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Beginner NFL DFS: Sportsbook lines

We continue our breakdown of the basics for NFL DFS. In this section, we look at sportsbook lines, with definitions and some basic strategy.

Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants at Metlife Stadium on December 29, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

In daily fantasy football, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. For DFS, that means knowing what the sportsbooks predict for each NFL game.

Sportsbook lines


Many DFS players have dabbled in wagering in the past, so have some exposure to game lines — but if you haven’t, it can be confusing. There are two main numbers we will look at, the over/under for total points and the point spread. The total will give us projected points for each team. The point spread is a number that evens out the betting based on who is the favorite and who is the underdog. If the 49ers are -8 to beat the Jaguars +8, they are favored by eight points and if you wagered on that line, the 49ers would beed to win by more than eight points for you to win.


Total points

The higher the number the better. Comparing totals and individual team totals on each slate you play is a good way to get an overall picture of how each game is projected. Picking players from the highest projected scoring teams is common sense, but it is also useful. Stacking a quarterback with a receiver from higher scoring teams is one way to take advantage of a high point total.

Point spread

You get no DK points for a team winning, but the point spread is useful to project game script. If a team is projected to win by two touchdowns, the odds are good that they won’t be forced to reach their upside, but will be in a situation to put up good points overall. A team that is on the other side as big underdogs, will likely need to push the ball downfield through the pass at some point early on due to a deficit. That might up the odds for receivers and receiving running backs to see more work, while a running back who does most of his work from handoffs, might see his touches diminished. There are many different ways to look at game script, but the point spread is often the basis for that research.