For those of you that followed my BvP baseball write-ups this past season, you might remember I have a baby on the way.

Back in the day, it seemed like her entry into this world seem so far away.

Well, that time is nearing, any day now actually.

We are at full term now, and while her due date, November 23, is less than two weeks away, my daughter could come at any moment. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, awesome, worrisome, and elation all mixed into one big, fat ball of feelings that remain stuck in the guttural depths of my lower stomach.

If you haven’t had a child yet, it is the strangest thing to think that one of these days, you are going to be a father, a dad and a parent.

I honestly have yet to really fathom that it’s going to happen to me. I don’t know how I am going to feel when I hold Baby Harper for the first time. I can imagine, but the feeling is nothing I can hope to mimic until that day comes.

I feel myself being more sensitive to movies or TV shows involving children being hurt or saddened…heck even books.

As you may know, the job that puts food on the table is teaching. This is my fourth year of being a special education teacher. I teach a few resource classes, including reading.

Each week we pick a story from storylineonline.net, a free site hosted by the Screen Actor’s Guild that uses actors and actresses as narrators. They read books with an animated adaptation accompanying the reading.

A couple of weeks ago I chose “Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream.” It’s read by Kevin Costner and a girl named Jillian Estell.

It’s a story about a girl who outplays the boys on the baseball field and keeps having her hopes dashed because she is a female.

We probably weren’t 1 minute into the book and I could feel the tears swell. I had to fight them off the entire story, which wasn’t even sad and had a happy ending.

But the thought of my daughter being told she couldn’t do something because of who she is just got me, and I haven’t even met her yet or know what she is capable of.

Like I said, becoming a father is a strange, yet awesome feeling. You slowly feel the changes in yourself and I can only imagine that crescendos into some type of overwhelming joy on the birthday of a child.

And I can’t wait.

I write the intro , not only because it’s what flowed and felt comfortable from my finger tips, but also to let those of you reading that when my daughter comes, my initial “Vegas” writeups after her birth might be shorter, might be condensed, but this series will continue in some form. If the quality sucks because I am strapped for time, I apologize in advance. I am uncertain of the time I will have the first couple of weeks, post baby.

Anyway, how about some football talk? Did you see Aqib Talib’s Ric Flair impersonation? Neither did Dwayne Allen because he was too busy having fingers jabbed into his sockets purposefully. Talib has been suspended one game for that move.

Also, the Broncos were eliminated from the ranks of the unbeaten…by the Colts! The same Denver team that held Aaron Rodgers to less than 80 yards passing the week before! I did not see that coming. Maybe a restart on offensive schemes is exactly what the Colts needed, plus Luck’s shoulder improving helped some.

Cincy, New England and Carolina are the only remaining teams without a loss.

OK, so let’s look at how Vegas did this past week. Remember the grading scale for Vegas can be found in the Week 1 right up ——-> here.

Also below you will have the usual data: Odds and Lines Records, Letter Grades, Preview into Week 10 with my buys and sells for DFS and team records, Vegas vs. Real Time.

Good luck in your fantasy efforts this week! Now, let’s get to it.

Week 9 Opening O/U Opening Spread Opening ML Closing O/U Closing Spread Closing ML Projected Score Final Score Grade
Miami at Buffalo 46 -3 – Mia -180 – Mia 44 -3.5 – Buf -200 – Buf 23.75 – 20.25 – Buf 33 – 17 – Buf 3 pts. – C
Washington at New England 52 -13 – NE -1429 – NE 51.5 -14 – NE -1600 – NE 32.75 – 18.75 – NE 27 – 10 – NE 3 pts. – C
Jacksonville at NY Jets 41 -7 NYJ -300 – NYJ 42 -7.5 – NYJ -360 – NYJ 24.75 – 17.25 – NYJ 28 – 23 – NYJ 4 pts. – B
Tennessee at New Orleans 48 -8.5 – NO -380 – NO 50 -6.5 – NO -310 – NO 28.25 – 21.75 – NO 34 – 28 – Ten 1 pt. – F
Oakland at Pittsburgh 47.5 -6 – Pit -250 – Pit 48 -6 – Pit -260 – Pit 27 – 21 – Pit 38 – 35 – Pit 5 pts. – B
St. Louis at Minnesota 40 -2.5 – Min -150 – Min 40 -1.5 – Min -115 – Min 20.75 – 19.25 – Min 21 – 18 – Min 4 pts. – B
Green Bay at Carolina 45.5 -3 – GB -128 – GB 46 -2.5 – GB -135 – GB 24.25 – 21.75 – GB 37 – 29 – Car 1 pt. – F
Atlanta at San Francisco 44.5 -3 – Atl -180 – Atl 43.5 -7.5 – Atl -450 – Atl 25.5 – 18 – Atl 17 – 16 – SF 0 pts. – F
NY Giants at Tampa Bay 47.5 -1 – NYG -145 – NYG 49 -2 – NYG -130 – NYG 25.5 – 23.5 – NYG 32 – 18 – NYG 5 pts. – B
Denver at Indianapolis 48 -3 – Den -155 – Den 45 -3 – Den -175 – Den 24 – 21 – Den 27 – 24 – Ind 0 pts. – F
Philadelphia at Dallas 45.5 -2.5 – Dal -150 – Phi 44 -3 – Phi -170 – Phi 23.5 – 20.5 – Phi 33 – 27 – Phi 2 pts. – D
Chicago at San Diego 52 -3.5 – SD -210 – SD 49.5 -3.5 – SD -200 – SD 26.5 – 23 – SD 22 – 19 – Chi 3 pts. – C

