Miami Dolphins (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 8, 2015, 1:00 pm EST
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y.
TV: CBS, DirecTV 705
by Badger, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA +3/BUF -3
Over/Under Total: 44
Two teams still battling to get back to .500 will renew a classic AFC East rivalry this Sunday in early NFL action, when the Miami Dolphins go on the road to play the Buffalo Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium on CBS.
The Dolphins had been the talk of the NFL for a few weeks with the remarkably quick turnaround behind interim head coach Dan Campbell, but the glass slipper was shattered last week when Tom Brady and the Patriots shredded the Dolphins for a Thursday Night Football whoopin, 36-7. After scoring 38 and 44 points respectively the past two weeks during the streak, the Dolphins offense came crashing down around Ryan Tannehill against the Pats. Tannehill threw two interceptions and struggled on third down in the loss, mistakes he wasnt making during the short win streak and mistakes he cant afford to make against the Bills on the road in Orchard Park this weekend.
Buffalo has been losing too much lately, including two in a row with starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor sitting out, and three out of their last four including a, 34-31, loss to Jacksonville in Wembley Stadium in London, England, their last time on the field before sitting out last week with a bye. With Taylor listed as probable for Sundays game, the Bills are hoping his return is the spark that will get them back into the AFC playoff picture.
What this game brings in terms of rivalry should be exciting, but the game as far as point spreads and wild betting storylines has thus far been a big dud. The game opened with Buffalo as your standard 3-point favorite at home and it has sat at Buffalo minus -3 for over 48 hours already with pretty even action on both sides of the number. With solid action on both sides, I dont see the number moving anytime soon either.
The over/under total opened at 46 at a few sportsbooks and has quickly dropped to 44 at most books. Youll probably find a 44.5 at a few sportsbooks too, if you look hard enough to take the result of a push out of play.
It almost seems as if Miami has seen a resurgence under Campbell at coach because someone finally challenged them to play physical football. A new dedication to running the football (32 carries vs. Tenn.; 35 vs. Hous.) has paid early dividends for Lamar Miller and the Dolphin offense, but against a Buffalo defense that is ranked 6th versus the run (allow 91.9 ypg) it looks like more responsibility to make plays on offense will have to be placed on Tannehill. Tannehill struggles when hes forced to throw, like last week when they fell behind big numbers early in the game versus the Pats, and you know the young QB will face a heavy blitz package from Rex Ryan that will make him have to adjust plays at the line.
Buffalos offense will hopefully be invigorated by the return of Taylor, and possibly the return of rookie Karlos Williams at running back as he is listed as probable with lingering effects of a concussion. Despite the presence of Ndamukong Suh in the middle, the Dolphins have still given up big yardage in the running game (124.4 ypg 26th) and still have underperformed on defense overall. The Dolphins lost Cameron Wake and his seven sacks to a season-ending Achilles injury, so finding a way to put pressure on Taylor and keep him from extending plays with his legs will be a tough task for Miami on Sunday.
Buffalo will be looking to repeat what they did to the Dolphins in their first meeting this year, when they destroyed them on their home turf to the tune of a, 41-14, thumping. In the game Buffalo ran out to a quick 24-0 lead and forced Tannehill to be uncomfortable in comeback mode and three interceptions later the Dolphins never had a chance. The win was also Buffalos fourth in the last five meetings with Miami (4-1 ATS too).
As you would expect, Miami has had a hard time covering the spread on the road, going 3-8 ATS in their last 11 trips to Buffalo. An under bet is a popular betting trend play, going 5-2 in the last seven games in the rivalry and 4-1 in games played in Buffalo.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This should be a big game for both teams. For Miami, they need to show how they are going to respond after getting it handed to them by the Patriots. For Buffalo, with Taylor back their offense has to do their part to support their strong defense. In the end I think Miamis defense will be the weak link, especially without Wake off the edge on passing downs. Buffalo prevails, but it wont be pretty like most rivalry games, but the Bills will cover in the end at home. Im taking Buffalo minus the points.
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