The Miami Dolphins are still alive in the AFC playoff hunt, and they’ve got two games against the New York Jets to pad their record. The sharps aren’t waiting to add Miami to their Week 13 NFL picks.
Jason’s record after Week 12: 32-44-1 ATS, 14-20-1 Totals
Profit: minus-46.20 units
The Miami Dolphins might be the hottest team in the NFL right now. They haven’t done a lot wrong since coming off the bye in Week 5. But you wouldn’t necessarily know it by their record; the Dolphins are 4-3 over the past seven games, and their playoff hopes are very tenuous indeed.
Look more closely: The Dolphins are 5-2 ATS during this run, and their three losses were by a combined 10 points, to some very tough opponents – including the Denver Broncos, who escaped last Sunday’s meeting with a 39-36 victory as 6.5-point home faves. That should inspire some confidence on the NFL odds board as Miami prepares to visit the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. The Dolphins are 5.5-point favorites as we go to press, up from –4.5 at the open, and they’re getting 100 percent consensus in early betting.
There are plenty of reasons why nobody’s talking up the Dolphins (6-5 SU, 7-4 ATS). Playing in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots hasn’t done much for their visibility. The Fish also haven’t had a winning season since 2008, and it’s been a long, long time since Dan Marino hung up his cleats after the 1999 campaign. Let’s not forget about that LeBron James guy hogging the South Beach spotlight, either.
LeBron’s gone now, and the Dolphins may have finally turned the corner after their latest front-office shuffle, but people still aren’t paying attention. The public money charts at press time have Miami ranked No. 26 on the season, just one spot ahead of the miserable Jets (2-9 SU, 2-8-1 ATS). You’re not going to find any other profitable teams at the bottom of that money pile.
Then you have the way that Miami is constructed around defense and running – sweet, smashmouth football, the way nature intended. The Week 12 DVOA ratings are fresh out of the oven at Football Outsiders, and they have the Dolphins ranked No. 5 overall (No. 7 offense, No. 6 defense, No. 24 special teams); breaking down that offense, we find the ground game ranked No. 4, compared to Miami’s No. 9-ranked air attack.
Defense has been Miami’s calling card for a few years now. Linebacker Cameron Wake has seen to that, making the Pro Bowl three times since becoming a regular starter in 2010. And the former CFLer is well on his way to another stellar season. Wake has already matched last season’s total with 8.5 sacks in 11 games, and he’s forced three fumbles thus far with a recovery. He’d be a household name on a higher-profile team.
Miami’s running game has also held up this year despite the loss of Knowshon Moreno (4.8 yards per carry) to a torn ACL. Lamar Miller (4.9 yards per carry) has withstood the added workload, and QB Ryan Tannehill (6.7 yards per carry) has turned into one of the NFL’s top scramblers. Credit new offensive co-ordinator Bill Lazor for giving Tannehill the same bump he gave Nick Foles last year with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Speaking of which: Michael Vick. It looks like he’ll get another start for the Jets despite hurting his wrist and ankle in Monday’s embarrassing 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills (–2.5) in Detroit. At this point, it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s Vick (68.3 passer rating, 5.9 yards per carry) or Geno Smith (67.5 passer rating, 3.9 yards per carry) under center. It’s chaos in the Big Apple, and playing on one fewer day of rest than Miami isn’t going to help the Jets this week.
The Five Stars
Defense/Special Teams: MIA
Market Bias: EVEN
Betting Line Value: MIA
Verdict: 2-star pick on MIA
Free NFL Pick: Bet 3.5 units on the Dolphins –6.0 at BookMaker