New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins Pick
New England Patriots (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (3-7 SU, 3-7 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, December 9th, 1:00 PM
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
By Mike Mann., NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NE -8/ MIA+8 (Bovada)
Over/Under Total: 47
AFC East foes meet in Miami when the Dolphins host the Patriots on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. New England has had the upper hand over the last few years with a 13-4 record in their last 17 games against the Dolphins, but all four of those losses have come in their last five trips to Miami.
The Dolphins have had similar success this year at home, going 5-1 at Hard Rock Stadium but a disappointing 1-5 on the road. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been even better in the friendly confines of his home stadium, as the team has gone a perfect 8-0 in his last eight games started in Miami.
THE DOLPHINS PASSING GAME
Unfortunately for Tannehill his wide receiver arsenal has been reduced in recent weeks. Albert Wilson was lost to the IR with a hip injury while leading wideout Danny Amendola injured his knee two weeks ago against the Colts and his availability against New England remains in question after missing last weeks game against the Bills.
With Wilson and possibly Amendola out, the main options for Tannehill remain Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and Kenayn Drake. Fans are hoping a revitalized Parker can continue his momentum from last week and spark a passing offense that ranks just 28thin the NFL and has heavily contributed to them also ranking 29thin scoring and 25thin yards per game.
WHEN THE DOLPHINS RUN
Miami’s rushing game plan is the two-headed attack of Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake. The immortal bruiser Gore leads the team in yards, while the dual threat Drake has scored all four of the teams’ total rushing touchdowns on the season. Their overall running game is 23rdin the NFL and if the Dolphins want to continue their now possible run at a Wild Card spot either the rushing or the passing game will need to improve on a consistent basis.
The Patriots have had opposite success as the Dolphins on the offensive side of the ball, ranking 7thin scoring and yards per game, 9th in passing and 11thin rushing. They are coming off an impressive showing against a tough Minnesota defense, which makes it back-to-back outings with at least 24 points after their disappointing performance against the Titans two weeks ago.
THE PATRIOTS RUNNING GAME
New England’s running game got a boost with the return of Rex Burkhead from injury. He adds an additional dynamic and provides relief for feature back Sony Michel along with 2nd and 3rd down specialist James White. With the dynamic Cordarelle Patterson along with three touchdowns in three weeks James Develin, the Patriots have plenty of options to take the heat off of Tom Brady and their at times explosive passing offense.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASS
One notable difference from years’ past in the Patriots passing game is that Rob Gronkowski is still clearly affected by his many injuries and he will likely never be at a 100% level again, whether it be this year or if he even continues to play into next. Even at a lesser level he still remains one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, and will also continue to command attention from opposing defenses even at a depleted state.
In addition to Gronkowski, Tom Brady has plenty of other options to throw to. Despite a late start to his season with the Patriots, Josh Gordon is second on the team in yards and has been a welcome addition in every sense of the word since his bargain trade for just a fifth round pick. Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan round out of the wide receivers, but it’s running back James White who leads the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
There are plenty of interesting against the spread trends entering the game that you can follow at your own risk. The under has hit in five straight Patriots games and four straight for the Dolphins, while the under has gone 8-2 in the last ten New England road games and 5-1 in Miami’s last six games against the AFC. Miami is 5-1 in their last six home games and New England is 17-6 in their last 23 on the road.
THE FINAL DECISION
One of the biggest trends of late in this game is the home domination, as the host team is 13-3 in the last sixteen matchups between the teams. With four wins in their last five games at home against New England and Ryan Tannehill’s recent run of success in Miami, the recent trends are points to Miami but I am going in the opposite direction. The Patriots have a first round bye in their sites and this time around will get the job done with what I believe will be an easy win and cover against the Dolphins. It’s not often I would recommend buying a point on a spread, but with the line at 8 I would spend the extra dollars to lock in the common total and bring it down to 7.
Mike’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New England –7 (-130)