Well, Vegas didn’t have such a great outing this week. Only 4 Bs and the rest were clunkers. Three Cs isn’t bad, but I feel the Fs were really bad.

The Patriots had the highest total on the board, and as we’ve seen with our weekly record tracker below, these games typically don’t meet expectations much.

The Patriots had a stranglehold on the game from the start and LeGarrette Blount was used to eat the clock and wear down the defense, thus the scoring suffered.

I honestly don’t know how the Colts pulled that one off (Peyton Manning crashing back to Earth didn’t help, or was he already on Earth?). It’s obvious the Colts play up to their opponent as they have nearly knocked off two straight undefeated opponents.

Chicago and San Diego was another high total that didn’t live up to expectations. Injuries really hurt the upside in this game as it was without Matt Forte, Keenan Allen and right off the bat, Malcolm Floyd. So both teams had to rely on their running backs and tight ends (with the exception of Alshon Jeffery) to move the ball down the field. Dinking and dunking plus running effectively most certainly limited the points in this one.

My favorite upset of the week was not the 49ers over the Falcons (only Julio and Devonta can be counted upon), but the Titans over the Saints. I was bitter about Brees’ 7 touchdown performance, so I was very happy to see the Titans lay waste to that porous Rob Ryan defense and come away victorious after getting rid of their head coach earlier in the week. Marcus Mariota looks like the real deal though, so once they get a running game and a receiver that can stretch the field (Dorial Green-Beckham soon?), they could be a dangerous team for a long time.

My Cowboys let another game slip away without Tony Romo at the helm. Cassel easily had his best performance to date, but a costly returned interception for a TD ultimately deflated the Cowboys’ momentum and the Eagles, who I am not convinced are a good team at all with Bradford at QB, squeaked out a victory. Outside of the Pats game, the Cowboys should be atop the NFC East even with out its glorious leader. Dez’ return along with some solid rapport with Cassel could bode well this week for fantasy purposes as they take on that soft Tampa 2 defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Carolina and Green Bay game was wild. Aarod Rodgers nearly pulled off a miracle, but the Panthers hung on and they look to be a tough out the rest of the way. I imagine this is going to be a great week to fire up a pissed off Aaron Rodgers at home in Lambeau against the woeful Detroit Lions. I don’t know if you should play another QB in cash games this week, even Brady, who has a stellar matchup himself.

The rest of the games were not a surprise. Minnesota and St. Louis did exactly what we thought they would, run the ball, play defense, eat the clock. The Giants keep rolling, defeating the one-trick pony Tampa Bay Bucs, the Jets had a fine defensive outing against an upstart Jags team, which by the way has an interesting matchup against the Ravens, one of the worst pass defenses in the league. That analysis is coming later though. Oh, and Miami looked like Miami again thanks to the Bills and their running game.

Now on to the grades

Scale Week 8 Grades Total Grades
1 or less – F A – 0 A – 4
2 – D B – 4 B – 39
3 – C C – 3 C – 25
4-6 – B D – 1 D – 31
7-8 – A F – 4 F – 22

Like I mentioned, Vegas was not very good this week after a few solid weeks in a row. Those As continue to be nearly unattainable, but the Bs keep on coming with Cs not far behind. Now on to my favorite part of this write up each week – Buying and Selling. Check out the opening lines in the table below!

