New England Patriots (1-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-1)
This line favors the visiting New England Patriots by 19.5 points here in Miami, just the third time in the past 30 years that a team has been favored by 17 points or more on the road. It’s understandable why this line is where it is. The Dolphins stripped down their roster this off-season, to accumulate cap space and draft picks for the future, and are left with not only the least talented team in the league by far but also a demotivated one, as the players don’t believe the front office and coaching staff are trying to compete this season. They lost their home opener 59-10 to a Ravens team that lost 6 defensive starters in the off-season and might not even end up being that good. The Patriots, meanwhile, are defending Super Bowl Champions and coming off of a dominant performance against the Steelers week 1.
That doesn’t mean this game is a lock to be a blowout though and, in fact, neither of the last two teams to be favored by 17+ on the road came close to covering. In week 13 of 1992, the Bills actually lost on the road in Indianapolis as 20-point road favorites, while the Patriots nearly lost in week 13 during their perfect season in 2007 as 17-point road favorites in Baltimore, salvaging a win in the last minute.
Does that mean this game will be close too? Well, when we include teams favored by 14-16 points on the road, we see that big road favorites actually have a winning record against the spread (15-11 ATS since 1989), so there really isn’t a larger trend. The Patriots have struggled in Miami in the past and they have started slow in past seasons and this game might be more about getting Antonio Brown acclimated than anything, but even if that’s the case they could still win this game with ease. The Patriots appeared to be in mid-season form last week and they’re in a great spot with only a game against the Jets and backup quarterback Trevor Siemian on deck. Favorites of double digits are 44-31 ATS since 2002 before being favorites of double digits again, which the Patriots almost definitely will be next week. I can’t take the Patriots with any confidence this week because this line has kind of gotten out of control, but I am expecting a blowout.
New England Patriots 31 Miami Dolphins 10
Pick against the spread: New England -19.5