The Miami Dolphins look to improve to .500 while keeping the New York Jets winless on Sunday. Miami has opened as a 9-point favorite on most of the best betting sites, marking just the second time in the last decade that this moribund franchise has been favored by that much.
New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
Sunday, October 18, 2020 – 04:00 PM EDT at Hard Rock Stadium
One of the reasons Miami has not been good in recent years is that Adam Gase was the head coach in 2016-18, but now he's coaching the Jets (0-5 in 2020) and still hoping to find relevancy in the AFC East.
Can Gase's Jets even cover the spread, let alone defy the NFL odds to get their first win of the season as a +300 underdog? Let's preview the matchup.
Betting on the Jets? Surely You Jest
Simply put: the New York Jets are the worst team in the NFL right now with a -86 scoring differential. The offense is dead last in scoring, first downs, and net passing yards. The Jets even risked their young quarterback, Sam Darnold, by continuing to play him after a shoulder injury against Denver in Week 4.
Joe Flacco started last week, and the Jets still only scored 10 points in a loss to Arizona. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' unit has also been disappointing after trading away safety Jamal Adams to Seattle during the summer.
The Jets will try to avoid becoming the third team in the last 20 years to start 0-6 while going 0-6 against the spread as well -- only the Rams and Dolphins did so in 2011.
If the Jets want to look anywhere for hope, they can look to their opponent this week. Last year, Brian Flores' Dolphins started 0-5 with a -138 scoring differential, the worst through five games by any team since the 1970 merger. Miami improved and managed to win five games.
Wide receiver Jamison Crowder has been a lone bright spot for the team, posting more than 100 receiving yards in all three games he's played this season. However, Miami cornerback Xavien Howard is up to the challenge of that matchup.
Is Miami Actually Decent?
The Dolphins are coming off a surprising upset win after taking care of the 49ers 43-17 in San Francisco. Ryan Fitzpatrick, the elder statesman of the AFC East with Tom Brady gone, had one of the most dominant passing games of his career as he averaged 12.5 yards per attempt with 350 yards and three scores.
Fitzpatrick is actually 6-2 ATS and 8-0 SU when favored by a touchdown in his career, but it's a situation he rarely finds himself in. He rarely stacks good games as you can see by his Week 4 loss to Seattle after an impressive win over the Jaguars this year.
DeVante Parker is Miami's leading receiver, but he's only had 93 yards in his last three games combined against the Jets. Myles Gaskin has emerged as the lead back and tight end Mike Gesicki just had one of the best games of his career against the 49ers. The Dolphins certainly have better offensive weapons than the Jets, unless you enjoy watching Frank Gore slam into the line for less than 4.0 yards a pop.
The last five games between these teams have been decided by one score with the only New York win coming 22-21 in the last meeting. If you're betting against the Jets with your NFL picks, it's because of Gase, who is the ultimate "win by the skin of his teeth or lose by three scores" coach in the NFL today. In his career, Gase has only won five games by more than 8 points while losing 32 games by multiple scores.
Let's try to find some optimism for the Jets in this one. For as bad as Gase has been, he's never lost six in a row as a head coach. All four of his teams have inexplicably found a way to win at least six games. Since 2001, NFL teams that are 0-5 have gone 10-5 ATS as underdogs of 8+ points in their sixth game. Since 2007, the Dolphins are 2-19 ATS when favored by more than 5 points, so it's not a role that suits this team well.
The Jets' quarterback decision is up in the air as Darnold is nursing his shoulder injury. Flacco could be more comfortable in a second start with the team. In his career, Flacco is 7-0 against the Dolphins with the best passing stats he has against any team he's played more than twice.
Making NFL bets on Flacco or Fitzpatrick in 2020 seems crazy either way, but with two head coaches fired in the last two weeks, this might be a great spot for some value by taking Gase and the Jets with the points.