Buffalo Bills (2-0) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)
Coming into the season, I considered the Dolphins overrated. They thought they’d be significantly better on offense than a year ago, with Tua Tagovailoa going into his third season, with Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson being added to his receiving corps, Chase Edmonds being added to his backfield, and Terron Armstead and Connor Williams being added to his offensive line, but they were starting from a pretty low base point, ranking 26th in offensive efficiency last season. The Dolphins had a solid defense last season, ranking 11th in defensive efficiency, and they returned all of their key players from a year ago, but lost defensive minded head coach Brian Flores were likely to have more injuries than a year ago, when they had the fewest adjusted games lost to injury on defense.
The Dolphins have started 2-0, but I still think they are a little overrated, even if they have exceeded my expectations. In their week 1 victory over the Patriots, they were very reliant on the turnover margin, as they were +3 in that department, leading to a 20-7 win, despite only winning the yards per play battle by 0.18 and losing the first down rate battle by -0.85%. They followed that up with a win in Baltimore, the Dolphins were about even in first down rate (+0.53%) and yards per play (-0.83) against a very banged up Ravens team that blew numerous coverages. Overall, they rank just 21st in overall efficiency, despite their 2-0 record.
The Bills, meanwhile, are properly rated, rightfully seen as the best team in the league, ranking 1st in overall efficiency by 3.5 points over the next best team, a year after finishing the season as the #1 overall team in efficiency by 5.5 points over the next best team. They’re also in a great spot, coming off of a blowout win on Monday Night Football, which tends to carry into the next week, with teams going 61-39 ATS all-time after a MNF win by 21 points or more.
Unfortunately, the Bills are not healthy enough to bet them confidently this week, missing a pair of key interior defenders Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips, starting cornerbacks Tre’Davious White and Dane Jackson, and talented starting safety Micah Hyde. We are still getting some line value with the Bills as 5.5-point road favorites, as my calculated line is Buffalo -7, even with all of their defensive injuries, but there isn’t enough here for the Bills to be worth betting.
Update: Safety Jordan Poyer and center Mitch Morse are unexpectedly out for the Bills, two big losses. This line has dropped to 4.5, but that’s insignificant line movement, so I am dropping all confidence on this game.
Buffalo Bills 30 Miami Dolphins 24
Pick against the spread: Buffalo -4.5