Dolphins vs Bills Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Saturday Night NFL

Dolphins vs Bills Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Saturday Night NFL article feature image
  • The Miami Dolphins travel north to Orchard Park to take on the Buffalo Bills in Saturday night NFL action.
  • With plenty of snow in the forecast, the Bills enter as -7 favorites.
  • Check out John LanFranca's full betting preview and pick for Dolphins vs. Bills below.

Dolphins vs. Bills Odds

Saturday, Dec. 17
8:15 p.m. ET
NFL Network
Dolphins Odds
-108o / -113u
Bills Odds
-108o / -113u
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The NFL schedule makers must have been in the holiday spirit when they gifted fans a Saturday night primetime game with major conference implications. The Bills host the Dolphins in a contest that will help shape the AFC playoff picture. Buffalo cannot afford a loss, as the Chiefs’ chances of running the table is quite high.

In the first matchup between these AFC East rivals (Week 3), the Bills passed the football an astonishing 63 times in a close loss. Quite a lot has changed since then, including a clear shift in offensive philosophy for the Bills specifically.

Buffalo's transformation, combined with the issues the Dolphins’ offense brings into this game, has created an edge on the total for bettors to exploit.

Dolphins vs. Bills Matchup Analysis

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

Dolphins vs. Bills DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA34
Pass DVOA17
Rush DVOA173
Overall DVOA417
Pass DVOA322
Rush DVOA158

The injury to Josh Allen has clearly had an impact on the entire Bills offense. The Bills averaged 6.6 yards per play prior to their Week 7 bye, which, as many expected, was the best in the NFL. Since then, Buffalo has only boasted the 12th best offense in terms of yards per play (5.6).

However, the true shift in offensive philosophy didn't take place right away, as Buffalo's loss to the Vikings at home in Week 10 seemed to facilitate the adjustment. Over the past four weeks, the Bills have a 48.8% rush rate, a full 10% increase over the previous iteration of this offense. The sharp rise in rush rate includes scrambles by Josh Allen, which seem to be increasing as he becomes more hesitant to pull the trigger on downfield throws.

Bet Miami vs. Buffalo at FanDuel

Allen is not taking chances nearly as often, which has caused his yards per attempt to decrease significantly. In Weeks 1-10, Allen averaged 8.01 yards per attempt, fifth best in the NFL. Since then, the Bills signal caller has averaged just 6.35 yards per attempt on 129 passes, ranking him outside the top 30 at the position — just behind the likes of Sam Darnold, Kenny Pickett and Davis Mills.

When these teams met earlier this season, the Dolphins came out aggressive on defense, blitzing early and often. As the game progressed, they were not as willing to take chances challenging Allen. Buffalo dominated time of possession, but struggled to create the big play.

I see a very similar gameplan coming from Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, as he will lean on a rushing defense that has only allowed 3.77 yards per carry to opposing ball carriers and ranks as the eighth best in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The way to attack this Miami defense is through the air, and oddly enough, I am not confident the Bills will go back to the pass-heavy attack that made Allen the early season MVP front-runner.

The Bills aren’t the only ones struggling to reach their full potential on offense. The Dolphins have scored only 17 points in back-to-back games. In fact, with the exception of a furious comeback against Baltimore back in Week 2, this offense has only scored over 20 points against defenses that rank 20th, 24th, 27th and 32nd in total defensive DVOA.

The Bills defense is an elite unit, ranking in the top five in both DVOA and yards per pass attempt allowed this season. To make matters worse, both Tyreek HIll and Jaylen Waddle won't be 100% healthy for this game. Hill is still incredibly dangerous, but Waddle has clearly been limited in recent weeks catching only three balls for 40 yards over the past two games after averaging 87 yards per game prior to his injury.

According to Next Gen Stats, the Chargers used press coverage at a season-high rate versus the Dolphins last week. The Miami offense was able to complete only 1-of-8 passing attempts when targeting receivers who were pressed at the line of scrimmage. The 49ers implemented a similar tactic in the week prior because it disrupts the timing of Tua Tagovailoa and his pass catchers.

Tagovailoa excels when he can get the ball out of his hands quickly, but struggles when he has to hold the ball for more than 2.5 seconds. Tagovailoa was 3-of-13 passing last Sunday when he held the ball longer than 2.5 seconds. That, according to ESPN Stats & Info, was the worst completion percentage on those such throws by any player this season.

Betting Picks

The last factor that leads me to believe there is value on the under in this game is, of course, the weather. There are conflicting reports on how much snowfall there will be by the time the game kicks off on Saturday night, but one thing we know for sure — it will be cold. As the astute Evan Abrams pointed out, Tagovailoa has yet to start a game in either his college or pro career that was cold as it will be in Buffalo this weekend.

In divisional games played outdoors this NFL season, the under has hit at an incredible 67.4% rate. Expect the conservative approach of Allen and Ken Dorsey to grind out another victory at home as the Bills rely on their defense to limit the big plays of the Miami offense. Play the under as soon as you are done reading this and hope the weather forecast worsens from now until kickoff.

Pick: Under 44.5 | Bet to 42

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