Miami Dolphins (0-0SU,0-0ATS) vs.Houston Texans(0-0SU,0-0ATS)
Date/Time:Sunday, September 9/1 PM EST
Where:Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
byVesper Abadon,Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:Mia +10.5/Hou -10.5
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Since joining the NFL in 2002, the Houston Texans have lost to every team at least once with the exception of the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins. The Texans have beaten the former team on two occasions while winning six times against the latter. The Texans will square off against both teams in the 2012 season, beginning with the Dolphins in Week 1.
With Arian Foster manning the helm, the Texans, who went 3-1 in the preseason, have put together an offensive powerhouse that have them as early Super Bowl contenders; on the flip side, the Dolphins, who finished 0-4 in the preseason, are in a rebuilding phase with a new head coach (Joe Philbin) and quarterback (Ryan Tannehill). To put it lightly, all signs point to the Texans making it 7-0 against the downcast Fins franchise.
The Texans are primed to improve on last years 10-6 finish with the aforementioned Foster, who rushed for 1,224 yards and ten touchdowns in 2011, leading perhaps the leagues best rushing tandem alongside Ben Tate, who put up 942 yards and four touchdowns of his own. Last year, the Dolphins held opponents to an average of 95.6 yards per game, but they gave up more than that in their Week 2 matchup against the Texans. The Dolphins defense managed to hold Foster to just 33 yards in that game, but that opened the door for Tate to run rampant, carrying 23 times for 103 yards.
Try as they might, the Dolphins just cant find a way to beat the Texans. When they successfully shut down Foster, Tate pounded them on the ground, not to mention Andre Johnsons seven receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown through the air. The retirement of defensive end Jason Taylor and departure of both cornerback Will Allen (New England) and safety Yeremiah Bell (NY Jets) from the Dolphins will only allow the Texans to move up and down the field with more ease.
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Offensively, the Dolphins are a mess entering the 2012 season. Tannehill is an untested rookie, while back-up QBs Matt Moore and David Garrard have been hindered by trade rumors and injury respectively. Toss in the drama from HBOs Hard Knocks, an unproven head coach, and an utterly insipid receiving corps minus Brandon Marshall (who was traded to the Bears), and the math adds upthe Fins have one of the worst offenses in the league. The only bright spots are running back Reggie Bush and wide receiver Davone Bess, though injury concerns plague the former while the latter is simply a slot/third-down receiver, albeit one of the best in the league.
As if things couldnt look more bleak for the Fins, the Texans ranked fourth in rushing defense (96.0 Yds/Game) and third (189.7 Yds/Game) in passing last year, which should effectively shutdown both Bush and Bess. Even after losing Mario Williams (Buffalo), DeMarco Ryans (Philadelphia) and Jason Allen (Cincinnati), the Texans should have no problem containing and exploiting the Dolphins lackluster offense.
Vesper AbadonsPick to Cover the Point Spread:Barring some surprise 2008 antics, such as the then-effective Wildcat, when the Dolphins shockingly racked up 11 wins, I believe itll be a long and arduous road for the South Florida team. With that said, the Fins do have a reputation of keeping things close; in fact, half of their losses last year were by three points or less. For me, the question isnt if the Texans will beat the Dolphins in Week 1, but whether or not they will do it by ten-and-a-half points. Im confident Matt Schaub, Johnson, Foster and Tate will find the endzone enough to make it happen, but Im not comfortable betting the over as I suspect the Dolphins will have a hard time putting up points.
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