NFL Picks: Low Total for Dolphins vs. Bills Puts Betting Value on Over

Jason Lake

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 6:08 PM GMT

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 6:08 PM GMT

Tyrod Taylor is one of several Buffalo Bills returning to action this week. Will that make the OVER the right NFL pick for Sunday's week 9 matchup with the Miami Dolphins?

Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 3: 26-21-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 18-27 Total
 

There's an old saying about how you shouldn't change horses mid-stream. But what if you have the bye week to make the transition? If you recall our piece on the Tennessee Titans and the “midseason coaching change” betting trend, we found that teams have gone 7-14 ATS the week after switching head coaches – provided that change wasn't made during the bye. The Miami Dolphins had all that extra time to prepare for the Titans in Week 6 after firing Joe Philbin, and they crushed Tennessee 38-10 (OVER 44).

It looked like the Dolphins were about to roll over the rest of the league, but they ran into a brick wall last week: the New England Patriots. They held Miami to a lone touchdown in a 36-7 victory (UNDER 51). Now the Fins have to get their offense figured out for Sunday's AFC East battle (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) with the Buffalo Bills, who are welcoming back a number of injured players following their bye week. Our NFL odds board shows a total of 44 points for this matchup, down from 45 at the open, with 58 percent of bettors pounding the UNDER at press time.

 

Tinker, Taylor, Sammy, Spy
Since it's November, and it's Ralph Wilson Stadium we're dealing with, let's go right to the weather report: mostly sunny at kick-off with a 10-percent chance of rain and temperatures in the mid-40s. Practically a summer's day in Buffalo. No incentive there for picking the UNDER. The two defenses in question haven't been as stout as advertised, either. Buffalo ranks No. 13 overall in defensive efficiency (No. 12 pass, No. 24 rush) on the fresh DVOA charts at Football Outsiders; Miami ranks No. 20 overall (No. 23 pass, No. 17 rush).

Things get more interesting on the other side of the ball. Buffalo sits at No. 12 in offensive efficiency, both against the run and the pass, and that was with QB Tyrod Taylor missing the last three games with a sprained knee. The Bills still went OVER in two of those three games with EJ Manuel at the controls to “improve” to 4-3. Manuel was a shade below replacement level at –12 Total DYAR, good enough for a back-up. Taylor (+216 Total DYAR) should be a marked improvement.

The Bills also expect to have WR Sammy Watkins (ankle) back in action this week, although he was limited in practice on Wednesday. There have been mixed reports about Watkins and his status, and goodness knows we can't put too much stock in the injury reports, but if he plays, Buffalo's offense will be that much better on Sunday. We also expect Miami's No. 18-ranked offense (No. 22 pass, No. 10 rush) to bounce back from last week's disappointing results. We'll put the OVER in our Week 9 NFL picks at these deflated prices, and we'll like it.

Free NFL Pick: Take OVER 44 (–107) at Heritage

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