- The Buffalo Bills are -2.5 point home favorites against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, October 1.
- The Bills have won two straight since their overtime loss to the New York Jets in the season opener.
- Miami beat the Denver Broncos 70-20 and covered easily as -6 point home favorites.
The Miami Dolphins are all of a sudden relevant again. Mike McDaniel’s team has become an offensive monster that is on a pace to shatter the season scoring record. A few more games like last week’s absurd 70-20 demolition of the Denver Broncos should take care of that. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that the Dolphins were playing a winless team at home when they scored the most points in a game since 1966 (Washington scored 72 against the NY Giants). It’s no joke dropping 70 points on any NFL team–they’re now the fourth team in league history to score 70+ points in a regular season or playoff game–but they’re unlikely to do it again this season.
No disrespect to the Dolphins–they’re definitely a team on the rise–but the newfound ‘public’ love for Miami and how easy the game came to them last week makes this a tough situational spot. The team on the other side of the field is pretty good too. The betting public, however, has soured on Buffalo after their dismal performance in the opening game of the season against the New York Jets. The fact that so many people were watching the highest rated Monday Night Football game in more than two decades has served to exacerbate the public perception that the Bills are ‘down’ this year. Sure, the Jets won the game in overtime and Josh Allen had his worst game in recent memory but it was far from a dominating performance by New York. Buffalo won the yardage and time of possession battle but were undone by four turnovers and ultimately lost on a punt return for a touchdown.
That memory will be etched in the minds of the betting public until something happens to change it. What has Buffalo done since the Jets loss? They’ve won two straight, beating Las Vegas and winning at Washington by a combined score of 75-13. Miami will likely find the going much more difficult against a Buffalo team that is now #2 in scoring defense, #2 in total defense and #3 in passing defense. The Dolphins can run the ball and have a superstar running back in Raheem Mostert but their most potent weapon is their insanely fast and talented wide receivers. They’ll have more receiving weapons here than they did against Denver last week as Jaylen Waddle has been upgraded to ‘probable’ after missing last week due to a concussion.
Public perception surrounding Miami suggests that they’re an unstoppable juggernaut that has trampled every team in their path. That’s not the case. Prior to last week’s beatdown of Denver the Dolphins had won on the road by 2 against the LA Chargers and by 7 at New England. The Broncos game will skew a lot of Miami’s statistical numbers during the short term. For example, the Dolphins now have an average margin of victory of 20 points. Winning two tough road games is impressive to be sure, but you can see how scoring 70 points can dramatically impact stats with such a small ‘sample size’. Miami’s offensive success against Denver was due in large part to the Broncos inability to deal with motion at the snap. Buffalo has the best defense against motion at the snap in the NFL to date at -0.52 yards per play.
The ‘squares’ like to suggest that successfully betting the NFL is some sort of cryptic riddle that no one can crack. The reality is that it’s exceedingly difficult to be a successful pro football bettor playing favorites and the ‘Over’ every week. The public has a recency bias and badly overreacts to what they’ve just seen on TV. Buffalo is 6-1 SU in their last 7 games at home including two wins over Miami. In theory, this should be a big game for both teams but the Dolphins are in the strange situation of this being a possible ‘letdown spot’ after listening to the hype about their unstoppable offense all week. Buffalo has also heard how fearsome Miami’s offense is and you have to think their highly rated defense will have something to say about that. Bills are laying less than a field goal here–they were -7 against Miami in last year’s home meeting and -13.5 in the playoff game here against the Dolphins. Miami is improved, but not by 4.5 points relative to the Bills. This line implies that the Dolphins would be the better team on a neutral field and that’s definitely not the case–at least not yet.