Washington Redskins (0-5) at Miami Dolphins (0-4)
This is the first time two winless teams have met this late in the season since 2004, when the Dolphins and Bills met in Buffalo, with the Bills winning by 7 as 5-point favorites. Since 1989, this is just the 4th meeting of winless teams this late in the season. In the previous 3 instances, the road team had never been favored by more than 2.5, but the Redskins are favored by 3.5 points in this one, actually making them the first winless team ever to be favored by this many points on the road late in the season.
It’s easy to understand why though, as the Dolphins simply have not resembled a professional football team through 4 games thus far this season. Their -21.14% first down rate differential is last by a mile, with only the Jets at -13.55% coming close. So far this season, there have been 6 instances of a team losing the first down rate battle by 20% this season. Three of those instances were the Dolphins and they’ve played one game fewer than most teams in the league. They start below average starters at most positions and the few talented players they have don’t seem to be trying hard for a coaching staff and front office that transparently doesn’t care about winning this season.
This line was actually -6 on the early line last week, before the Redskins’ blowout loss to the Patriots, and I think it should still be calculated at -5.5, since the Redskins getting blown out by the Patriots was to be expected. The Redskins also get back a pair of starting offensive linemen from injury this week, with both center Chase Rouiller and right guard Brandon Scherff, their top offensive lineman overall, set to return to their usual spots this week after 2-game absences. They also get quarterback Case Keenum back and he should be an upgrade over Colt McCoy, even if he’s not a great starter.
That being said, I can’t recommend betting the Redskins or wanting to bet this game at all. Both teams are terrible and, while the Redskins seem to not be as terrible as the Dolphins, that may not end up being the case. Both teams are also in terrible spots, with the Dolphins going on the road to Buffalo next week (Buffalo -15.5 on the early line) and the Redskins hosting the 49ers (San Francisco -8.5 on the early line). Road favorites are just 24-50 ATS before being home underdogs since 2012, while teams are 26-57 ATS since 2016 before being double digit underdogs. The Redskins are my pick, but only for pick ‘em purposes.
Washington Redskins 26 Miami Dolphins 21
Pick against the spread: Washington -3.5