DFS and Vegas Odds: Using Betting Lines to Inform Your Picks

Odds aren't just for sports betting. Even as a DFS player, these odds can be extremely helpful when creating your DFS lineup.

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: May 17, 2024
DFS and Vegas Odds: Using Betting Lines to Inform Your Picks

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that DFS has become an increasingly popular way for fanatics to engage with sports. By assembling a fantasy team based on real-life player performances, participants can win money based on how well their picks perform compared to others’ lineups.

However, success in DFS isn't just about picking the most popular players or relying on gut feelings. To gain an edge, you need to leverage every bit of data you can get your hands on, and that means even using betting lines and bookmaker odds to slap together the best lineup in the league.

Here’s how you can use these odds to enhance your DFS lineup.

Understanding Implied Probabilities

At the heart of sports betting odds is the concept of implied probability.

Essentially, betting odds represent the bookmaker's estimate of the likelihood of a particular outcome. Of course, these odds will fluctuate over time given the sentiment of sports bettors as well.

When you convert these odds into implied probabilities, you get a clearer picture of the expected chances of a player or team performing at a certain level.

For example, if a player has odds of -150 to score over 20 points in a prop bet, the implied probability is about 60%. This means the sportsbook believes there’s a 60% chance that the player will score over 20 points.

Knowing this can help you better understand the risks and rewards of including that player in your DFS lineup. Think of it as a fact check on the DFS platform’s ability to accurately project the points.

A higher implied probability generally means it's a safer pick, while a lower implied probability might indicate a riskier but potentially higher-reward option.

Identifying Mispriced Players

One of the key strategies in DFS is finding value – players who are likely to perform better than their price or ownership percentage suggests.

Value is what we, as DFS players, are always on the prowl for. More value = better.

Sportsbooks set odds to balance betting action on both sides of a bet, but these odds can sometimes be at odds with your own research or projections. It’s somewhat rare, but it happens, and when you spot it, it’s pretty obvious.

If your analysis suggests a player has a higher probability of performing well than the betting odds indicate, that player might be undervalued in DFS contests.

Despite this, the opposite is sometimes true as well. If the betting odds imply a lower probability of success than your projections, the player might be overvalued.

By identifying these discrepancies, you can find mispriced players who offer better value for your DFS lineup.

Leveraging Sharp Money Indicators

Sharp money, or the money bet by professional bettors, can provide valuable insights that you might not otherwise take note of. 

Sportsbooks pay close attention to where the sharp money is going because it often signals more accurate predictions.

Significant line movements caused by sharp money can indicate which team or player the professionals believe will exceed or fall short of expectations. 

For instance, if a prop bet on a player’s points scored shifts significantly due to sharp action, it could suggest that the player is more likely to exceed or fall short of their expected performance.

Identifying where these sharp bettors are can be difficult, but with a good eye, you can notice them. Generally, when a line moves in the opposite direction of where most bets are placed, you can be sure it’s a sharp bettor moving the line the other way. Another way to spot it is if the total amount wagered on a team far exceeds the total bets. For example, if a team or player prop is getting 30% of the total bets placed but 60% of the total amount wagered, that means there’s a sharp bet in there somewhere.

This information can be incredibly useful for your DFS decisions, allowing you to adjust your lineup based on where the sharp money is flowing. If the sharp bettors are in on it, it will generally be good for your DFS lineup. 

Incorporating Player Props

We’ve mentioned these a few times, but that’s because they’re very important when leveraging odds.

Player prop bets are wagers on individual player statistics, such as points, rebounds, or yards. These will differ based on what sport the athlete plays. These bets can offer specific insights into expected player performance, making them a valuable tool for DFS.

By analyzing the odds and implied probabilities of various player props, you can gain a better understanding of a player’s expected performance.

For example, if the over/under on Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche total points is set high with favorable odds, it indicates the sportsbook expects he’s going to have strong performance.

Incorporating this data into your DFS research can help you make more informed decisions about which players to include in your lineup.

Balancing Betting Odds with Other Data

While betting odds can provide valuable insights, they shouldn’t be the only factor in your DFS decision-making process.

It’s important to balance this information with other data, such as recent player performance, matchups, injuries, and any other tidbits of data you can find on the player.

For example, a player might have favorable betting odds, but if they’re facing a top defense or have a nagging injury, their performance might not live up to expectations. The odds might yet reflect this, so take the odds with a grain of salt. They may move over time as more bettors place their wagers.

Combining betting odds with other forms of research allows for a more comprehensive approach to building your DFS lineup. You never want to rely on a single indicator for your draft picks.

Make Your Picks Using the Latest Odds

Leveraging Vegas odds and betting lines can give your DFS strategy a serious boost.

By understanding implied probabilities, identifying mispriced players, and incorporating insights from sharp money and player props, you can make more informed decisions.

Remember, while betting odds are a valuable tool, they should complement rather than replace other forms of analysis. Combining these insights with your own research will give you the best chance of crushing your opponents in your DFS contests and walking away with a fat stack of cash.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Head of DFS

Matt's deep-rooted enthusiasm for sports betting and daily fantasy sports infuses the EatWatchDraft team with valuable expertise in football, hockey, and baseball. His forward-thinking perspectives are grounded in a solid academic foundation, including a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and an M.S. in Project Management. This combination of sports passion and technical knowledge fuels Matt's innovative input to the platform.