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Matchups Week 1: Dolphins vs. Patriots

Tua Tagovailoa Pressure

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots

Spread: Dolphins -3.5

Game Total: 46

Team Totals: Dolphins (24.75), Patriots (21.25)

Weather: Hot and humid, 90-degree gametime temperatures expected.

The Line Report

  • The consensus on the spread is Miami -3.5.
  • This line opened with Miami -2.5.
  • This line has ranged between Miami -2.5 and Miami -4. It’s recently moved from Miami -3 up to the current consensus of Miami -3.5.
  • DraftKings Pick’EM has Miami -3.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has Miami -3.5.
  • The current consensus on this total is 46 points, though there are a few 46.5s available.
  • This total opened at 44.5. It has ranged as high as 47 during the summer.

Notable Injuries

Dolphins: CB Byron Jones (Out), FB Alec Ingold (Questionable), NT Raekwon Davis (Questionable), CB Nik Needham (Questionable), CB Eric Rowe (Questionable).

Patriots: WR Tyquan Thornton (IR), RB Ty Montgomery (Questionable), WR Jakobi Meyers (Questionable), OT Isaiah Wynn (Questionable).

The Dolphins Offense vs. the Patriots Defense

The addition of LT Terron Armstead and, to a lesser extent, center Conner Williams brings Miami’s line from the very back of the pack to closer to the middle. It’s worth noting that Williams is playing center for the first time this season. The Patriots pass rush, led by EDGE Matthew Judon, doesn’t have a notable advantage in this matchup.

Notes and Observations

  • The Dolphins were 9-7 against the spread in 2021.
  • The Dolphins were 7-10 on overs in 2021.
  • Bill Belichick has a 9-13 record in Miami.
  • Per The Edge, Tyreek Hill was third amongst wide receivers in receptions and seventh in yards last season.
  • Per The Edge, Jaylen Waddle was eighth amongst wide receivers in receptions and 25th in yards during last season’s rookie campaign.
  • Hill and Waddle form an extremely unique duo that combines elite speed and high-volume production. Hill and Waddle are a potential matchup nightmare for anyone.
  • The Patriots gave up the second fewest yards to wide receivers in 2021.
  • Keep in mind New England lost high-end cornerback J.C. Jackson this offseason. 

The Patriots Offense vs. Dolphins Defense 

New England has had some roster turnover in their offensive line, but they still remain a solid unit. The Patriots offensive line has a small talent advantage on Miami’s unspectacular front.

Notes and Observations

  • The Patriots were 10-7 against the spread in 2021.
  • The Patriots were 9-8 on overs in 2021.
  • With Josh McDaniels now in Las Vegas, New England is going through a strategic transition on offense.
  • Miami is going through a transition on defense after firing Brian Flores this offseason.
  • Not having cornerback Byron Jones is a significant loss for Miami.
  • In 2021 Miami yielded the 17th-most rushing yards to running backs, the 13th-most receiving yards to wide receivers, and the tenth-most receiving yards to tight ends, Per The Edge.
  • Patriots running back Damien Harris was tenth in the league in rushing last year with 929 yards.
  • The Patriots did not have a pass catcher breach 900 yards last season.
  • Mac Jones was 11th in air yards and 14th in passing attempts last season, despite throwing only three passes during an extreme wind game in Buffalo.

This is What You’re Betting On in Dolphins vs. Patriots 

A bet on the Dolphins is a bet on new head coach Mike McDaniel getting the most out of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Miami’s dynamic duo at wide receiver. Miami has a fascinating combination of potential and volatility on offense heading into opening day. McDaniel gets a tough draw in his first game as head coach against Bill Belichick. Another unknown for Miami is that their defense could realistically take a step back without Flores. The Dolphins have a better roster than New England, and Belichick’s Patriots have struggled in Miami. But all-in-all, the Dolphins have a lot of unknowns heading into the opener.

A bet on New England starts as a bet on the stability and strategic edge that Bill Belichick provides his Patriots. Quarterback Mac Jones had a very strong rookie season last year. A bet on New England is also a bet on Jones’ continued progression. New England has struggled in Miami under Belichick and the Dolphins have a better roster than the Patriots. If you’re betting on New England, you’re building that bet on the expectation that the stable Patriots will keep this one close.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: This will be one of the games on this slate that I won’t make a winner pool decision on until the final minute. Regardless of which team I ultimately pick, they will be towards the bottom of my confidence pool rankings.

Spread Pool: I’m surprised that the Patriots are more than a 3-point underdog. I’d be more hesitant to include New England in my pool of options if they opened as more than a 3-point underdog. Since the line opened at Miami -2.5 and has been driven to past the key number of 3, this contest will be a final minute consideration in my spread pools.

Survivor: Both of these options should be avoided in survivor.