Punch Drunk Wonderland

Using Betting Odds to Win at Fantasy Sports

fantasy sports betting

Fantasy sports, in my opinion, is far more fun than sports betting. I have done plenty of both, and while I think the edge is higher in sports betting in many cases, there is nothing more thrilling than drafting a team, whether that be daily fantasy sports or yearly leagues, and rooting for you guys every Sunday.

For the past few years, betting odds have become the source of most fantasy predictions. No longer are talking heads on ESPN or other sites the “authority” when it comes to predicting the outcome or scores of games. For the most accurate predictions, people rely on betting odds. At least, it seems that way.

The Opening Line

A significant portion of bettors look at the opening odds on games and draw a lot of conclusions from those numbers. Of course, that is, better than not looking at the odds at all, but is just the first step in the process of analyzing betting odds.

Looking at opening and closing odds, and moves on key numbers are far more critical than glancing at early betting markets. Many openers don’t have much regarding betting limits and those who bet sports know that betting limits rise throughout the week as numbers get sharper.

Key Numbers

Too many sports bettors and DFS players alike equate points regardless of the spread to have the same value. Injuries are typically overvalued by bettors, at least when it comes to skill players, but the entire concept of a player being worth “x number of points” is ridiculous.

A point at -3.5 is worth a lot more than -11.5. One moves the line to -2.5 and the other moves it 10.5. 11.5 to 10.5 doesn’t move the needle much, but when a spread crosses the 3, it’s vital to take notice. The same goes for the 7. 7.5 to 6.5 is a huge move.

This is especially important in the case of reverse line movement. Which is when most of the tickets (60% or higher) are being placed on one side or total, and the line or odds are moving in the other direction.

For instance, if the Patriots are playing the Bills and are favored by -3.5, but the line moves to -2.5 by the end of the week – that’s a significant move. It’s an upgrade to the Bills, in one way or another. That doesn’t automatically translate into fantasy points in your yearly fantasy teams or daily fantasy lineups for Bills players, but it’s certainly an upgrade for them and a downgrade for the Patriots.


Totals rising in a game is directly related to fantasy production. If a game has a higher total, more points will be scored, that means more yards, catches, and most importantly, touchdowns for fantasy. Viewing line histories is simple. Keep note of the difference in the total at the beginning of the week and the end of the week.

If a game total rises several points or drops several points from the opening line – this worth considering when deciding to put him into your lineup. Merely looking at the number of points at the beginning of the week projected in the game by the oddsmakers is borderline useless. Sure, it’s better than not looking at the betting odds at all, but you won’t see any effect of sharp on NFL totals, which again, is essential to identifying fantasy points.

Fantasy Prices Don’t Change

This is mostly written for daily fantasy players, those playing DFS at DraftKings, FanDuel, and other sites, but can also be used for season-long or yearly fantasy leagues. The most significant difference between sports betting and daily fantasy is that the prices don’t change. DFS prices and yearly rosters are static, and sports betting is a continually evolving market.

In many ways, this makes daily fantasy sports better than sports betting, because a market move can’t make a profitable bet into a breakeven or a -EV wager. For instance, if the odds move from +3.5 to +2.5 on an underdog, you’ve lost a lot of value not taking the +3.5. If you missed out, that number is gone.

However, that’s the case when it comes to DFS. The prices are released earlier in the week and do not change. Therefore, using betting odds to make decisions on DFS lineups or season-long rosters is vital if you want to have an edge on your opponents.

If you notice a significant edge the odds, especially through critical numbers such as 3 and 7, take note of that when building your rosters. If you see a total rise several points or drop several points, that’s something to consider when targeting players in those games.

Betting odds aren’t the be all, end all of daily fantasy sports strategies. There are other factors, such as individual matchups, but analyzing betting odds are one area where your opponents fail to utilize entirely or don’t consider at all.

Understanding them thoroughly when it comes to NFL fantasy sports, especially DFS, will give you a substantial edge.

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