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Dolphins vs. Titans Odds, Picks, Predictions: Defense Should Rule Critical AFC Battle In NFL Week 17

Dolphins vs. Titans Odds, Picks, Predictions: Defense Should Rule Critical AFC Battle In NFL Week 17 article feature image

Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Titans safey Kevin Byard

  • What's the key to betting this AFC showdown ripe with NFL playoff picture implications in Week 17?
  • Our analyst breaks down the latest Dolphins vs. Titans odds in order to make his picks and predictions.

Dolphins vs. Titans Odds

Dolphins Odds+3.5
Titans Odds-3.5
Time1 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The Titans and Colts square off in a game that’s crucial to the AFC playoff picture. Miami has won seven in a row, and has a shot at becoming the first team to make the playoffs after a 1-7 start. (Of course, the 17th game and expanded playoff format makes that easier than it was in the past.)

Tennessee is 4-3 since the start of November, hanging onto first place in the AFC South despite being without Derrick Henry for that span, and missing one or both of star wideouts Julio Jones and A.J. Brown for most of it.

The Titans are only one game out of the AFC’s top seed. Henry could return as early as Week 18, but a few extra weeks (via a first-round playoff bye) would be ideal for the health of their star running back. Can they keep their hopes alive by ending the Dolphins’ winning streak?

Click the arrow to expand injury reports

Dolphins vs. Titans Injury Report

Dolphins Injuries

  • WR Preston Williams (COVID) : Out
  • DT Adam Butler (COVID): Out
  • S Adam Jones (COVID): Out

Titans Injuries

  • LB Bud Dupree (COVID): Out
  • WR Nick Wetbrook-Ikhine (COVID): Out
  • WR A.J. Brown (calf): Questionable

Dolphins vs. Titans Matchup

Dolphins OffenseDVOA RankTitans Defense
Dolphins DefenseDVOA RankTitans Offense
Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.
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Dolphins Win With Defense

Miami’s offense can be best described as “good enough.” The Dolphins don’t do anything especially well, as evidenced by their DVOA numbers. They rank 21st in scoring per game, and have topped 30 points only twice (against the Jets and Panthers). This is a bit of a disappointment, though. Dolphins fans were surely hoping for a Year 2 leap from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, similar to what we’ve seen from fellow sophomore quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert.

The skill position talent around Tagovailoa has held him back. Miami signed Will Fuller in the offseason, and drafted Jaylen Waddle to complement Devante Parker. Fuller has played roughly five quarters all season, while Parker has missed more than half of the games. That’s made it tough sledding for Tagovailoa, but he’s done enough to keep Miami competitive. He’s completed more than 70% of his passes, and taken care of the ball reasonably well.

The strength of the Dolphins is, of course, their defense. Besides ranking eighth in DVOA, they rank top 10 in turnovers forced, points per game allowed and lead the league in sacks. That defensive pressure will be valuable against a Titans team than ranks 31st in adjusted sack rate allowed.

The Dolphins defense fares better against the pass than the run, which is a slight concern against the Titans who are better at running the ball. However, the Titans’ DVOA numbers factor in the first half of the season when they had Henry. If Miami’s offense can get a lead, the Titans will have a hard time moving the ball through the air against the Dolphins.

Titans Surviving Without Henry

The Titans offense post-Henry is very similar to the Dolphins. They’ve been able to do just enough to win games with their defense, and haven’t scored 30 points since the big dog was healthy. The return of Brown to the lineup last week gave us a taste of what they’re capable of though.

Brown was targeted on 16 of Ryan Tannehill’s 29 attempts, and accounted for more than 70% of his passing yards. The 49ers struggled to contain Brown, despite how clearly one-dimensional the offense was.  I don’t expect that to continue, though. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores should tilt coverage heavily toward Brown and dare the Titans to beat them with anybody else.

Like Miami, the strength of the Titans lies in their defense. Much like Miami, they’re better at defending the pass than they are the run. That seems to be the case with most successful teams in today’s NFL, though it’s easier said than done.

Anyway, that’s a good setup to contain Miami. The Dolphins have done next to nothing in the rushing game this year, ranking 30th in yards per game and dead-last in yards per attempt. Tennessee can focus on stopping the Dolphins passing offense in this one. Like Miami, it also ranks top 10 in adjusted sack rate on the season.

Dolphins vs. Titans Predictions

The notable thing in analyzing this game for me was how hard it will be for both teams to catch up if they fall behind. Both teams have strong defenses, particularly against the pass. They both feature strong pass rushes and do well at defending deep plays. That leads to a few possible betting situations.

First, “team that scores first wins” is -200 at BetMGM. That’s solid, particularly given the low total in this one. (Higher-scoring games lead to more opportunities for either team to come back.) However, we can do better.

Perusing the DraftKings menu, I noticed a similar prop. However, DraftKings forces you to pick a team. Their pricing is much better, though, with Miami to score first and win at +310, and Tennessee at +135. That means we can bet 0.75 of a unit on the Titans, and 0.33 of a unit on Miami to win a unit if the team that scores first wins. That’s a risk of 1.08 units to win one, compared to risking two on BetMGM for the same payout. Of course, feel free to bet one team or the other if you have a strong lean on who will win.

Picks: Titans to score first and win +135 (0.75 units), Dolphins to score first and win +310 (0.33 units) | Bet to: Combined odds of -110

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