Bet 5.5 Units on Bills ATS vs. Dolphins for Thursday Night

Jason Lake

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 7:52 PM GMT

The short week isn’t doing the Buffalo Bills or the Miami Dolphins any favors as they prepare for Thursday Night Football. But the Bills might be fresh enough to beat the NFL odds and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Jason’s record after Week 10: 28-39 ATS, 11-16-1 Totals

Profit: minus-37.63 units

If you’re looking to put together a classic parlay for your Week 11 NFL picks, check out the latest very special episode of Thursday Night Football (8:25 p.m. ET, NFLN). The Miami Dolphins will be hosting the Buffalo Bills in a battle of two very strong defensive teams with some major questions on offense. The Bills opened as 4-point puppies; as we go to press, you can get them at +5 or even +6 will a small premium on the vig, making the underdog-UNDER parlay that much more promising versus the football odds.

 

Rip Torn
Let’s start with those defenses. We’ve got freshly updated Week 10 DVOA numbers from the statheads at Football Outsiders, and the Dolphins check in at No. 3 overall (No. 1 pass, No. 11 rush) in defensive efficiency, followed closely by the Bills at No. 4 (No. 3 pass, No. 10 rush). Pro Football Reference is somewhat less impressed, ranking Miami No. 4 in defensive SRS (plus-4.7) and Buffalo No. 9 (plus-2.6). But those are still solid numbers.

The Dolphins (5-4 SU and ATS) have definitely been making waves with their league-best pass rush. However, when it comes specifically to getting at the quarterback, the Bills (5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS) have been even better, leading the NFL with 34 sacks to Miami’s 28. Buffalo’s defensive line has also been superior thus far at stuffing the run; both teams, however, are having issues once opponents break through the first and second levels.

This matchup figures to be a little more problematic for Miami’s No. 13-ranked offense (No. 13 pass, No. 8 rush). LT Branden Albert was carted off the field in last week’s 20-16 loss to the Detroit Lions (–3 at home) and is done for the year with a torn right knee. Albert made the Pro Bowl last year with the Kansas City Chiefs, and was a big reason Jamaal Charles led the NFL with 19 combined touchdowns. His spot will be filled by rookie RT Ja’Wuan James as the O-line shuffles the deck.

 

Punt, Pray and Kick
The Dolphins also have to worry about the health of the people their offensive line is protecting. RB Lamar Miller (shoulder) was limited in practice again after getting just four carries against the Detroit Lions, and QB Ryan Tannehill was also given a light workload with shoulder and ankle injuries. The top-ranked Lions defense really put Miami through the shredder last week.

The Bills, meanwhile, were able to get a full practice out of WR Sammy Watkins (groin) on Tuesday, although RB Fred Jackson (groin) remained limited. Watkins was a game-time decision for last week’s 17-13 loss to the Chiefs (+2 away), but both he and Jackson should be good to go for Thursday. Buffalo has the added advantage of having taken the bye in Week 9, while the Dolphins already took theirs way back in Week 5.

We’re still calling it even when it comes to which team will be fresher on Thursday, since Miami does get to play at home. We’re also not going to split hairs when it comes to the two coaching staffs – neither of which rates very highly. But the Bills definitely have the NFL odds in their corner, and they have by far the better special teams, especially when it comes to kicker Dan Carpenter (19-of-21 on field goals) and punter Colton Schmidt (22 of 53 punts inside the 20). There’s a reason they call it football.
 

The Five Stars
Injuries/Suspensions/Travel/Rest: EVEN
Defense/Special Teams: BUF
Coaching: EVEN
Market Bias: BUF
Betting Line Value: BUF

Verdict: 3-star pick on BUF

Free NFL Pick: Bet 5.5 units on the Bills +6 (–115) at Bovada

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