What MLB Vegas Line is important for DFS?
A brief intro for my first post. I worked for Pinnaclesports.com for 3 years doing live North American Sports. So everytime you watched a NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, NCAAB, NCAAF game and there was a TV commercial, I would post a line for people to bet on. Pinnacle is viewed as the top online sports book in the industry with the most accurate lines, I learned a lot there and through these posts am hoping to pass on that knowledge.
Daily Fantasy Sports and Vegas Lines. How do they connect with DFS? What ones are important to watch?
First what are the numbers in a line. When you see the Dodgers are -200, that means you have to bet $200 to win $100 on the Dodgers. When a baseball Total (over/under) is 9.5, -110 over, -110 under, that means that you have to bet $110 on the under to win $100 and you win if the total runs in the game is 9 or less.
The main lines that people look at are:
Spread/Moneyline – in Vegas these are referred to as “sides”, because when you pick one you are picking a side. The sides typically tell you how likely a team is to win and by how much. The best use of this is for figuring out which Pitchers will get a Win. Large spreads or moneylines in other sports are important, like football and basketball. These can help you predict which games will be a blowout and if the starters are in danger of being benched for the end of games.
Totals (Over/Under) – Totals are the total amount of points, goals, or runs scored in a game. Totals are a solid place to get a good judge of the scoring of a game, but there is a better stat for this which I will get is next.
Team Totals (Over/Under) – Team Totals are a derivative of the Game Total. That means that some math genius figured out that if a baseball total is 9 and a team is a -200 favorite, their Team Total is always 5.25 runs. Those numbers are examples, but you get the idea.They are used to bet on one teams specific scoring. Since the DFS player is more interested in finding out which TEAM is high scoring on a given night, rather than which GAME, Team Totals are the most accurate piece of information for that.
Player Props (Home Run props, total bases, etc.) – On paper these seem like the best possible line for a DFS player. However they are a bit of red herring. They are the most informative line on individual player performance in Vegas, but they have a tiny fraction of the action on them that the other lines have. For example a total bases prop could have $5,000 in total action on it, where a Total and Team Total (we combine them because one is a derivative of the other) could have $500,000 in total action. When one line has 100x more volume than the other you can be pretty damned sure that the 100x line is pretty rock solid.
So to sum it up, while Team Totals don’t directly tell you about a players performance, the lines are much more accurate and I give them more weight. I still factor in Player Props, just not as much. Whether you are eyeballing the stats or have a math model, Team Totals should weigh in heavily to your decision, and Player Props should be used as more of a tiebreaker.
Thanks for reading.
Head of Product Development
Coming up Next Week: The Life Cycle of a Vegas Line – When is it accurate?