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.
Mark Herberholz
Head of Product Development
OwnThePlay

Coming up Next Week: The Life Cycle of a Vegas Line – When is it accurate?

About the Author

  • realdeals

    Thanks for the article. “When one line has 100x more volume than the other you can be pretty damned sure that the 100x line is pretty rock solid.”
    Maybe I’m not understanding what you’re saying, but to me if a side has 100x more action than the other that’s telling me the sharps see a discrepancy in the line, not that’s it rock solid. Books don’t want any side w/ 100x more volume than the other side.

    A huge thing for GPPs is if you can forecast and stack the low team total and it blows over (like Philly scoring 12 runs y’day and chisox w/ 8) Low team run players are always low % owned in GPPs. Def wouldn’t do this in cash and you will def lose more often than not in GPPs, but when it goes way over like Philly you cash huge. The 9 and 10 run totals are always up there in %s and rightfully so.

    Good stuff, thanks.

  • dpadilla

    Really stupid question, but if the over/under is 9, I bet the over and the game finishes 6-3, what happens?

  • ranoa513

    You used a baseball example for player props. Do you think player props for football are more accurate, relatively speaking?

  • herberh2

    @realdeals said...

    Thanks for the article. “When one line has 100x more volume than the other you can be pretty damned sure that the 100x line is pretty rock solid.”
    Maybe I’m not understanding what you’re saying, but to me if a side has 100x more action than the other that’s telling me the sharps see a discrepancy in the line, not that’s it rock solid. Books don’t want any side w/ 100x more volume than the other side.

    A huge thing for GPPs is if you can forecast and stack the low team total and it blows over (like Philly scoring 12 runs y’day and chisox w/ 8) Low team run players are always low % owned in GPPs. Def wouldn’t do this in cash and you will def lose more often than not in GPPs, but when it goes way over like Philly you cash huge. The 9 and 10 run totals are always up there in %s and rightfully so.

    Good stuff, thanks.

    I meant 100x more volume on the line (both sides). Basically with every bet that comes in the line gets nudged and shaped. The more bets, the closer you get to finding the sweet spot with action on both sides.

    A MLB spread will ALWAYS get two sided action, there are too many sharps (smart guys) out there who will take a side once there is value. For a prop, which I actually dealt MLB player props for a season, you get one sided action like 25% of the time. So a Miguel Cabrera total bases prop could get 3 bets on the over and never get an under bet because there just arent that many people looking at these lines.

  • herberh2

    @dpadilla said...

    Really stupid question, but if the over/under is 9, I bet the over and the game finishes 6-3, what happens?

    Its a push. If you bet $50, you get your $50 back, they do not take a “vig” or “rake” off of it, you get the total bet amount refunded to you.

  • herberh2

    @ranoa513 said...

    You used a baseball example for player props. Do you think player props for football are more accurate, relatively speaking?

    Yes and no. Football props will get more action so they will be more accurate, but they will still pale in comparison to the accuracy of a football team total.

  • realdeals

    @herberh2 said...

    I meant 100x more volume on the line (both sides). Basically with every bet that comes in the line gets nudged and shaped. The more bets, the closer you get to finding the sweet spot with action on both sides.

    A MLB spread will ALWAYS get two sided action, there are too many sharps (smart guys) out there who will take a side once there is value. For a prop, which I actually dealt MLB player props for a season, you get one sided action like 25% of the time. So a Miguel Cabrera total bases prop could get 3 bets on the over and never get an under bet because there just arent that many people looking at these lines.

    Thanks, makes sense. I think using vegas lines/props are really good for people who don’t know the sport that well or have the time to research. When you research every day and know the pitchers and opposing Os and the ballpark factors you can pretty much nail what vegas is going to have as the total. I’d suspect every game total is going to go over or under roughly 47-53% of the time. In other words, those 9 game run totals will go under between 47-53% of the time. Same with overs on 7 run game totals. If it was > 55% betters would just bet the over (or under) every game and cash. I know the 3 major sports rather well, but that’s it. When I toss in entries for PGA which I know nothing about I look at the odds and try to field competitive squads.

  • CrazyGabey

    Look at Mark, just hanging out, kicking ass.

  • RamonScottSports

    Mark,

    What do you think of Rainbow as a live oddsmaker? He was always very high on his own ability to make live book.

  • herberh2

    I don’t know who Rainbow is. I only know players by their pinny name or actual name.

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