorites (“big” being a relative term, as spreads are almost always between pick’em and -1.5 goals. -1.5 being a SIGNIFICANT favorite). Big spreads will generally be the case for the overall tourney-favorite teams versus the minnows/underdogs, which is why those favored teams will be our targets.

Over/under lines for these matches are generally going to be 2 or 2.5. There may be a very rare occurrence of a 3 if one of the top teams plays Iran or South Korea, but it’s unlikely. If we see a 2.5 line (-120) or higher, that’s an indication that the book thinks the game will be high scoring. (Again, this is all relative – 3 goals is high scoring in World Cup soccer.) We should definitely be considering attacking players in these games, and avoiding the defensive players, unless it’s a big favorite/minnow matchup, in which case the favorite’s defenders are in play as well (since the book doesn’t expect those underdogs to score).

I also have to mention that I think variance will be VERY high in soccer DFS. (Sorry if that’s super obvious to anyone!) Small game slates and low scoring games will lead to high variance. I anticipate that it will be as high a variance game as MLB, if not higher. Sportsbooks can be wrong often, and there will be plenty of upsets and surprises, so once you’ve researched and determined the process you’ll be using, stick to it!

On “parking the bus” and World Cup scores.

World Cup soccer tends to be low scoring. When favorites play each other (we’ll likely get a good preview of this the 2nd day of the competition with Spain and Netherlands), neither team generally plays too much on the offensive, at least early on, for fear of being left open to the counter attack (like a fast break in basketball, for any newbies out there). Draws are not necessarily a bad thing for these teams in the group stages, and 0-0 or 1-1 endings are often considered a better result than taking chances and losing valuable points in the table. These are not necessarily games we will be targeting.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there will be matches with big spreads where the big underdogs play a VERY defensive game, in hopes of sneaking a 0-0 draw or 1-0 upset win. This style of play has earned the nickname “parking the bus” as it seems that a bus is parked in front of goal when a team has 9 or 10 of their outfield players behind the ball when they don’t have possession. This might throw a wrench into some of our plans with attackers, but with points for shots AND shots on goal, I believe it will still be worth it to target players from these favorites.

Fun facts!

In the 2010 World Cup group stage, 19 matches finished with 1 total goal or fewer. There were 8 matches with 4 or more goals scored. I’m not exactly sure what I’m trying to prove with those stats; I’m mostly just throwing them out there. But it lends itself to the fact that the group stages are generally LOOOOOW scoring.

On deck for my next blog post:

More on playing the matchups,

How the table/standing will affect our choices,

Monitoring position eligibility! (Spoiler alert – Andres Guardado is listed as a defender on Draftstreet, but will be playing in an attacking midfield (might even be a winger, I’ll have to watch/check) in Mexico’s friendly on Friday against Portugal. While Mexico’s lineup has not been finalized, this is the kind of positional edge we’ll be looking for! (PS- he’s also CHEAP!))

Until next time grinders! – PD

About the Author



    Great article. I look forward to your next blog. Thank You

  • hambazaza

    RG Blog Program Manager, 2014 RG Party Beer Pong Champion

    • Blogger of the Month

    • Beer Pong Champion

    good info here, I’m working on my group C preview now and colombia looks like a team that will be fun to roster from.

  • pdidawg82

    SC World Cup Bracket Champion

    • Blogger of the Month

    Agree about Colombia. No Falcao actually means a lot of entertaining possibilities for their offense. Rodriguez, Cuadrado, Martinez, Ibarbo, Quintero, Ramos, and Bacca are all really talented. And most of them are more multi-dimensional than Falcao, so they should all be involved.

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