Dolphins (1-0) at Patriots (0-1)
Spread: Patriots +2.5
Weather: No current concerns
The Line Report
The spread for this contest has already undergone a number of changes this week. It opened with either Patriots +2 or +2.5 depending on the sportsbook. It moved to Patriots +3 earlier this week, before dipping back down to Patriots +2.5 at some sportsbooks.
The total for this contest opened as low as 45.5 points. It then rose to its peak of 47.5 before falling back to its current mark of 46.5 points.
Patriots Offense vs. Dolphins Defense
Mac Jones threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles on opening day. Nine different New England Patriots caught passes in that effort. It’s only been one game, but Bill O’Brien’s offense is already trending in the right direction as it plays to Jones’ strengths. Right now, and this may not be sustainable, New England isn’t reliant on any one pass catcher.
Kendrick Bourne led all Patriots receivers with 11 targets, six receptions, 64 receiving yards and two touchdowns. WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster and Demario Douglas each had seven targets. TE Hunter Henry caught five of six targets for 56 yards and a score, and TE Mike Gesicki caught all three of his targets for 36 yards. Last season, the Dolphins’ defense allowed the ninth-most receiving yards to opposing tight ends.
Running back Rhamondre Stevenson tied Bourne with six receptions and 64 receiving yards — but only on six targets. Stevenson finished with 25 rushing yards on 12 carries. Ezekiel Elliott saw seven targets and seven carries. That usage indicates Elliot will play a meaningful role in this offense.
Dolphins Offense vs. Patriots Defense
The Dolphins’ passing attack went absolutely bonkers on opening day in Los Angeles. Tua Tagovailoa threw for 466 passing yards and three touchdowns. Tyreek Hill caught 11 of 15 targets for 215 receiving yards and two scores. Jaylen Waddle may have had the quietest 78 receiving yards in history due to Hill’s massive production.
We already saw last season that Miami’s passing attack runs through Hill and Waddle. We also saw the massive ceiling this offense has several times. Last week’s effort is less surprising than some are making it out to be.
It’s worth noting that TE Durham Smythe saw seven targets, while WRs Braxton Berrios and River Cracraft saw five. It seems very unlikely that this group will combine for 17 total targets with any regularity, but that happened Sunday.
Raheem Mostert led the team in carries with 11, but he’s already nursing a knee injury heading into Week 2. Veteran Salvon Ahmed saw three carries, while rookie De’Von Achane was a healthy scratch for the game. If Mostert is out Sunday night, expect Ahmed to take the bulk of the carries while Achane supplements.
What You’re Betting On
These teams split games last season — the Dolphins won 20-7 on opening day while New England won 23-21 in Week 17. The home team won both games, but Teddy Bridgewater was the Dolphins’ quarterback in the team’s loss to New England.
In his four games against Bill Belichick, Tagovailoa has been held under 205 passing yards three times. You don’t need 400 passing yards out of Tagovailoa as a Dolphins bettor, but you want him to beat his current baseline against New England. Any bet on the Dolphins is centered on their fast and innovative offense.
You also now get Vic Fangio calling the defense in Miami. Jones played very well on opening day, while the Dolphins gave up 34 points to the Los Angeles Chargers last week. We can’t rely on premium defensive play out of Miami just yet, but it’s absolutely possible.
Any bet on the Patriots begins as a bet on Belichick’s defense, which played very well against the Eagles. New England’s pass rush will have an advantage against Miami this week, especially if LT Terron Armstead misses this contest. Hill and Waddle are a matchup nightmare for anyone, but if anyone can even somewhat limit that duo, it’s Belichick.
You’re also betting on Miami in a potential letdown spot, as it plays its second road game in a row. If Jones can play as well as he did against the Eagles, New England is going to be a tough out Sunday night.
Score Prediction: Patriots 23, Dolphins 20
Ryan’s Recent Betting Record
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 48-32
ATS 2023: 2-3
Props 2022: 60-40
Props 2023: 2-1
Ryan Reynolds is the associate director of fantasy and betting at The 33rd Team. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2014 and has been covering NFL betting markets for five years. Follow him @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.