Dolphins ATS Vs. Packers Is An NFL Christmas Gambling Gift

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The Green Bay Packers (6-8) meeting the Miami Dolphins (8-6) Sunday in Week 16 at the Hard Rock Stadium is the only NFL Christmas game where both teams have something to play for.

Despite a sub-.500 record, the Packers can still sneak into the NFC playoffs. The Dolphins looked poised for an AFC East title run mid-way through the season, but now need this game like blood.

After losing seven of eight games from October 9 to November 27, Green Bay has won back-to-back games albeit against bad teams.

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers reacts after a TD against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers reacts after a TD against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Miami enters Week 16 on a three-game losing skid but went to the wire with the Buffalo Bills last week in a 32-29 loss.

To the public, these teams appear to be heading in the opposite direction. However, their recent results are misleading, the Packers are at a sell-high spot and the Dolphins are trading at a market-low.

Betting Details (DraftKings)

  • Moneyline: Packers (+155), Dolphins (-180)
  • Against the spread (ATS): Packers +3.5 (-110), DOLPHINS -3.5 (-110)
  • Total (O/U) — 50 — O: -110, U: -110

Cheap price for the Dolphins

Home-field advantage in the NFL this year is worth anywhere between 1.5-2.5 points. For the Packers-Dolphins, let’s say Miami’s home-field edge is 1.5 points.

I.e. the Dolphins are 2-point favorites over the Packers on a neutral field. Does that sound right? I get that Miami has struggled in recent weeks (more on that below). But, have we forgotten how mediocre Green Bay has been?

Miami Dolphins WRs Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill perform a TD dance in the end zone vs. the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit.
Miami Dolphins WRs Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill perform a TD dance in the end zone vs. the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit. (Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

From an efficiency standpoint, the Dolphins are leagues better than the Packers. Miami is fifth in net expected points added per play (EPA) and eighth in net yards per play (nYPP). Green Bay is 16th in net EPA/play and 20th in nYPP.

Let’s just be thankful bettors are overreacting to what they just saw and …

Fade the ‘recency bias’

Miami was -5.5 on the look-ahead line last weekend. But, the Packers beat the awful LA Rams 24-12 on Monday Night Football in Week 15, and the Dolphins lost their third straight in a Dec. 17 island game.

This 2-point line movement to the Dolphins -3.5 is too much. Sure, Miami got clobbered 33-17 by San Francisco in Week 13, lost as road favorites to the LA Chargers in Week 14, and got beat in Buffalo Saturday.

San Francisco 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa celebrates after sacking Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
San Francisco 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa celebrates after sacking Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. (Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

But, the Dolphins were missing their starting offensive tackles vs. the best defense in the NFL (the Niners). Chargers QB Justin Herbert is good enough to beat any team single-handedly and LA coach Brandon Staley had a good defensive game plan. The Bills are a Super Bowl favorite.

The Packers on the other hand beat a dog-shit Rams team despite Rodgers playing poorly because the Rams are terrible. The week prior Green Bay beat the 3-11 Chicago Bears whom Rodgers owns.

This ‘recency bias’ for the Packers combined with how well the Dolphins played last week vs. the Bills makes this a …

Great situational spot for Miami

First of all, the Dolphins have a rest and prep edge in this game. Green Bay played on MNF in Week 15 (five days) while Miami played last Saturday (seven days).

Also, the AFC playoff race is getting snug and the Dolphins cannot afford a loss at home down the stretch. So Miami’s motivation here is obvious.

But, what’s being overlooked is how well the Dolphins played last week. Miami had a +0.8 nYPP last weekend against Buffalo (7.1-6.3) in conditions that clearly favored the Bills.

Miami Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert runs the ball against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
Miami Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert runs the ball against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa threw TDs to both of his stud wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Miami got the run game going as well. Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert gained 136 yards on 17 carries.

Miami should have the same balance on offense in Week 16 vs. the Packers because the …

Dolphins have an edge in the trenches

Per Pro Football Focus, Miami’s offensive line has a plus-EV matchup vs. Green Bay’s defensive line in both run blocking and pass protection.

On the other side of the ball, the Packers’ offensive line is at disadvantage against the Dolphins’ defensive line in both run and pass blocking.

All four of Miami’s defensive linemen are above average per PFF. Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins and pass rusher Jaelan Phillips grade out in the top 10 of their positions.

Miami Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins celebrates after a tackle against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
Miami Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins celebrates after a tackle against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Furthermore, Miami added an elite pass rusher in Bradley Chubb at the trade deadline. While Green Bay lost an elite pass rusher, Rashan Gary, to a season-ending injury earlier this season.

Ultimately, the only pro-Packers case is “Aaron Rodgers as an underdog”. There’s no doubt that’s a good point but this ain’t the same Green Bay as yesteryear.

BET: Dolphins -3.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -4

The Miami Dolphins' odds vs. the Green Bay Packers from DraftKings Sportsbooks as of Saturday, December 24th at 12:30 p.m. ET.
The Miami Dolphins’ odds vs. the Green Bay Packers from DraftKings Sportsbooks as of Saturday, December 24th at 12:30 p.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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