You often hear experienced bettors warn that a tried and true winning formula in sports betting is to wager on numbers, not teams.
The 2019 Miami Dolphins are here to test that philosophy.
New England opened Week 2’s road game in South Florida as a 17.5-point favorite according to the Westgate SuperBook and was promptly bet up to 19 before closing 18.5. The Patriots won 43-0. Somewhere, someone who took the 19 points before the line dipped cried themselves to sleep by muttering that they were on the right side.
There may be a spot or two where backing Miami in spite of its apparent tank job will wind up paying dividends, but it’s hard to see the Dolphins who aren’t traded for draft picks going the extra mile in a game where inches decide everything.
After getting crushed at home, they’ll now go on the road to face another undefeated team that comes in with a pair of covers. Oddsmakers opened at Dallas -21 to try and secure some Dolphins action. Early returns suggest that figure will climb due to Cowboys backers.
First-year head coach Brian Flores is being tasked with finding guys who will put their bodies on the line for him and the franchise despite little chance to win. Those who have been able to demand trades have done so. Dolphins who remain are set to play punching bag for the remainder of the season.
The question is, at what number do the books have to set to entice action on Miami the rest of the way?
The Westgate SuperBook put out a prop paying out +350 if you believe that they’ll finish 0-16, which is awfully tempting given the return.
Betting ‘no’ and expecting at least one win opened at -450 and seems most logical since they do play the Jets twice and will host the Redskins and Bengals in winnable games.
Still, Miami isn’t likely to win more than once since the franchise’s clear objective is to land Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 1 pick.
Players might rise up once or twice to avoid a season filled with futility but are likely to continue collectively hanging their heads in games that are already decided. More on that below in this week’s six-pack:
Titans -1.5 at Jaguars: A strong defensive effort put rookie QB Gardner Minshew in a position to steal a win in his first start, but the rookie handed off to Leonard Fournette on an RPO in the game-winning two-point conversion attempt and came up short in Houston.
It wasn’t a great gamble and capped a rough day for head coach Doug Marrone, who got into it with star corner Jalen Ramsey on the sideline. Jacksonville’s best player has demanded a trade and can’t be counted on to help his team avoid an 0-3 start.
Marcus Mariota has led the Titans to four straight wins in this series by a combined margin of 91-41. He’ll add to that edge on Thursday night. TITANS
Raiders at Vikings -8: Only a flurry of Patrick Mahomes’ touchdown passes spoiled an otherwise excellent defensive showing for Oakland at home over its first two games against divisional rivals Denver and Kansas City, but the young Raiders now have to hold up on the road against a capable group.
With Dalvin Cook healthy again, Minnesota’s offense is balanced and should help produce a double-digit win since it’s becoming clear that Derek Carr doesn’t have enough around him with no Plan B in sight after Antonio Brown successfully got himself traded out of town. VIKINGS
Dolphins at Cowboys -21: Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain Miami’s starter at QB despite completing just 50 percent of his passes while throwing four interceptions and only one score in being devoured by the Ravens and Cowboys. Josh Rosen will likely get in there too and will be who we’ll have to be wary of since we’re laying the huge number and banking on the backdoor being closed.
Consider that the Dolphins have been outscored 47-0 in the second of home games thus far this season. Morale isn’t going to improve in an opposing building and the defense will be worse off after the trade of defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers for another first-round pick in April. COWBOYS
Panthers -2.5 at Cardinals: Cam Newton doesn’t seem to be 100 percent and will be re-evaluated for a foot injury that contributed to how poorly the second half went for the Panthers against Tampa Bay.
There’s likely to be value in getting points at home considering Kyler Murray and the Cardinals have been able to demonstrate improvement in the second half of both their games thus far. Rookie Will Grier would see his first NFL action if Newton can’t go. CARDINALS
Steelers at 49ers -6.5: Mason Rudolph threw for a pair of touchdowns against the Seahawks in relief of Ben Roethlisberger and will now settle in as the starter for the remainder of the season. He’s got a strong arm and good instincts, but this first task is certainly daunting considering how well the 49ers’ secondary is playing. With Richard Sherman leading the charge and San Francisco’s offense getting contributions from each of its position groups, expect the Niners to improve to 3-0 in style with a lopsided win. STEELERS
Rams -3 at Browns: Baker Mayfield has looked sloppy in his second season and benefited from the Jets’ unfortunate injuries in winning his first Monday night appearance.
Back in prime time, expect a rougher go of it against a Rams defense that looked dominant against the Saints this past weekend. L.A. seems to have been written off unfairly after its disappointing showing in Super Bowl LIII but has Todd Gurley healthy again and looks poised to provide another reminder that it remains one of pro football’s elite teams. RAMS
Last week: 1-5