Tua Tagovailoa is already a Pro Bowl-level quarterback, but are his Miami Dolphins the right NFL pick for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos?
Miami Dolphins vs. Denver Broncos
Sunday, November 22, 2020 – 04:05 PM EST at Empower Field at Mile High
One of the hidden benefits of betting on college football is the way it can improve your NFL picks. If you were watching the Alabama Crimson Tide the past two-plus years, you got to see Tua Tagovailoa in action, which means you got to see one of the premier talents in all of
Sadly, Drew Lock isn’t having quite the same impact for the Denver Broncos (3-6 SU, 5-4 ATS) in his first full year at the controls. The Broncos did cover his first three starts, but they lost twice straight-up, and they’re 1-3 SU and ATS since that early burst of promise. So if you were one of the early birds who snagged Miami as a pick’em on the Week 11 NFL odds board, bravo – or brava, as the case may be.
Funny thing is, we might have to bet on Denver now. They’ve moved all the way to +3.5 at Heritage Sports, and that hook means everything, especially with FiveThirtyEight projecting Miami as 1-point favorites. Then again, those projections are skewed somewhat by Tagovailoa’s ascendancy, and Lock’s reversal of fortune – don’t forget, Lock hurt his shoulder in Week 2 and missed the next two games. Jeff Sagarin has the Dolphins at –5.89 using his “Recent” formula, which we’re pretty sure is weighted towards recent events, and –9.57 using his world-famous eigenvector analysis.
By the way, Tua isn’t the only good thing the Dolphins have going for them. They’ve got the best special teams in the NFL, according to the efficiency charts at Football Outsiders; PK Jason Sanders (20-for-21 on field goals, 23-for-23 on PATs), punter Matt Haack and returner Jakeem Grant have all delivered the goods for Miami. They’re also very good on pass defense, which they’d better be after signing free-agent CB Byron Jones to a five-year, $82-million contract in March – tops for his position.
The Broncos, meanwhile, have plenty to worry about aside from Lock’s struggles. He’s not the only reason they have the league’s worst-rated offense. Denver’s run blocking also ranks last when it comes to getting stuffed at the line, leaving RB Melvin Gordon (4.1 yards per carry) largely impotent in the backfield. And their special teams? Putrid, aside from PK Brandon McManus (18-for-19 on
Having said all that, we’re going to punt on the spread and take the Over. There’s a 45-point total on the board at GTBets, and Sagarin projects these teams to combine for 49.29 points on what should be a reasonably nice day at Mile High. As far as recent variance skewing the projections is concerned, we can pretty much cancel out Tua’s rise with Lock’s downfall – that’s the way math works, right? Either way, make it a smaller wager (but not too small) for protection, and stay healthy out there.