Jacksonville at Baltimore 50 -6.5 – Bal -280 – Bal
New Orleans at Washington 50 Even -125 – NO
Chicago at St. Louis 42.5 -9 – Stl -323 – Stl
Miami at Philadelphia 47 -5.5 – Mia -250 – Mia
Carolina at Tennessee 42.5 -6 – Car -180 – Car
Detroit at Green Bay 48 -11 – GB -752 – GB
Cleveland at Pittsburgh 41 -4.5 – Pit -219 – Pit
Dallas at Tampa Bay 43.5 -1 – Dal -125 – Dal
Minnesota at Oakland 44 -2.5 – Oak
Kansas City at Denver 42.5 -6.5 – Den -285 – Den
New England at NY Giants 54 -7 – NE -305 – NE
Arizona at Seattle 45 -2.5 – Sea -180 – Sea
Houston at Cincinnati 48 -13 – Cin -699 – Cin

BUYING

Blake Bortles – He comes with the turnover potential (10 INTs, 1 lost fumble so far), but the upside is certainly there against the Ravens, who ranked 31st in fantasy pass defense. In all but two games, the Ravens have surrendered at least 2 TD passes and averaging 301 passing yards per game. The two games they didn’t allow that? The Broncos with a fading Peyton Manning (and the Ravens still had Terrell Suggs), and against the Steelers with an already faded Michael Vick. The Allens Parsons Project (Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns) are two solid weapons who can stretch the field or make a catch in traffic. They clearly have a foundation of trust built with Bortles at QB. Julius Thomas is another weapon, and while the Ravens typically shut down opposing tight ends, having a player like Orange Julius allows Bortles to use the whole field to his advantage. This game features two 2-6 teams, but the DFS goodness is there.

Green Bay/Detroit O/U – Not much to say here. Packers are in a 2-game slump. Rodgers returns home. Oh, I failed to mention that Rodgers hunts the Lions’ secondary! He’s 10-2 against Detroit through 12 career games. In those games, Rodgers completed 68 percent of his passes for 2,947 yards and 22 TDs with just 5 INTs. He has a couple of rushing touchdowns just to mix it up a bit. This Lions team is awful and you know that. James Starks has been named the starting RB over Eddie Lacy, but do you think the Pack are going to make him a workhorse? Nope, me either.

Washington Redskins Point Projection – This one is tough to admit, but New Orleans has convinced me they really can’t stop anyone, not even Marcus Mariota and a slew of “just another guy” players at receiver. In 7 of 9 games, the Saints have allowed a 300-yard passer, 30+ fantasy points to receivers, and have allowed big games to athletic tight ends. Oh don’t forget running back, that has been a problem also. In their last three games, the Saints haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher or a TD. That was only because they were too busy giving up big plays in the passing game, so if it isn’t broke why “fix” it? The Redskins do have a playmaking running back in Matt Jones, but the RB situation isn’t superb. If Jones could better protect the football, he could rack up the carries in this one. All in all, the Saints like giving up points, and the Redskins should be on your radar with their projected point total in Vegas.

SELLING

Cowboys as favorites – What have the Cowboys done to earn favoritism? Darren McFadden and Dez Bryant were solid last week against Philly, but losing the game the way they did equals big potential let down in a road game that really doesn’t matter for the Cowboys as their season is likely over. They might just be playing for a top-1o draft pick in May. They aren’t going to give up and the division still isn’t out of reach, but Cassel starts this game, the turnover machine is going to give the Bucs ample opportunity to put this game away. If Romo plays (and he won’t), then I would think differently here. But he isn’t going to be rushed back in a losing season, so don’t believe the hype (the 1-point favorite line) here, what little there is of it.

Arizona/Seattle O/U – I am scratching my head thinking about how these two teams put up three touchdowns each. I know Carson and the Cards’ offense have been great. I know the Seattle defense hasn’t been THE Seattle defense of the past two years, but this game is in Seattle where the Seahawks are still nearly unbeatable. The Cardinals’ defense has been stiff and the Seahawks offense has been stale. Neither team is allowing above 20 points per game (19.1 for Arizona, 17.5 for Seattle), and neither front 7 will likely cede a lot of rushing yards (90 yards rushing allowed per game by Cards, 98 per game by Seattle). The Hawks’ don’t have a receiver outside of Jimmy Graham that can stretch the field and the Cardinals will likely key on him to make Russell Wilson beat you everywhere else. It’s not a situation I like and I am going to avoid it altogether outside of plugging in one or either of their defenses.

Houston/Cincinnati O/U – I might be stretching for this one as the Houston Texans’ defense has been the most disappointing and underwhelming unit of the year. That’s to be expected with Wade Phillips gone, he’s actually a damn good defensive coordinator (see Denver), just not a good head coach. It doesn’t help when your offense, named DeAndre Hopkins, is a one-trick pony without a true franchise QB. Cincinnati allows just 17.8 points per game and I envision this game getting out of hand early with the Bengals handing the ball off to Hill and Bernard to chew the clock. Much like the Redskins/Pats projection in Week 9, this game has the potential to start out thunderous, only to be slowed by the running game.

