NFL Picks: Dolphins & Texans Will Have Offensive Outbursts So Bet 'Over' 44.5

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, October 22, 2015 9:17 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 9:17 PM UTC

Miami looks to finally win a game against the Houston Texans in Week 7, something they've never done in the series. Our NFL handicapper analyzes the matchup to see where the wagering value lies and gives his NFL pick on the total.

A newly revitalized Miami Dolphins team hosts the Houston Texans in Week 7 after obliterating the Tennessee Titans last week. The public must have been impressed as they have been instilled as 4.5- point favorites in this game, although they are 0-7 SU against the Texans all-time. The O/U total opened at 43 points and has since increased to 44.5 points at multiple sportsbooks.

In last week’s coverage of Miami, I suggested that their defense would be motivated to play for new head coach, Dan Campbell, as reports out of practice was that the team was highly motivated after the firing of prior coach, Joe Philbin. They came through for me in spades, as they held the Titans to just 10 points. However, my ‘under’ call was toast when the Miami offense also came in fired up and put up 38 points. Good analysis, bad result.

Houston looks to continue their dominance over Florida teams, as they are coming off of a 31-20 win at Jacksonville. Their only other win was against Tampa Bay in Week 3. In the Jacksonville game the Texans reversed course in regards to turnovers, picking up 3 extra possessions due to Jacksonville giving up the ball. This was sorely needed, as Houston was -2 and -4 in the two weeks’ prior against Indianapolis and Atlanta, respectively. Miami also made gains in this department against Tennessee, going positive in turnover ratio for the first time in three weeks. Miami has won only game in which they have had a positive turnover ratio this year.

Houston has been battling the injury bug this year, and Week 7 is no exception. Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, 2015 2nd round draft pick linebacker Benardrick McKinney, and newly resigned cornerback Kareem Jackson have already been ruled out of this game. In addition, 2014 overall number one draft pick linebacker Jadeveon Clowney and guard Brandon Brooks are also listed as day-to-day. Running back Arian Foster is finally back after being sidelined by a groin injury to start the season, so the Houston injuries are definitely concentrated on the defensive side of the ball right now.

On defense, the Texans have gone from one of the top ranked teams in 2014 to near the bottom. One of the reasons for this is the uninspiring play of 34-year-old free agent signing Vince Wilfork, who has been unable to draw the double teams that he has in the past at the nose tackle position. Leave it up to the Patriots to get rid of an aging star just at the precipice of his decline in ability - we’ve seen this show before. On offense, the Texans should improve greatly with the return of Arian Foster. Forcing your two backup level quarterbacks to throw the ball to stay in games is not a recipe for success. The Texans are 3rd in the league in passing yards, but 28th in the league in completion percentage.

Miami QB, Ryan Tannehill, threw two interceptions last week, which continued his streak of throwing 2 or more interceptions for three games in a row now. He has thrown for 2 touchdowns in his last four games; however, that includes losing performances against the Jets and Buffalo were he posted QBR’s of 53.0 and 59.7, respectively. Tannehill should be able to build on the performance against Tennessee with Houston though, who have given up a 12/5 TD/INT ratio so far through six games and have only recorded 9 sacks.

It is hard for me to decide which team will show up in this game on both sides of the ball for the Dolphins. However, I do like the fact that both of these offenses put together complete performances in Week 6 en route to putting up 31 and 38 points each. For this reason, I think the value here lies in the Over as long as it stays at 45 points or below on the NFL odds board. It’s there now, so I’m taking Over 44.5 in this game as one of my Week 7 NFL picks.

NFL Picks: 'Over' 44.5 at Pinnacle

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