Buffalo Bills (4-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-4)
One of my favorite things to do as a bettor is go against significant week-to-week line movements. Ordinarily, they’re the result of overreaction to a single week and they create line value in either direction. The line did only move a point from 2 on the early line last week to 3 this week, but, considering about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal, that’s a significant movement. In this case, the Bills’ 45-16 trouncing of the lowly 49ers is likely the reason behind the line movement, but the Dolphins had arguably just as impressive, if not more impressive of a week, winning 30-15 at home against a good Steeler team.
The Bills are a better team than the Dolphins, coming into this game in 9th in first down percentage differential, while the Dolphins come in 21st, but I still think we’re getting good value with the Dolphins as field goal home underdogs. Homefield is usually about 3 points, so that suggests the Dolphins would be around 8 or 9 point underdogs in Buffalo, which is what San Francisco was last week. The Dolphins are significantly better than the 49ers. They’re without top safety Reshad Jones with a season ending injury, a huge loss for this secondary, but Buffalo is expected to be without running back LeSean McCoy and remain without top defensive lineman Marcell Dareus. In addition, Miami is going into only their 2nd game of the season with a fully healthy offensive line and it seemed to make a big difference last week.
The Bills are also in an obvious look-ahead situation with a huge divisional game against the Patriots next week. That game could potentially be for the division and would give the Bills their first season sweep of the Patriots in the Tom Brady era. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Bills seem less focused and play less than their best this week, especially given how much Rex Ryan is obsessed with trying to beating Bill Belichick. The early line has the Bills as 6 point home underdogs and road favorites are understandably just 16-30 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs. In addition, teams are just 37-85 ATS since 2012 before a home game in which they’ll be underdogs of at least 4.5 points. The only reason this isn’t my Pick of the Week is because the Dolphins are coming off of a home upset victory and teams are 53-76 ATS in that spot since 2012, but I’m still very confident in the Dolphins getting a field goal.
Miami Dolphins 20 Buffalo Bills 17 Upset Pick +125
Pick against the spread: Miami +3