Patriots -4.5 vs. Dolphins Week 1 NFL Picks

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 10:46 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 3, 2014 10:46 PM UTC

New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins are set to open their respective seasons in a highly anticipated AFC East clash. With the bulk of the action coming down the wire on the Pats, let’s look at some interesting stats to determine if the betting public is right.

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
The Patriots are matched as the hot favourites at -225 to win straight up and as the 4.5-point favourites on the spread. Last season, despite being bruised and banged up, the Patriots very nearly reached the playoffs. With Tom Brady calling the plays and his studly weapons returning to health along with an improved defense and bolstered secondary, the betting public is piling on top of the Patriots, pushing the NFL odds even shorter in straight up betting and the spread steadily beyond a field goal.

From 2010 until last season, the Patriots swept the series with the Miami Dolphins, including a convincing 28-0 romp in the last week of the 2012. The Patriots carried that winning streak into 2013 when they beat the Dolphins 27-17 at Gillette Stadium. In the reverse AFC East clash however, the Dolphins finally got into the win column, snapping a seven-game losing streak with a narrow 24-20 win in Miami. 

Clearly, a repeat of that isn’t expected as the Dolphins enter their season home opener as the decided underdogs at +185 to win outright and as the +4.5 underdogs on the spread. If the Dolphins are to mastermind the upset win over the AFC standard for a second straight game, they’ll have to take a page from that last result, in which their stoic defending was arguably the key to denying Tom Brady the comeback win in the late stages.

So which team should NFL bettors back in this highly anticipated opener? Let’s breakdown the stats before delivering our value NFL picks.


How do the Patriots perform as the away favourites?
NFL Betting Odds: New England Patriots -225, -4.5 -110 0/U 47.0
Since 2003, the Patriots are 48-14-0 straight up as an away favourite with an average margin of victory at an incredible 10.8 points, and the average amount of points covered in those instances is +5.0 points. Overall, their winning percentage in outright betting therefore is 77.4%. Add to that a staggering 222-78-0 SU record when matched as overall favourites in NFL betting, which yields a 74.0% winning ratio, and you have a strong case for a Patriots away win.

In 2013, Patriots went 3-2 win-loss as an away favourite, marking a 60 % winning ratio. Average margin of victory was at 5.8 points and the average points they covered the spread by was +1.0.


How do the Miami Dolphins perform as the home underdogs?
NFL Betting Odds: Dolphins +185
Since 2003, the Miami Dolphins are 24-31-0 SU as the home underdogs, marking a 43.6% winning ratio. Given that they lost more than they won as the home underdogs, they have a negative margin of victory - 0.1 and the average amount of points covered on the spread is +3.5.

Since 2012, the so-called Ryan Tannehill era if you will, Miami are 4-3 SU as the home underdogs, which gives us a mildly encouraging 57.1 winning ratio. They boast a 2.4 margin of victory and +5.6 average amount of points covered on the spread.


SU NFL Betting Verdict
If the Dolphins win at home, it will be an upset in no uncertain terms. So dominant are the Patriots that they are the favourites wherever they go (home and away) and the crucial thing to keep in mind they come through on their favourable odds more often than not. The question is whether the Dolphins are the team to prove otherwise. They did accomplish the feat last season, so there is wiggle room for backers looking to pile onto Dolphins’ tempting +185 NFL odds. That said, given the history between these two rivals and their overall SU records in light of the current NFL betting landscape, the Patriots do appear to be the sharp NFL pick to win straight up at -225. Besides, the Patriots really should have won that game last season.


What does ATS performance records for Patriots indicate?
NFL Betting Odds: New England Patriots -4.5 -110
Since 2003, New England Patriots have the best overall ATS record at 112-82-5, which yields a 57.7 % success rate that is marginally better than Indianapolis Colts (largely down to the Peyton Manning era) at 109-82-4 and 57.1%. Where the Patriots impress is in the average margin of victory column, which stands at 9.3 and an average of +3.5 points covered on the spread.

Over the same stretch of time, Patriots are 38-23-1 ATS as the away favourites, which equals a 62.3% winning ratio. The average margin of victory stands at 10.8 and they’ve produced a +5.0 average amount of points covered. It’s worth noting that in the last couple of seasons, their numbers have dropped perceptibly. Since 2012, they are only 4-6-1 ATS as the away favourite, which marks a 40.0% winning ratio. Margin of victory however remains high at 10.6 and average points covered +4.9. Last season was arguably the least impressive as the Patriots underperformed significantly by their lofty standards, producing just a 1-4-0 ATS record as the away favourite, which yields a 20% winning ratio. The average margin of victory was 5.8 while the average amount of points covered was +1.0.


ATS performance for the Miami Dolphins
NFL Betting Odds: Miami Dolphins +4.5 -110
Since 2012, the Miami Dolphins are a healthy 5-1-1 ATS as the home underdogs, which is an encouraging 83.3% winning ratio. The average margin of victory is a narrow 2.4 but the average amount of points the team covered was +5.6. The best stat that stands out for the Miami Dolphins is a 3-0-0 ATS record as the home underdog last season, which yields a 100% winning ratio. The average amount of points covered on the spread was +4.0.


NFL Betting Verdict
While the overall ATS records tip the balance in favour of the Patriots, 2013 ATS trends clearly point towards the Dolphins. You can’t argue with 100% winning ratio can you? So those looking to back Miami to cover as +4.5 underdogs on their NFL picks will feel confident. For our money, there is  simply too much uncertainty surrounding the made over Dolphins as yet.  Testing a new grouping of players against the best in the AFC, in the first week of NFL betting no less, is a tall order. Contrary to popular opinion, Brady is still an influential quarterback even if he’s fast approaching 40 years in age. Last year, he sorely missed Gronkowski, who caught 39 passes for 592 yards and four touchdowns in just six games played before bowing out with an ACL injury. Brady has Gronkowski back, and he is apparently raring to go in Week 1. Patriot have a revamped secondary and front seven that can harass Tannehill to no end and with his yet unproven combination of players in real action, we have to lean towards the Patriots at -4.5 to cover on our NFL picks.

Free NFL Picks: Patriots to win SU and cover 4.5

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