Miami Dolphins vs. Minnesota Vikings Point Spread and Pick to Cover

Miami Dolphins (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (0-1 SU, 0-1
ATS), Week Two NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, September 19, 2010, Mall
of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn., TV: CBS

by Badger of

Point Spread: Mia +5.5/Min -5.5
Over/Under: 40

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When the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings meet in the Vikings
home opener Sunday in the Metrodome, both teams will attempt to turn
the page away from an ugly game in week one.

The Vikings and quarterback Brett Favre just couldnt seem to get the
passing game in sync, so once again the Vikings let the Super Bowl
Champion New Orleans Saints wiggle off the hook for another near-
miss, 14-9, loss in the Superdome. The stellar play of the Vikings
defense against the prolific Saints passing game put a shine on what
was otherwise a turd, and almost allowed them to steal a win despite
the offenses struggles.

Which is exactly what the Dolphins did in week one steal a win.
Miami scored an ugly 15-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday
thanks to their time-consuming running game and a defense that held
the Bills equally ugly offense to under 200 total yards for the day.
But a win is a win, so the Dolphins will try and make it two-for-two
on Sunday by taking another ugly one away on the road in an AFC-NFC
clash in Minneapolis.

The styles of offense these two teams play couldnt be more different if you tried.

The Dolphins use their two-headed running attack of Ronnie Brown and
Ricky Williams to near perfection. While they wear away at the
opponents defense, they also keep their defense fresh and keep the
opposing teams offense off the field all by design.

It worked wonders versus the Bills in the opener. Brown (65 yards,
TD) and Williams (62 yards) ran it just well enough to put enough
points on the board, quarterback Chad Henne was allowed to manage the
game with a solid, yet unspectacular effort (21-of-34 for 182 yards)
and the Miami defense only had to play 51 snaps against a Buffalo
offense that had the ball half as much time as the Dolphins did (36
minutes to 23 minutes).

The Vikings offense as a whole unit didnt play together many snaps
in the preseason and it showed last week against the Saints. Due to
Farves retired/unretired act, injuries along the offensive line and
new faces at receiver, the Vikings offense never seemed to click as
well as we all know they can from watching them last season.

Which is why this week should be interesting to watch because if the
Vikings can get Adrian Peterson established in the game early, it
should help open up some of the crossing routes to Percy Harvin and
get the Vikings offense back into the end zone more often. Tight end
Visanthe Shiancoe (76 yards, TD) became Favres security blanket in
the opener, something opposing defenses will start trying to take
away if the rest of the receiver crew doesnt step up their game

Defensively, the Dolphins game plan should play right into the hands
of the Vikings. The Williams wall of Pat and Kevin (arent they
suspended yet?) will make it tough sledding for the Dolphins
wildcat and other run-first schemes, allowing the pass rush to try
and tee off on Henne on 3rd-and-longs.

Miamis defense will be facing an entirely different animal in the
Vikings when compared to the Bills. They held Buffalo to 50 yards
rushing and a 2.9 yards per carry average, but Minnesota has a better
O-line and some chump named Peterson to change those numbers in a
hurry. The also forced the Bills into certain passing situations
which helped them notch three sacks and a late safety to seal the
victory in week one.

History between these two teams is also limited, with their last meeting on the field coming back in 2006 (a 24-20 Miami win), so
handicapping this game involves even more unknowns. Back in 2006 Joey
Harrington was QB-ing the Dolphins and Chester Taylor was the Vikings
feature back, so you really are comparing two completely different
teams here.

For the record, two Dolphin defensive touchdowns (a fumble return and an interception return) turned the game in favor of Miami back in
2006 and helped the Dolphins cover as 3-point favorites at home. The
game did finish over the ultra-low total of 34.

There are a few betting trends that you should be aware of before
walking up to the window on this game.

Miami has been a great road of late, going 6-1 ATS in their last
seven roadies dating back to last season. But, when you factor in
their early season struggles on offense you find that they are just
2-10-2 ATS in their last 14 games in September and 0-5 ATS the past
five years in week two games.

Meanwhile the Vikings are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six at the Metrodome.

The over/under total may be dropping due to the fact that the under
is historically a strong play for both of these teams, going 10-3 in
Miamis last 13 games in week two and also going 5-1 in the Vikings
last six home games and 8-3 in their last 11 games overall.

Badgers Pick: The way the Vikings offense is playing I still cant
wrap my mind around risking a wager on them yet. And although the
numbers (and defenses) make the under bet here look like the best
value, a low total of 40 (or 39.5) has me thinking about bucking the
trend. A few late scores can push this game over in my mind
(something like a 24-20 or 27-21 score), so Im riding on the over of
40 here.