Sunday, Feb 12th — Late
Bye Week:
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Bears
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Bills
Broncos
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Buccaneers
Cardinals
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Colts
Commanders
Cowboys
Dolphins
Falcons
Giants
Jaguars
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Titans
Vikings

Breaking Down Week 1 Line Movement

One of the key elements that daily fantasy football players should be looking toward each week is the Vegas odds (which, of course, is why we have live team totals on the site that update automatically every few hours). But while the majority of DFSers know that they should be looking at the odds, far fewer understand just how valuable line movement can be.

Depending on the situation, line movement may be driven by any of a variety of factors, but the root of all these factors is simple: the line moves where the money goes. And most of the money that moves the needle is coming from sharp bettors.

To put that another way: by watching the movement of the lines, we can gauge the sentiments of the sharps, allowing us to supplement our own knowledge and research with theirs.

Because I was able to post the Week 1 edition of the NFL Edge a week and a half before the Main Slate, we now have an opportunity to look at this week’s line movements, and to examine how these movements should impact our thought process.

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Falcons // Eagles

When The NFL Edge was posted:

Falcons 21.25

Eagles 24.25

Thursday, September 6:

Falcons 21.75

Eagles 22.75

What this means for us:

Between the confirmation that Nick Foles would start this game and the confirmation that Alshon Jeffrey would miss, the Eagles have been bet down a full point and a half in the last week. This is unsurprising, especially given that each team — as discussed in the Falcons // Eagles writeup — presents numerous elements that make this a difficult matchup for the other. We should expect the original sentiments in the NFL Edge to hold true, as the line has moved in the direction we would have anticipated.

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Bills // Ravens

When The NFL Edge was posted:

Bills 17

Ravens 24

Thursday, September 6:

Bills 16.5

Ravens 24

What this means for us:

The Bills’ total has dropped a half-point while the Ravens have held steady, backing up everything we talked about when the NFL Edge was posted. This remains one of the top DST spots on the slate, and it creates a strong “home favorite” spot for Alex Collins.

 

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Texans // Patriots

When The NFL Edge was posted:

Texans 22.25

Patriots 28.75

Thursday, September 6:

Texans 22.5

Patriots 28.5

What this means for us:

Given everything we know about this matchup, this line movement shouldn’t stand out to us in any way, with the needle moving so slightly on both teams. It won’t be surprising to see this game bounce around in this range, with the Patriots hovering between 6.0 and 6.5 point favorites.

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When The NFL Edge was posted:

49ers 20

Vikings 26

Thursday, September 6:

49ers 19.75

Vikings 26.25

What this means for us:

This is another game with minimal movement, but between the loss of Jerick McKinnon and the difficult matchup, the line has moved in the direction we would have expected. We said in the NFL Edge that we shouldn’t expect the 49ers to crack their original Vegas-implied total of 20.0; this movements gives a small nod to things we already know.

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When The NFL Edge was posted:

Titans 23

Dolphins 22

Thursday, September 6:

Titans 23.25

Dolphins 21.75

What this means for us:

As with the game directly above, the line in this spot flexed out a quarter of a point in either direction, as the bettors are forced to choose between the home team and the better team. The Titans might climb up to 2.0 point favorites by Sunday, but they shouldn’t go any higher than that, and movement in the range between 1.0 favorites and 2.0 favorites doesn’t change anything we were already factoring into this matchup.

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When The NFL Edge was posted:

Bengals 22

Colts 25

Thursday, September 6:

Bengals 23

Colts 25.5

What this means for us:

This was the game whose movement really caught my eye. In our Bengals // Colts exploration, we highlighted this as a spot that was much better for offense than the line suggested, saying we could probably use this spot in tourneys to gain an edge on the sizable chunk of the field that relies too heavily on Vegas lines. Naturally, the Bengals’ total has climbed a whole point, while the Colts have even received a boost to go with it.

 

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When The NFL Edge was posted:

Steelers 26

Browns 20.5

Thursday, September 6:

Steelers 24.25

Browns 20.25

What this means for us:

There are numerous factors in play here: division opponents; road favorite; Pittsburgh’s historically stark home/road splits; but the biggest shift in this matchup is the fact that all-world running back Le’Veon Bell appears set to miss this contest. James Conner has looked awesome in preseason, but no one else is Le’Veon Bell.

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When The NFL Edge was posted:

Chiefs 22.25

Chargers 25.25

Thursday, September 6:

Chiefs 22.25

Chargers 25.75

What this means for us:

Well…no surprises here; but people don’t need the NFL Edge to know that the Chiefs’ defense is entering the season with a reputation as a unit to attack. One glance at this week’s ownership projections will tell you that.

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When The NFL Edge was posted:

Seahawks 19.5

Broncos 22.5

Thursday, September 6:

Seahawks 20

Broncos 23

What this means for us:

As we made our way through this game breakdown in the NFL Edge, we saw that there was more to like in this game than the initial line and the reputations of these two teams suggested. There are at least a couple players in this game worth liking quite a bit in tourneys, and one play that stood out to us for cash games as well, so it should come as no surprise that each team has seen their total rise since the NFL Edge was posted a week ago.

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When The NFL Edge was posted:

Cowboys 20

Panthers 22.5

Thursday, September 6:

Cowboys 20

Panthers 23

What this means for us:

Three points is a key number in line movement, so the Panthers pushing against 2.5 to hit this number tells us a little more than a half-point movement would tell us in other spots. Even if the Panthers don’t stick as three point favorites, it’s instructive to note that they were able to hit that mark. Now if they break three, that will really be something to pay attention to — signaling strong money coming in on what we can essentially call, for DFS purposes, the Panthers’ offense.

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When The NFL Edge was posted:

Redskins 22

Cardinals 22

Thursday, September 6:

Redskins 21.25

Cardinals 22.75

What this means for us:

This is the only line movement we didn’t really catch beforehand in the NFL Edge, as the Redskins appear to enter this game with the better all-around team. But with the Cardinals boasting a stout defense and playing at home, and with David Johnson matching up so well against Washington (hint, hint), this line has swung heavily in Arizona’s favor. We should keep this in mind when considering overlooked spots on the slate, as the Cardinals’ offense is trending in the right direction this week.

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If you are looking to dig deeper into the strategies and nuances of DFS play, I encourage you to dig head over to the Daily Fantasy Football Resources & Glossary