Dolphins Will Win In Trenches And Cover Vs. Bills Saturday

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While the coverage might suggest otherwise, the Miami Dolphins (8-5) at Buffalo Bills (10-3) Week 15 meeting in Highmark Stadium Saturday is a game between two finesse teams.

Miami has the fourth-lowest rushing rate in the NFL. Buffalo’s rushing rate ranks 19th and its offensive line is 20th in adjusted line yards per snap, according to Football Outsiders.

However, as crazy as it sounds, the Dolphins are built better for this bad-weather game than the team from Buffalo. BET the DOLPHINS PLUS THE POINTS and sprinkle on Miami’s moneyline (ML).

Betting Details (DraftKings)

  • ML: DOLPHINS (+265), Bills (-325)
  • Against the spread (ATS): DOLPHINS +7 (-110), Bills -7 (-110)
  • Total — 44 — Over: -115, Under: -105

Dolphins-Bills will be won in the trenches

Buffalo’s weather forecast predicts sub-freezing temperatures, double-digit MPH winds, and snow. This should suppress both teams’ pass games.

Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), the Bills’ offensive line has the second-biggest run-blocking mismatch and second-biggest pass protection vs. the Dolphins’ defensive line in Week 15.

Miami DT Christian Wilkins is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Dolphins LB Jaelen Phillips is PFF’s eighth-highest-graded edge rusher in the league. Miami added edge rusher, Bradley Chubb, at the trade deadline as well.

Miami Dolphins defensive linemen Melvin Ingram and Christian Wilkins celebrate after a sack against the Cleveland Browns at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
Miami Dolphins defensive linemen Melvin Ingram and Christian Wilkins celebrate after a sack against the Cleveland Browns at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

On the other hand, the Bills have dealt with injuries along the offensive line all year and four of their starters have a below-average PFF grade.

Buffalo’s defensive line also has dudes but lost All-Pro edge rusher Von Miller to an injury. Miami Pro Bowl LT Terron Armstead has a shot at playing Saturday after missing the past two weeks with an injury.

Regardless of what their rushing stats say, the Bills aren’t a good running team. Their inability to put teams away on the ground partially explains Buffalo’s 2-4 ATS record as favorites of -7 to -13.5.

On top of that, we are …

Buying low on Miami

The Dolphins have lost back-to-back road games (0-2 ATS) at the 49ers 33-17 in Week 13 and the Chargers 23-17 on Sunday Night Football in Week 14.

San Francisco has the best defense in the NFL and Miami was missing its two starting tackles. LAC is profitable as underdogs in primetime since drafting Justin Herbert.

Also, it’s wise to bet on football teams the week after they got embarrassed on primetime. A banged-up Chargers’ defense shut down the Dolphins but Miami first-year coach Mike McDaniel will make adjustments and …

The Dolphins will out-finesse the Bills

McDaniel suggested in interviews this week that he’d simplify things for Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa to help him bust out of a slump. Despite struggling lately, Tua has a better QBR and than Bills QB Josh Allen.

In fact, Tua has a better expected points added per play (EPA/play) blended with completion percentage over expectation than Allen. I.e. Tua does a better job in scoring situations and throwing WRs open.

I’d also argue the Dolphins have a better WR room than the Bills and Miami’s secondary is underrated. Sure, the Dolphins have struggled to stop the pass this year.

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa rolls out to throw a pass against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa rolls out to throw a pass against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

But, in a divisional matchup between two teams familiar with one another, Miami’s secondary will show up on Saturday. PFF gives the Dolphins WRs a better aggregated matchup edge vs. the Bills DBs than Buffalo’s WRs vs. Miami’s DBs.

If Tua can get the ball to playmakers in space — specifically WR Tyreek Hill — then the Dolphins will win this game outright. The Bills are the second-lowest-graded tackling team in the NFL, per PFF.

Finally, there has been …

‘Sharp’ line movement toward Miami

This game opened as Bills -7.5 and immediately dropped to Bills -7 where this spread has been all week. Yet according to Pregame.com, more than 90% of the money in the consensus market is on Buffalo ATS.

Apparently, the sportsbooks are more comfortable taking pro-Bills money at -7 than adjusting the lines according to their liability.

The best place to be as a sports bettor is on the same side as the House because the average Joe loses money in sports betting. This is especially true in primetime football games where road ‘dogs are 17-11 ATS this year.

Ultimately, this handicap boils down to the Bills aren’t seven points better than the Dolphins. Buffalo is fifth in net EPA/play and third in net yards per play (nYPP). Miami is eighth in net EPA/play and sixth in nYPP.

BEST BET: Dolphins +7 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook

  • If you “sprinkle” on Miami’s ML, only bet a 1/4th unit, at most.
The Miami Dolphins’ odds at the Buffalo Bills from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 16th at 12:15 p.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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