Dolphins vs. Patriots Odds & Pick: Back New England’s New-Look Offense (Sunday, Sept. 13)
Kathryn Riley/Getty Images. Pictured: Cam Newton of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
- The new-look New England Patriots open their 2020 season against their AFC East foe Miami Dolphins.
- What should we expect from Sunday’s Week 1 matchup? Where is the betting value?
- Check out Raheem Palmer's full preview and analysis with updated odds below.
Dolphins vs. Patriots Odds
All good things must come to an end.
For the first time since the 2000 season, the New England Patriots open an NFL season without Tom Brady on their Week 1 roster. But if there’s one organization that’s successfully fostered the “next man up” philosophy, it’s New England.
After a tumultuous offseason full of losses, the Cam Newton era of Patriots football begins Sunday afternoon in an AFC East showdown against the Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots are 6.5-point favorites at the time of writing with the over/under set at 42. With so many changes, is there any value betting this matchup? Let’s take a closer look.
Believe it or not, the Dolphins exceeded expectations in 2019. After spending the first half of the season “Tanking for Tua,” Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins to five wins.
His stellar play — the finished with the eighth-best mark in ESPN’s Total QBR — nearly squandered their tanking efforts as the Dolphins averaged 25 points per game over their final nine contests after averaging 11 points per game through their first seven games.
The Dolphins hope to carry the momentum over into this season as Fitzpatrick will be their Week 1 starter. Given the familiarity with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, whom Fitzpatrick played for during stints with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, the veteran QB should be able to find success in this offense.
The addition of Jordan Howard and Matt Breida strengthens a struggling ground game, which had Fitzpatrick (243 yards) as its leading rusher last season.
The Dolphins bolstered the league’s worst offensive line by signing free agents guard Eric Flowers and Ted Karras. While neither are great, they are significant upgrades for an offensive line that was last in adjusted line yards and had the third-worst pressure rate, according to Football Outsiders.
If Fitzpatrick has time to throw, receivers DeVante Parker and Preston Williams should be tough for opposing defenses to stop.
The Dolphins had the worst defense in the league last season finishing last in points allowed and Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA. They’ve made some improvements, however, signing corner Byron Jones, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and edge rushers Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah along with the return of cornerback Xavien Howard.
Still, it remains to be see if this unit can put it together early in the season.
Check out our new NFL PRO Report, where we highlight factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.
New England Patriots
Who could have imagined all of the roster turnover that took place during this Patriots offseason? After 20 seasons, 17 division titles and six Super Bowls, Tom Brady is gone.
Eight Patriots players, including star linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung opted out of the NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns. The Pats’ defense also took hits with the free agent departures of defensive tackle Danny Shelton, linebackers Elandon Roberts, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy as well as safety Duron Harmon.
Last season, the Patriots held opposing offenses to 14.1 points per game, forced 36 turnovers and finished the season ranked third in defensive DVOA. It goes without saying that their defense will have trouble replicating these numbers.
The addition of Newton, provides the Patriots with a new element: The ability to run when plays break down or to move the chains in short yardage situations. The options Newton’s presence provides should make a Patriots offense, with a lack of receiving threats outside of Julian Edelman, more difficult to defend.
The strength of this Patriots offense is their backfield with Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead and Damien Harris along with their offensive line. We should look forward to Newton utilizing play action and getting the ball out quickly to running backs out of the backfield.
Despite all the changes, Bill Belichick’s presence remains consistent. If there’s one place you can gain an edge in sports, it’s coaching, and the Patriots still have the best in the business.
Despite having one of the best secondaries in the league with Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones, it would be unreasonable to expect the Patriots defense to be as stingy as it was last year.
Teams will score on this unit, especially early in the year as it gets acclimated to all of its new pieces. Fitzpatrick will put up points on Sunday, but he’s just as likely to turn the ball over leading to short fields.
On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins — despite making some improvements — aren’t a unit the Patriots should fear. When you look at the 2019 Dolphins, their vulnerability against mobile quarterbacks immediately stands out:
- Lamar Jackson: 324 yards passing, five passing touchdowns
- Dak Prescott: 263 yards passing, two passing TDs, one rushing TD
- Carson Wentz: 310 yards passing, three passing TDs
- Josh Allen, Game 1: 202 yards passing, two passing TDs
- Allen, Game 2: 256 yards passing, three passing TDs, one rushing TD
With a revamped Patriots offense headed by Newton that has yet to be seen on film, we should expect similar results.
The only reference point we have for the circumstances of this season is 2011, when the lockout meant limited training camp and no preseason. That season, a dozen Week 1 games went over.
I see both teams putting up points in this game.
PICK: Over 42