NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS 4:00 PM PACIFIC
At one point this was a very heated and hotly contested rivalry. Now? Not so much. The Patriots have become the class of the NFL over the past several years while the Dolphins have been mired somewhere between competence and mediocrity. The Pats looked phenomenal in the preseason, appearing to be in mid season form right out of the gate. For the Dolphins, however, it was many of the same issues that has plagued the team in recent years.
On paper the Patriots are the far superior team and assuming preseason play has any validity for determining regular season performance it’s hard to make a case against them. Despite being one of the biggest ‘public’ teams in the NFL they’ve posted a profitable ATS record on the road since 2009 (8-6 ATS) and as a favorite in this price range (-3.5 to -9.5 points) going 9-6 ATS. On the other side of the field, the Miami Dolphins have one of the worst home field records in any sport during the past couple of seasons—in the past two years they’re 5-11 SU/ATS on their home field.
Despite the ATS case for playing on New England and against Miami, you’re simply not going to win in the long run laying a touchdown plus on the road in the NFL. Furthermore, this series has been surprisingly competitive of late both SU and ATS. New England has won 3 of the last 4 head to head matchups, but the ATS tally is even at 2-2. In Miami, the teams have split the last two games SU and ATS. Dating back to 1992, Miami is 12-7 SU/10-9 ATS on their home field against New England.
My power ratings suggest that the Patriots will win and cover this number, but it’s impossible for me to rationalize laying this big of a price on the road in the opening game of the year. The underdogs carried the day on Sunday going 8-5-1 with six outright victories. Uncertainty about the Dolphins and their home field woes mean no interest in the home team. If you want to play the game I suggest grabbing one of the few -7 prices still available.
Lean to New England
OAKLAND RAIDERS AT DENVER BRONCOS 7:15 PM PACIFIC
Oakland won both games against Denver last season in dominant fashion. With new coach John Fox on the Broncos sidelines, however, don’t be surprised if reversing that tally is a major priority. Fox is an excellent coach and is particularly good at getting the most out of a rebuilding team. Expect a blueprint similar to what he put on the field in Carolina—a conservative, rushing oriented ball control offense. That could be a problem for a Raiders’ run defense that ranked #29 in the league last year. With most of the public money coming in on Denver the line is moving past the ‘key number’ of three at many books. No real interest in betting this game, but lean to Denver.
Lean to Denver
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