Miami Dolphins (1-7) at Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
The Dolphins won their first game of the season last week, but that wasn’t all that surprising. Winless teams tend to be good bets this late in the season (55-31 ATS in week 8 or later) because they tend to be undervalued and highly motivated to get their first win and the Dolphins were at home facing a Jets team that didn’t rank much higher than them. The Dolphins’ win moved this line from Indianapolis -15 on the early line last week to Indianapolis -11.5 this week, but the Dolphins are unlikely to have that same motivation after winning their first game.
In fact, after basically winning their Super Bowl last week, I expect the Dolphins to be relatively flat, especially with a much bigger divisional game against the Bills on deck. The Dolphins are +7.5 on the early line and teams have a lot of trouble covering before being big home underdogs, going 43-77 ATS before being home underdogs of 6+ since 2014. On top of that, underdogs of 6+ are 59-92 ATS before being underdogs of 6+ again the following week, over that same time period.
The Dolphins being flat would be a big problem because they still rank dead last in both my roster rankings and in first down rate differential (-9.38%) and they have a much tougher matchup this week than last week. The Colts haven’t won a game by more than 7 points this season, but they haven’t lost by more than 7 points either and something tells me they won’t have much of a problem winning against a bottom level team like the Dolphins, who already have 5 double digit losses this season and 20 since the start of the 2017 season.
The Colts have an injury concern with quarterback Jacoby Brissett questionable with a knee injury, but I don’t think the drop off from Brissett to backup Brian Hoyer would be all that significant, especially in a matchup like this. Hoyer led the Colts to a loss in Pittsburgh last week in relief of Brissett, but he also threw three touchdowns on the road against a good defense and led the Colts to a +8.95% first down rate differential, with the game swinging entirely on a 97-yard pick six. With Brissett under center, I would have this line calculated at Indianapolis -14.5 and with Hoyer I would have it at Indianapolis -14, giving us line value either way. Add in the Colts being in a better spot and there’s enough to bet the Colts confidently this week.
Update: Brissett has been ruled out, but this line has dropped to 10.5 to compensate, so I still like the Colts.
Indianapolis Colts 33 Miami Dolphins 17
Pick against the spread: Indianapolis -10.5