Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is trying to take the leap from unproven rookie to legitimate NFL quarterback, but he’s having to prepare for the 2021 season without his three primary receivers.
DeVante Parker, Will Fuller, and Albert Wilson are all dealing with small injury concerns that shouldn’t affect their opening day status. But still, time missed with the starters often leads to small chemistry issues that have to be worked out on Sundays. Will Fuller will actually be serving the final game of a six-game suspension during week one of the regular season versus the Patriots.
Tagovailoa continues to say all the right things, though, when asked about the unique situation.
“It gives a lot of opportunity to the other guys, for me to get work with them, and for them also to experience a lot of the different looks, the coverages,” Tagovailoa said. “Whereas a lot of the veterans that are injured, they’ve seen a lot of that.
“We’re all still in the same meetings, communicating and talking through that, so I don’t think it’s a concern at all.”
Tagovailoa is correct there; the extra reps for rookie Jaylen Waddle and other young guys trying to make the 53-man roster could do wonders for their development and the Dolphins’ depth chart. The NFL is the ultimate ‘next man up’ atmosphere, so good teams know that every single person in a uniform needs to be on the same page and ready to play at a moment’s notice in order to be successful.
As gamblers, we, too, need to be ready to play any potential soft spots, based on the information we have readily available. In fact, unless you spot major line inefficiency (which is rare in the NFL markets), these are the only spots to play. Gambling is still gambling, but you should be able to hit 55 percent across a decent sample size if you’re sticking to quality information.
So what do we do with this bit of intel? Headed into the offseason, we already knew the Dolphins will certainly try to lean on their defense and special teams, which combined for an outrageous number of non-offensive touchdowns last year. The offensive line needed an overhaul, as well, which takes time to build chemistry. And now Tua is losing reps with his starting receivers as he heads to Foxborough for a matchup with a criminally undervalued Patriots team, fresh off its first losing season in twenty years?
Go ahead and chalk this one up as a very tough game for Miami. FanDuel Sportsbook has a look-ahead line of Pats (-2.5) at home, which undoubtedly balloons to (-3) before kickoff. Grabbing the hook now gives you some nice value, but I think this game is best played as a first half bet. Based on the number available now, the Pats will likely be (-.5) or (-1) 1H at home, which isn’t asking a lot for a veteran QB and the GOAT head coach to cover.
The first half total is worth a look, too, as an ‘under’ play, given the defensive natures of these clubs and the general sloppiness of Week 1 in the NFL. The total is currently set at (45), which means the 1H total will likely be (23) or (23.5). If somehow this total gets steamed upwards by the public rooting for points, and you’re able to snag an under (24), hit it. You’re basically just pulling against a few big plays or deep balls at that point—as long as both teams take care of the ball and try to establish the run, you’re home free. No doubt the Dolphins will rely heavily on the run in those opening quarters.
Good luck on your drive to 55, whatever sides you take.
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