- Win Over/Under: 6.5 (-135/+115)
- Make AFC Playoffs: +475 (17%)
- Win AFC East: +1000 (9%)
- Win AFC Championship: +5000 (1.9%)
- Win Super Bowl: +10000 (1.1%)
The Action Network’s 2018 Miami Dolphins Projected Wins: 6.34 (25th)
Fourteen of the past 15 AFC Championships have been won by a quarterback with the last name Brady, Roethlisberger or Manning, and with two of those three still going strong, it’s fair to say the Dolphins have a better shot at trading one of their own players to a Super Bowl team than reaching it themselves (word to Jay Ajayi).
Except for the year Tom Brady tore his ACL, the Patriots have won every AFC East title over that 15-year span (and I’m pretty sure not having to face defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh twice a year anymore drastically reduces Brady’s injury risk).
If you’re looking for value, the Dolphins’ playoff odds are your best bet. Just don’t make it based solely on their 2016 playoff appearance and quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s return.
The Dolphins’ 2016 point differential implied only 7.6 wins, and Tannehill has still never won more than eight starts in a season. (He’s also never won fewer than six, which makes him the Jeff Fisher of quarterbacks.)
On top of that, three of the 2016 squad’s five top players – Suh, Ajayi and Jarvis Landry — have since been pushed out under the ruse of a “culture reset.” (Head coach Adam Gase would be more believable as a “culture connoisseur” if he hadn’t begged Jay Cutler out of retirement last year.)
The defense should be better — Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn, Xavien Howard, Reshad Jones and Minkah Fitzpatrick are nice pieces — but the unit last year still finished bottom-five in points allowed and Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average, and it lost its best player in Suh.
Factor in Pro Football Focus’ 20th-ranked offensive line and a rookie kicker slated to start, and seven wins might be a struggle.
Facing the AFC South means playing two playoff teams in the Jaguars and Titans as well as quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson.
Facing the NFC North requires daunting late-season trips to Green Bay and Minnesota as well as potential trap games vs. Detroit and Chicago coming off bye weeks. According to BetLabs, home teams are just 36-41 in the last five years vs. opponents coming off a bye.
And facing Oakland and Cincinnati means squaring off against two quarterbacks with career passer ratings better than Tannehill’s and two coaches with career winning percentages higher than Gase’s.
With Tannehill, the Dolphins supposedly have the second-best quarterback in a bottom-heavy AFC East. But before writing off the Bills and Jets as glorified practice squads, consider that the Bills are 6-3 against Tannehill (39-48 against everyone else) and the Jets are 5-4 against him (33-54 otherwise).
Tannehill may look like the second coming of Dan Marino compared to Cutler, but I’d still rather binge watch “Very Cavallari” seven times in a row than sweat out the Dolphins trying to win seven games. – Chris Raybon
The Bet: Under 6.5 wins
Miami Dolphins 2018 Schedule
- Games favored: 5
- Avg. spread: +3.1
- Strength of schedule: 15th (1 = Easiest, 32 = Hardest)
Survivor Pool 101
- Use the Dolphins: Week 9 vs. NYJ
- Use Dolphins’ opponents: Week 4 @ NE, Week 10 @ GB, Week 15 @ MIN
Fantasy Football Outlook
- Top Pick: RB Kenyan Drake
- Sleeper: TE Mike Gesicki
- Potential Bust: WR DeVante Parker
Best of “I’ll Take That Bet” on ESPN+
“We took a lot of over action on Miami, and they are our biggest liability in that market so far. We moved them from 6 to 6.5 with the over at -135.”
– Westgate bookmaker Jeff Sherman to The Action Network’s Michael Leboff
Gase to Be the First Coach Fired? (Yes +650)
Gase deserves credit for once making “quarterback Tim Tebow” a thing, coaxing a career-high passer rating out of Cutler in 2015 and managing a .500 record with the janky rosters handed to him by GM Mike “Don’t Foul Him Out!” Tannenbaum. Even so, Gase has mapped out quite the blueprint for getting fired.
- Create unrealistically high expectations in Year 1.
- Hand Cutler the keys to the offense (and then pass more on first down than any other team in the league).
- Tell one of your best players to go screw himself when he approaches you with constructive input for your atrocious Cutler-led offense.
- Have one of your assistant coaches get fired for filming himself railing lines of cocaine.
Gase is the only coach owner Stephen Ross hasn’t fired in the middle of the season. Yet. – Chris Raybon
The Bet: Gase to be fired first +650
Target Tannehill as a Contrarian Home Underdog in DFS
Drafting Tannehill in anything other than a 2QB league would be taking the late-round quarterback strategy waaaaay too far. Instead, why not use him in DFS, where his lack of popularity can work to your advantage?
According to the FantasyLabs NFL Trends tool, Tannehill has averaged a +2.28 Plus/Minus and 71% Consistency Rating on DraftKings as a home dog since 2014. His average ownership in those games? 1.3%. – Chris Raybon