Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (3-5 SU, 4-4 ATS), NFL Week 10, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, November 15, 2009, Land Shark Stadium, Miami, Fla. TV: FOX
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Buccaneers +10/Dolphins -10
Over/Under: 43.5

It will be the battle of the state of Florida when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins battle in Miami on Sunday for state bragging rights.

It’s amazing what a bye week and a change of quarterbacks can do. The Buccaneers are finally off the schneid, as they won their first game of the season with a 38-28 home win over the Packers with rookie Josh Freeman making the move to starting quarterback.

The 38 points the Bucs scored were easily the most they scored all season. Their previous high was just 21. They’ve given up at least 28 points in all but two games this season. Freeman’s statistics weren’t spectacular against the Packers but he came through when it mattered in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes. Freeman finished for 14-for-31 for 205 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The Bucs haven’t had much of a running game this season, and they had just 81 rushing yards against the Packers. The Bucs came away with three interceptions, including a last minute interception return for a touchdown by Tanard Jackson to seal the victory.

The Dolphins started 0-3 but, since moving Chad Henne to the starting quarterback job after Chad Pennington was injured in the third game of the season, they are 3-2. The wildcat formation has carried the Dolphins offense. The Dolphins have scored at least 30 points in four of their eight games. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have combined for 1,022 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Since Henne took over, he has 990 passing yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Both teams have quite the one-dimensional offenses. The Bucs can run the ball a little bit with Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward, but they rely more on the passing game. Tight end Kellen Winslow is the main receiving target for the Bucs. Henne has a strong arm for the Dolphins, but he doesn’t have many quality receivers to throw to. Other than the running backs, tight end Anthony Fasano and wide receiver Davone Bess are the main targets for the Dolphins. But as long as Henne doesn’t turn the ball over, the Dolphins are quite effective relying on their running game.

The four games that the Dolphins scored at least 30 points all came in a row in two wins over the Jets, a win over the Bills and a loss to the Saints. Last week, they lost 27-17 to the Patriots. Against the Bills, the Dolphins ran for 250 yards. Against the Jets the first time, they only ran for 151 yards (a good amount for most teams but low for Miami) but Henne picked up the slack with 241 yards and two touchdowns. Since then, the Dolphins haven’t reached 150 rushing yards in a game. They were bailed out against the Jets the second time around with two kickoff returns for touchdowns by Tedd Ginn, Jr. And when the Dolphins can’t dominate on the ground, Henne can’t carry the offense and the Dolphins usually aren’t very successful.

The Dolphins are averaging 34.3 points per game in their last three home games. They’ve given up at least 25 points in each of their last four games. The Bucs have allowed 33 points in two of their road games. The Dolphins are 4-1 ATS in their last five games. The total has gone over in four of Miami’s last five games. The Bucs are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games. The total has gone over in seven of the Bucs’ last 10 games.

Ryno’s Pick: The Dolphins have been scoring points this season. They have at least 30 points in half of their games. And the Bucs don’t have a good defense at all, so the Dolphins should be able to move the ball easily against them. The Dolphins pass defense is weak, so Freeman should be able to complete some passes. The game will come down to which defense can force turnovers and stop the opposing offense. The Dolphins have the much better defense. But the Bucs now have a better offense with Freeman at quarterback, as shown by their 38 points against the Packers. The total is set at 43.5 and the Dolphins have gone over that number in their last five games. The Dolphins will win this game, but 10 points are a lot for them to cover. These teams will score a lot of points, so the over is the best play. Take the over of 43.5.