49ers vs Dolphins Odds, Pick, Prediction: Bet This Week 13 Underdog

49ers vs Dolphins Odds, Pick, Prediction: Bet This Week 13 Underdog article feature image

Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaylen Waddle (left) and Tua Tagovailoa.

  • The 49ers are home favorites against the Dolphins in Week 13.
  • Kyle Shanahan faces his former offensive coordinator in Miami head coach Mike McDaniel.
  • Phillip Kall breaks down the game and makes his prediction below.

49ers vs Dolphins Odds

Sunday, Dec. 4
4:05 p.m. ET
49ers Odds
-110o / -110u
Dolphins Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

I couldn't be more excited to find a 49ers vs. Dolphins pick. Not only do we get two teams that have top-three odds to represent their conference in the Super Bowl. We also get a matchup of master versus apprentice.

The master, Kyle Shanahan, has run circles around the league since he was allowed to call plays. By his side for years was Mike McDaniel. McDaniel was on Shanahan’s staff starting in 2011 as an offensive assistant and followed Shanahan from job to job through last season.

Now, as the head coach of the Dolphins, no one can deny McDaniel learned a great deal from Shanahan. McDaniel’s offense is founded on the same concepts of utilizing playmakers in space and various unique looks to keep defenses unprepared for what is next. 

The stats give all the explanation needed for these schemes as both teams are top six in yards per play. That is despite both teams using other quarterbacks than their current starter for multiple games.

Let’s take a deep dive to see if Shanahan will again show he is the superior offensive mind or if the student will show he is now the master.

49ers vs. Dolphins Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the 49ers and Dolphins match up statistically:

49ers vs. Dolphins DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA25
Pass DVOA110
Rush DVOA142
Overall DVOA1017
Pass DVOA525
Rush DVOA2112

Last week, the Dolphins extended their 30-point game streak to four. The impressive part was that it only took one half to do. They would cap out and not score after the half, but that should not be an indictment on the offense. Tua Tagovailoa was pulled to prevent additional injury due to Terron Armstead being knocked out. Tagovailoa still threw for 299 yards despite not playing the whole game.

Tagovailoa would not be able to have such explosive days if not for his dynamic receiving duo. Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill have worked their way up to the best receiving duo in the NFL. Of receivers with at least 50 targets, Waddle and Hill rank first and second in yards per target.

On the ground, Miami had shown vast improvements recently until this past week. Against the Texans, Miami had its worst rushing output since Week 3. This came as a major shock given how good the Dolphins have been on the ground since adding Jeff Wilson Jr. With Miami, Wilson is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. The return of Raheem Mostert should provide a boost, but finding space against the 49ers' front still will not be easy. 

Defensively, the Dolphins have had their troubles but have shown optimism recently. They have produced a grade over 80 in each of the past two weeks. Their pressure has helped what had been their biggest weakness so far, their coverage unit. Miami has had its two best coverage grades of the season in those games. We will see if they can maintain the new standard against one of the top NFL offenses.

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The 49ers are coming off their worst offensive game since adding Christian McCaffrey. After they put together a perfectly balanced offensive attack against the Cardinals, the struggles against New Orleans were disappointing to see. 

The most disappointing part of the offense has been receiver Deebo Samuel. Last year, Samuel was a wrecking ball and a complete menace with the ball in his hands. Since the addition of McCaffrey, Samuel has just one game with over 60 yards of offense. Before McCaffrey’s arrival, Samuel had just one game under the 60-yard total. Samuel and McCaffrey occupy the same space on the field but this offense will need to find a way to utilize both if it is to meet its ceiling.

A positive spin, though, is this team keeps winning despite the poor play of Samuel, and George Kittle for that matter. Perhaps Shanahan is saving his best ideas for these for competitive games like this one.

While the offense has gone through its peaks and troughs, the defense has consistently remained dominant. They rank first in both points and yards per game allowed and have only had one real collapse against the Chiefs. In their defense for that game, they were missing a few key starters. 

The key player for the defense in this matchup will be Nick Bosa, who has been crushing opponents as he ranks fourth at edge per PFF. He will be matched up against Brandon Shell and Greg Little for the Dolphins. Both of whom rank 63rd or lower at tackle.

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The 49ers may be No. 1 in both points and yards per game but they have had some scheduling help getting there. They have played just one offense as good as the Dolphins and that was the Chiefs in Week 7. They can say injuries played a part in that game, but 44 points and 529 yards aren’t entirely being solved by one or two players. 

San Fran’s defense plays around the pressure its defense creates, but the Dolphins' offense plays to counter that. Tagovailoa has the sixth-lowest time to throw, per Next Gen Stats. This will make it difficult for the 49ers' front to have its typical impact. It will also leave the onus on San Fran’s defensive backs to make plays in space against Miami’s speedy receivers; a very tall task for the Niners' weakest unit defensively.

Fortunately, the 49ers' offense will have a similar advantage against the Dolphins' defense. Miami has poured its resources into the defensive front and while it has paid off, this will be its toughest test. Like Miami’s offense, San Fran’s offense is built around players who are excellent in space. It will be up to Jimmy Garoppolo to get them the ball on time but if he does they should have success gaining yards after the catch.

This means the question comes down to which coach can out-scheme the other and which quarterback can outplay the other. While I will trust Shanahan and McDaniel to make their mark on this game, I will only trust one quarterback to do so. We have seen Tagovailoa in huge close games this year pull throw and lead comeback victories against Baltimore and Buffalo. 

As for Garoppolo, we have seen him in big games against the best opponents and that is when things don’t go as smoothly. His playoff quarterback rating of 74.1 and four to six touchdown to interception ratio says it all. I know this is not the playoffs, but it is a huge game against one of the league’s best. 

Tagovailoa is Pro Football Focus' No. 2 quarterback and has led his team through games like this already this year. I will trust him to do it once again.

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