Week 9 Overall
O vs. U – 8-4 O vs. U – 63-55-2
Favorite vs. Underdog – 7-5 Favorite vs. Underdog – 76-41
Favorite Wins with <120 Money Line – 1-0 Favorite Wins with <120 Money Line – 5-0
Favorite Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 1-1 Favorite Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 7-7
Favorite Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 0-0 Favorite Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 13-5
Favorite Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 1-1 Favorite Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 10-8
Favorite Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 2-1 Favorite Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 24-10
Favorite Wins with 300+ Money Line – 2-2 Favorite Wins with 300+ Money Line – 21-7
Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 5-1 Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 40-20
Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 2-1 Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 16-22
Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 2-0 Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 12-3
High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Pts. – 3-2 High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Points – 13-16
Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 1-0 Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 6-8
Divisional Games O vs. U – 2-1 Divisional Games O vs. U – 23-13
Division O/U 50+ O vs. U – 0-0 Division O/U 50+ O vs. U – 6-5
Division O/U 42-49.5 O vs. U – 2-1 Division O/U 42-49.5 O vs. U – 15-7
Division O/U 41.5 or Less O vs. U – 0-0 Division O/U 41.5 or Less O vs. U – 2-1

Next we have our running total of the Vegas record book (see above). Last week we added some new data referring back to how divisional game O/Us pan out each week. We want to see if these are games you should fade or perhaps target heavily in DFS.

Our only divisional games fell in the 42-49.5 O/U range, and two out of the three hit the over, including the Cowboys and Eagles. For the year, games falling this range have hit the over double the times they have hit the under. Divisional games with high O/U projections are batting nearly .500 in the O vs. U department. Overall, my observation with divisional games is to bet these games are going to hit the over more than the under.

Another facet to our records table above happened two weeks ago when we added records for how often games with projected high scores and low scores actually fall below or over the O/U. So far, the data is quite surprising, especially for the projected high-scoring games. Many times these fall in the under category. Does that mean you should completely stay away from these games? Well, of course not, but it does tell me that deciding which games you believe will and will not meet the high values are most important. They obviously aren’t all going to hit every week, so that might be a good expectation to have.

Our usual look at money lines continues to be consistent. However, the -300+ moneylines took a hit this week as they went 2-for-4 while the “coin flip” MLs (-120 or less) are undefeated. The trent to continue to gravitate toward is definitely high MLs. They are ripe for DFS production. You could probably pair that data with spreads that begin and end with the same spread as those teams are 12-3 in that situation. That reads to me that Vegas and bettors were confident in the teams to win, so there was no need to make a shift in the data for any reason.

One more piece of business before we conclude and that’s the team records in the table below. The Ravens are the team Vegas likes the most each week, but they are the team that seems to flop on their read end, thus the 2-6 record. I could see this week against the Jags being another one of these instances.

While a few of these records are lopsided, I have a feeling most are going to even out by the time the season ends. I see it happening already and Vegas’ records and actual team records could be about even in the win-loss department. I blame this on the parity that continues to dominate the NFL season.

Team Vegas Records Through Week 9 Actual Records Through Week 9
Atlanta Falcons 6 – 3 6 – 3
Arizona Cardinals 8 – 0 (Bye) 6 – 2 (Bye)
Baltimore Ravens 6 – 2 (Bye) 2 – 6 (Bye)
Buffalo Bills 3 – 4 – 1 4 – 4
Carolina Panthers 6 – 2 8 – 0
Chicago Bears 0 – 8 3 – 5
Cincinnati Bengals 6 – 1 – 1 8 – 0
Cleveland Browns 2 – 7 2 – 7
Dallas Cowboys 2 – 6 2 – 6
Denver Broncos 6 – 2 7 – 1
Detroit Lions 2 – 6 (Bye) 1 – 7 (Bye)
Green Bay Packers 8 – 0 6 – 2
Houston Texans 4 – 4 (Bye) 3 – 5 (Bye)
Indianapolis Colts 6 – 3 4 – 5
Jacksonville Jaguars 0 – 8 2 – 6
Kansas City Chiefs 4 – 4 (Bye) 3 – 5 (Bye)
Miami Dolphins 4 – 4 4 – 4
Minnesota Vikings 6 – 2 6 – 2
New England Patriots 8 – 0 8 – 0
New Orleans Saints 4 – 5 4 – 5
New York Giants 5 – 4 5 – 4
New York Jets 6 – 2 5 – 3
Oakland Raiders 1 – 7 4 – 3
Philadelphia Eagles 6 – 2 4 – 4
Pittsburgh Steelers 2 – 6 – 1 6 – 3
San Diego Chargers 5 – 4 2 – 7
San Francisco 49ers 1 – 8 3 – 6
Seattle Seahawks 6 – 2 (Bye) 4 – 4 (Bye)
St. Louis Rams 5 – 3 5 – 3
Tampa Bay Buccanneers 2 – 6 3 – 5
Tennessee Titans 2 – 5 – 1 2 – 6
Washington Redskins 1 – 7 3 – 5
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