How High Vegas Totals Lead To Big Fantasy Points in the NBA

The line makers in Vegas know what they’re doing.

One of the first lessons of NBA Daily Fantasy Sports is using Vegas totals to target players in games with projected high scores. Vegas totals are a great tool to utilize when projecting how many points will be scored in a game, but exactly how much of a correlation is there between NBA Vegas totals and fantasy point production?

To analyze this I compared the number of FanDuel fantasy points scored in a game with the closing total for each game of the 2014-2015 season.

nba total fp correlation 1

As you can see, correlation between Vegas totals and fantasy points in undeniable. Each actual point scored leads directly to at least one fantasy point scored, but that’s not the only benefit. Generally speaking, the higher the total, the quicker the pace of the game. More possessions lead to more opportunities to rack up not just points, but all stats.

The issue with looking at each individual total is the lack of a reliable sample size, as extreme totals at either the low or high end of the spectrum don’t happen often. I grouped totals together to give us a bigger sample.

nba total fp correlation 2

With the data more organized, we can see exactly how beneficial it was to pick players in games with high point totals during the 2014-2015 season. There was an 11.13% increase in fantasy production in games with a total of greater than 210 points compared to games with totals of less than 190.

The average total of the 2014-2015 season was 200.09 points. There was a 7.04% increase in fantasy points in games with a totals of 210+ compared to a games with totals in the 195-199.5 range and a 5.4% increase in the 210+ totals compared to range of 200-204.5.

After reviewing this data it becomes quite apparent that picking players in games with high totals will lead to more fantasy production.  The first thing I do for my daily NBA research is look at the Vegas lines for the day’s games.  Remember that a player’s daily fantasy prices take into account their average performance. When a team is set to play in a game with a higher than usual total, there is likely value to be found in the pricing of that team’s players.  On the flip side, players in games with lower than usual totals will see a drop in value not reflected by their salary price.

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