Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) at Miami Dolphins (0-3)
Typically, betting teams off of back-to-back blowout losses is a smart move, as teams tend to be overlooked, undervalued, and embarrassed in that situation. Since 2002, teams are 49-34 ATS off of back-to-back losses of 21+. That applies to the Dolphins this week, but that doesn’t mean they are a good bet. That applied last week as well, after back-to-back losses by 40+ in the first two weeks of the season, and the Dolphins couldn’t manage to cover as 23-point underdogs.
Through three games, the Dolphins have an average point differential of -39.0 points per game, worst in a three game stretch in at least 30 years, and they have a ridiculous -26.46% first down rate, allowing opponents to pick up a first down or touchdown on 49.76% of snaps, while only doing so on 23.30% of their offensive snaps. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they managed to win a game at some point, but this team is arguably worse than both the winless Lions in 2008 and the winless Browns in 2017 even if they do win at some point.
Neither the winless Browns nor winless Lions ever lost by 40+ and the winless Browns never lost by more than 24, but the Dolphins have already lost twice by 40+ and have lost all three games by 25+ points. The few good players that the Dolphins do have don’t seem to be trying hard because the coaching staff and front office transparently don’t care about winning this season, leading to a historically bad on the field performance. They’re unlikely to be a good bet all season.
That being said, I wouldn’t recommend betting on the Chargers either as 14.5-point road favorites. Incredibly banged up, the Chargers seem to be using this game as an opportunity to rest injured players and could be without a bunch of key players on both sides of the ball. Already without stud safety Derwin James, his replacement Adrian Phillips, top offensive lineman Russell Okung, and talented tight end Hunter Henry, the Chargers are also expected to be without starting wide receiver Mike Williams, #3 wide receiver Travis Benjamin, new starting tight end Virgil Green, and possibly top cornerback Casey Hayward, who only got in a limited practice on Friday.
Even with all of their injuries, the Chargers still have enough talent to blow out the Dolphins, but this could be closer than the Dolphins’ other games because the Chargers are at far less than 100%. The Chargers could also take their foot off the gas in the second half if they have a big lead, which is always a risk when picking a heavy road favorite. I would take them if I had to pick a side, but this is a no confidence pick.
Los Angeles Chargers 28 Miami Dolphins 13
Pick against the spread: LA Chargers -14.5