Using Vegas Data in Daily Fantasy Baseball can give you a huge edge
How you develop your process is up to you but the one place everyone should start is Vegas. It’s true when they say that Vegas wasn’t built on winners.
Luckily for us we don’t have to take Vegas head on in Daily Fantasy Sports. Instead, we can utilize the power of Vegas to dominate our daily fantasy baseball leagues. Vegas is scary good when setting and dictating line movement and predicting baseball over the long run.
By setting accurate lines they’ve built a wonderland in what would otherwise be a desert wasteland.
Using Vegas lines is part of trusting the process. Vegas may be off every once in a while just like we may lose a couple days in a row. They are still scary accurate over the long run and have some of the smartest people in the world analyzing data so they can turn a profit.
Projected Run Total
In Jonathan Bales book, Fantasy Baseball For Smart People, he shines a light on how accurate Vegas can truly be.
“Games projected at 10.5 runs have witnessed around 33% more fantasy points than those projected at eight runs”-Jonathan Bales
This works the other way as well. Low-scoring games have historically had fewer runs to go around and sets up for a solid pitching choice.
Because of how accurate the run total is via Vegas, starting your research with this number can set the tone for your daily routine. There will be variance from day to day but this is strong evidence that if you side with Vegas when constructing your lineups you will profit over the long run.
Different ballparks set up for more offense than others. Some are hitters parks while others are more suited for pitching. This can determine your batter or pitcher choices on any given night. It can increase a player’s upside or lower his floor. It can help you determine your must plays and your daily fades.
The most famous example of a ballpark increasing offensive output is Coors Field. The thin Rocky Mountain air carries the ball further than if it was at AT&T Park in San Francisco. We will go over weather factors in another article but one of the most telling statistics is from Fantasy Baseball For Smart People by Jonathan Bales:
“In 2014, the Rockies led to the most GPP tournament victories at 5.4 percent”-Jonathan Bales
When teams go to Coors field it’s party time! Looking at ESPN’s 2015 Park Factors the top 10 most hitter-friendly parks are as follows:
- Coors Field
- Progressive Field
Boston Red Socks
Arizona Diamond Backs
New York Yankees
The data goes back to 2001 and I encourage you to go play around with it a bit just to drive home my point. If you don’t have the time to do so here is the most interesting stats to take away.
- Coors Field was the most hitter friendly park nine times out of the last 15 years
- Coors Field was the second most hitter friendly park four times out of the last 15 years
- Coors Field was the third most hitter friendly park two out of the last 15 years
- Coors Field was out of the top three most hitter friendly parks once in the last 15 years ending up in 5th place in 2003
If it sounds redundant that I would basically write out the same thing four times in four different ways, it’s not. it’s only meant to drill in that you need to take Coors Field into account every time they are on the schedule. Whether it’s good or bad doesn’t matter. It’s a reality you have to deal with in daily fantasy baseball. I’ve seen people complain on Twitter that there should be leagues with and without Coors Field in them every time there is a game there.
I personally think that is a ridiculous thing to say and hope that daily fantasy websites never do this. Coors field is a wild card on any given night and is an excellent source of value plays. It can turn a cheap, average, lower owned player into a difference maker. It can be a nightmare for an ace pitcher and raise the upside of the best hitters in the league! There are multiple different angles you can take when Coors Field is on the schedule and it’s something we will discuss at length in other articles.
Ballpark factors are weaved into Vegas lines but it’s worth taking the time to dissect them so you better understand what goes into it.
The top 10 parks that were the least hitter friendly in 2015 and are the best to target for pitchers are
- AT&T Park
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Angels
New York Mets
Chicago White Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego PadresOther things that can effect the run totals are wind blowing out or temperature. The higher the temperature the further the ball will travel.
Player Prop Bets
Every night Vegas has prop bets for certain players such as over/under on RBIs, hits, home runs and base stealing. Batter splits, pitcher, and the ballpark are all taken into account.
There are three main player prop bets you can take into account with your decision making.
- Batter Prop Bets for Home Runs
- Batter Props for runs, hits and RBIs
- Pitcher Prop Bets for Total strikeouts
Player Prop Bets For Home Runs
Batter Props for runs, hits, and RBIs: Target guys with 2.5 over/under and low money lines. It’s just the expected total of runs, hits and runs batted in.
Pitcher Prop bets for total strikeouts: Three props to look at are high strikeout prop bet line, team is heavily favored in Vegas Odds, Over/Under line set for game is low. This sets up for an excellent pitcher selection.
Vegas Line Movement
Vegas line movement is important to monitor just in case anything major happens. Vegas moves the lines so they don’t lose money. This could be a lineup or pitcher change. The line also changes if a large sum of money comes in on another side which forces Vegas to make adjustments to equal out their action.
Keep in mind that lines move due to betting action. What is considered “Sharp Money” can shift the line in favor of the big time sports bettors? So if you suddenly see the line move in favor of another team you can be sure that big time sports bettors see something in the game which would force them to bet the other side. This can be a powerful cue as to whether or not you should target players from that game.
During Super Bowl 50 the Carolina Panthers were favored all week by as many as -6 points. Late Friday and Saturday the big time sports bettors began placing money on the Broncos as it was a better value. Public perception can inflate lines while big money can even them out a bit.
If you take anything away from this guide it’s that it all starts with Vegas. There are so many numbers baked into their lines that if you don’t use Vegas, you’ll be at a disadvantage. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t develop your own reads because you should. You can do that after looking at Vegas lines and make a decision based on that. Going against Vegas can be a profitable, contrarian play. Remember, they are human and make mistakes too. Numbers are imperfect and unless you have a person making sense of them, they are useless. No matter how much data there is, it’s still really hard to predict the future. Use Vegas data as your baseline but not your be all end all. There are other factors at play on any given night.
Take a few minutes to read up on our Intro to Daily Fantasy Baseball Guide It has a process you can start applying right away to drafting players and profiting. If you have any questions, follow me on twitter.