NFL Preseason Picks Buccaneers vs. Dolphins: O-Line Issues Suggest 'UNDER' Play

Jason Lake

Monday, August 31, 2015 5:24 PM GMT

It's the last week of the NFL preseason, and our last chance to fade Joe Philbin and the Miami Dolphins with our football picks. But will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers comply?

It's hard to believe we're already here at the end of another long season. Okay, preseason. This year's batch of exhibition games hasn't been terribly profitable for us here at the home office, which is disappointing considering how soft the lines are. But we got our money in good, as they say, and we're that much more prepared for the start of the regular season in less than two weeks.

We've also done just fine when it comes to Preseason Plan A: Fade Joe Philbin. His Miami Dolphins are 1-2 ATS this year, bringing Philbin's career preseason record to 4-11 ATS. We'll get one more crack at it Thursday night (7:00 p.m. ET, NFLN) when the Dolphins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; the NFL odds at press time have Miami laying 3.5 points. Gotta love that extra half-point.

 

Branden Albert in a Can
Week 4 of the NFL preseason is much like Week 17 of the regular season, in that you can expect to see a lot less of the starters than usual. This should be especially problematic for the Dolphins, who poured a lot of money into upgrading their first unit (most notably DT Ndamukong Suh) while leaving some holes on the offensive line. Things almost got much worse last week when center Mike Pouncey hurt his knee playing against the Atlanta Falcons, but it appears Pouncey will be ready for the regular season after practising Monday.

The same can't be said for the top two left tackles on Miami's depth chart, Branden Albert (knee) and backup left tackle Jason Fox (concussion). Albert might not even be ready in time for Week 3. Also, the Fins cut veteran back-up center J.D. Walton on Sunday. This is going to put a lot of pressure (well, exhibition-level pressure) on QB Matt Moore and whomever else Philbin decides to play on Thursday.

 

Sack Up
The Buccaneers might not be the best team to take advantage of the situation. They're also 1-2 ATS this preseason, with some real concerns about QB Jameis Winston and the offensive line that's been put in front of him. The No. 1 overall pick sprained his ankle in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals, an injury that Tampa Bay's coaches downplayed at first, but then Winston got sacked four times in last week's 31-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns (+2.5 away).

Fortunately for Winston and the Bucs, they're not likely to see much of Suh and Miami's fearsome starting front seven. Unfortunately, one of their few bright spots on the offensive line, rookie LT Donovan Smith, missed Monday's practice with his right foot in a walking boot. Given the issues both teams are having with their O-lines, we're going to punt on the spread and put the UNDER in our NFL football picks this week. May the prolate spheroid be with you.

Free NFL Pick: Take UNDER 38.5 at WagerWeb

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