Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon to Opt Out of NFL Season: Dolphins a Smart Bet vs. Patriots in Week 1?


Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Outside linebacker Dont’a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots

The 2020 NFL season is still 44 days away, yet important player news is already hitting the wire. A handful of New England Patriots players, including starting right tackle Marcus Cannon, top linebacker Dont’a Hightower and strong safety Patrick Chung, will reportedly opt out of the upcoming season.

Considering New England’s other offseason losses, like some guy named Tom Brady, are the personnel losses enough to make the Dolphins a smart bet as 7-point underdogs against the Patriots in Week 1?

Interestingly, the recent player opt-outs have had no effect on Dolphins vs. Patriots Week 1 odds — this spread has not budged since DraftKings opened New England -7 (-110) back on July 9.

Are Tuesday’s opt-outs enough to warrant a bet on the Dolphins in Week 1? In my opinion, no. However, there are plenty of other factors to consider in addition to the loss of key starters.

Dolphins vs. Patriots Week 1 Betting Analysis

*Odds as of July 28 at 11:30 a.m. ET

2020 NFL Simulations

According to The Action Network’s NFL simulations, the Patriots should be 5.8-point favorites, indicating that there is already value taking Miami, especially with the key betting numbers of +6 and +7 in play.

NFL Betting Systems

Our Bet Labs software allows users to quickly and efficiently analyze millions of historical data points in order to find profitable trends and create winning NFL betting systems.

I’ve spent plenty of hours hammering away with Bet Labs and have one strong historical angle also liking the Dolphins.

Since the start of the 2005 season, NFL underdogs that won six or fewer games the previous season are 178-131-10 (57.6%) against the spread.

This trend makes real world sense as well. Casual bettors will spend the first few weeks of each new season making wagering decisions based on the previous year’s performance and results, so there is value taking a contrarian betting approach and playing last season’s worst teams getting points.

Miami, currently a 7-point underdog against New England, won just five games in 2019, making it a fit for this winning historical trend.


In my mind, the loss of key players opting out due to the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t enough alone to bet the Dolphins, and the market agrees.

However, considering there are already multiple other reasons independent of the opt-outs, like our NFL simulations and historical betting data, to see an edge with Miami, I went ahead and locked in the Dolphins (+7) against the Patriots in Week 1.

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

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