NFL Picks: Coaches Approach Forecasts Dolphins/Bears Will Stay 'Under'

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, August 13, 2015 1:35 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 1:35 PM UTC

Our resident NFL handicapping professional provides us with a detailed analysis of Thursday’s preseason game between the Dolphins and Bears. Join us in reading this intriguing betting preview article which culminates with his pick on the total.

Dolphins Travel to “Windy City”
Chicago hosts Miami on Thursday in what will be the preseason opener for both teams. The opening kickoff at legendary Soldier Field in Chicago is slated for 8:00 PM ET. According to the NFL betting odds at, Chicago opened as a 1.0 point favorite and had a total of 38.0. At the time of this writing (8/12), BetOnline has moved Chicago to a 1.5 point favorite and the posted total is 37.0. The general public action has seen 59% of point spread wagering go to Chicago.


Head Coaches Preseason Histories
I put a lot of emphasis on head coaching preseason histories when doing my handicapping at this juncture. It often indicates to me a pattern of how individual head coaches approach these otherwise meaningless games.

Joe Philbin enters his fourth season as head coach in Miami. The Dolphins have gone a dismal 3-10 ATS and 5-8 straight up in preseason game under Philbin. Miami went under the total in all four of their 2014 preseason contests while also going 3-1 straight up.

John Fox enters his first year as head coach of the Chicago Bears. Fox was also the head honcho of Carolina from 2002 through 2010, and then with Denver from 2011 to 2014. His career preseason record is 28-24 straight up and 25-27 ATS. A couple of noteworthy items in regards to Fox, his teams are 6-10 straight up and 4-12 ATS in their last sixteen at home. He also was 6-0 under the total in his last six with Carolina, and went under in all four games with Denver last year.

Looking for more action? Check out our Week 1 Preseason O/U picks!

Roster Depth
There’s no doubt in my mind that Miami will present a very formidable challenge for any opponent during this upcoming 2015 NFL regular season. However, with the exception of wide receiver, I’m not overly enthralled with their quality depth. Joe Philbin indicated in his most recent press conference that his starters will play very little on Thursday. That’s surely something to keep in mind.

John Fox indicated in his press conference on Wednesday that his starters will be in for between 12 and 15 plays. Similar to his head coaching adversary on Thursday, he will place the majority of emphasis on evaluating his younger players. I do like the quality depth that Chicago possesses at running back, and no other position on either side of the ball catches my eye in that regard.


Final Analysis
Neither one of these head coaches approach to this contest is surprising whatsoever. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty common for an opening preseason game. Once both teams starters complete their cameo performances, I look for this to turn into a boring low scoring game. My small lean is toward going under the total for one of my NFL picks. The current NFL betting odds at all major sportsbooks have an identical total of 37.0.

NFL Pick: Dolphins and Bears under 37 at BetOnline 

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