Dolphins-Vikings Betting Preview: Sell High After the ‘Miami Miracle’?
Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Adam Gase, Dowell Loggins
Betting odds: Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings
- Spread: Vikings -7.5
- Over/Under: 44.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: Though some books opened this game up in the -8 range, the line dropped to the key number of 7 for a while before bumping up to 7.5.
The line even dropped to 6.5 on a couple of occasions, but it appears sharp bettors like the Vikes if they don’t need to lay a touchdown. Miami is getting around 40% of bets and dollars (see live data here). — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Dolphins are coming off a 34-33 win over the Patriots as 8.5-point underdogs. Oddsmakers aren’t giving Miami much credit for their miracle win.
In the past five seasons, teams that won their previous game as a touchdown or greater underdog and then are getting 7 or more points in their next game have gone 1-18 straight up and 4-15 against the spread, per our Bet Labs data. — John Ewing
Miami (7-6) has a winning record but a negative point differential (-55). Since 2003, teams with a winning record but the pythagorean win% of a losing team, like the Dolphins, have gone 119-152-12 (44%) ATS. — John Ewing
The Dolphins are in a unique spot after the “Miami Miracle.” Since 2011, 17 teams have defeated the Patriots at home in the regular season. Those teams have gone 5-12 straight up and 3-14 ATS in their next game. — Evan Abrams
Under Mike Zimmer, Minnesota is 13-3 ATS (81.3%), when playing at home off a straight up loss, covering the spread by 6.8 points per game. Bettors have profited 9.2 units under Zimmer in that span, making him the most profitable coach in the NFL in this spot. — Evan Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs vs. Miami’s pass defense
Let’s be real: Thielen and Diggs are mismatches pretty much every time they step out on the field.
The real talking point here is whether the Vikings will be able to exploit those mismatches now that they’ve canned former offensive coordinator John DeFilipo.
Contrary to the popular narrative and the viewpoint of Zimmer, DeFilipo was correct in not running the ball more.
The Vikings are tied for 26th in yards per carry on early downs (4.07) and 31st in first-down rate on early-down rushes (16.9%), but they’re 14th in net yard per pass on early downs (6.95) and 13th in first-down rate on early-down passes (33.6%) — not to mention, the correlation between early-down rush attempt rate and point differential has been slightly negative this season.
Where DeFilipo truly erred was in letting his team’s inability to run the ball curb his play-action usage and deep shots, as Cousins’ 18.6% play-acton rate and 10.3% deep passing rates rank 30th and 27th, respectively.
But this is not the time to change course. Not only do the Dolphins rank nine spots better in DVOA vs. the run (17th) than the pass (26th), but they’re also 29th in short-passing DVOA and 31st in yards per pass allowed on early downs (8.09).
The Dolphins won’t have an answer for Diggs when they go man if Xavien Howard (knee) sits out; Howard is ranked 22nd in Pro Football Focus’ cornerback coverage grades while Minkah Fitzpatrick ranks 73rd and Torrey McTyer ranks 110th. In the slot, Thielen will draw either Fitzpatrick or Bobby McCain (98th).
If it’s more rushing attempts Zimmer wants, newly appointed offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski needs to keep his boss happy with rushes of the late-game variety that come about because the team is ahead, and not fall into the trap of establishing the run on early downs against a defense that’s more vulnerable to the pass.
If Minnesota gets behind the chains, there’s no doubt Miami and future opponents will copy Seattle’s formula of doubling both Thielen and Diggs and forcing Cousins to beat them with one of his other receivers, which he hasn’t proven capable of doing this season. — Chris Raybon
Which team is healthier? Vikings
The only key players the Vikings could be without include left tackle Mike Remmers (lower back), defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (hip) and linebacker Eric Kendricks (rib).
The Dolphins aren’t quite so lucky, as right tackle Ja’Waun James (quad), safety T.J. McDonald (ankle), left tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee) and No. 1 cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) should be considered questionable for Sunday.
The likes of DeVante Parker (shoulder), Kenyan Drake (shoulder) and Ryan Tannehill (right shoulder, ankle) are expected to suit up despite practicing in a limited fashion all week.
DFS edge: The Vikings defense matches up well with the Dolphins since the Vikings rank eighth in pressure rate and second in adjusted sack rate.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins have the sixth-lowest scoring rate, and their offensive line ranks 28th in adjusted sack rate.
Historically, home-favorite defenses with comparable spreads to the Dolphins-Vikings game have averaged a +1.44 FanDuel Plus/Minus (per the FantasyLabs Trends tool).
The Vikings are a better value on FanDuel where they have an 82% Bargain Rating. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Dolphins-Vikings Under 44.5
Zimmer just fired his offensive coordinator for not running the ball enough, and as I alluded to earlier, any type of renewed commitment to the run could actually result in a less explosive attack for Minnesota.
Miami is the fifth-worst team at preventing opponents from gaining passing first downs on early downs but fifth-best at doing so against the run.
On the other side of the ball, you have a Miami team that runs at the sixth-highest rate on early downs facing a Vikings defense that stops the run and plays good situational football, ranking first in both third-down and red-zone conversion rate. — Chris Raybon
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.