The Miami Dolphins are scheduled to travel to Upstate New York to face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon in one of six wild card games this weekend in the 2022 NFL season.
The AFC’s second-seeded Bills, the three-time East Division champions, are listed as a favorite of 13 to 13.5 points over the seventh-seeded Dolphins on the odds boards at DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and PointsBet.
If this spread holds, Buffalo would be the heaviest favorite in wild card history.
NFL Playoff Odds: Dolphins vs. Bills Point Spread, Total, Moneyline
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NFL · Sun (1/15) @ 1:02pm ET
|Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, New York|
Where the Dolphins & Bills Stand Heading Into the Wild Card
The line for this meeting opened with Buffalo a favorite by 9 but ballooned with the information that Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa, the league’s leading passer, will miss his third-straight game while in concussion protocol. Plus, veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater is ailing with a dislocated pinkie on his throwing hand.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said on Wednesday that rookie Skylar Thompson, a seventh-round pick out of Kansas State who has started two games, will be in the huddle on Sunday when Miami goes up against QB Josh Allen and the Bills. Although Thompson led the Dolphins to an 11-6 playoff-clinching win last week over the NY Jets, Miami didn’t score a touchdown.
Dating back to the first Wild Card game in 1978, there have been 10 double-digit favorites previously in this round, but none bigger than 11.5 points. Those teams have gone 9-1 straight up (SU) and 9-1 against the spread (ATS). The one upset occurred 12 years ago when the Seattle Seahawks beat the visiting New Orleans Saints, 41-36, as a 10-point underdog. Those Seahawks were the only double-digit home dog.
Of course, as with any game in Buffalo in the winter, weather information is of utmost concern. According to Thursday morning’s forecast on NFL Weather, the temperature at kickoff is estimated to be a relatively mild 28 degrees with a wind chill of 24 and a zero chance of precipitation. Four weeks ago, the Bills beat the visiting Dolphins, 32-29, with a temp of 30 and a wind chill of 23. The big difference was a blast of snow that covered the field late in the game.
No matter the weather, Miami has gone 1-10 (2-9 ATS) in Buffalo since 2012.
Going back to Week 3, the Dolphins won at home against the Bills, 21-19, with a temperature of 89 — the second hottest for a game this season. Although the score shows the Dolphins won, the stats say they were pounded. Buffalo ran 90 plays to Miami’s 39 and outgained the Dolphins by 285 yards. Tagovailoa started and finished the game, but did miss some snaps after jarring his head after getting hit.
As for Buffalo, they finished the season with seven straight victories after a two-game losing streak at midseason against the Jets and Minnesota.
Allen has been the catalyst for the offense yet again, not only throwing for 35 touchdowns in 16 games (11 to Stefon Diggs) but rushing for seven more.
He’s not infallible, throwing nine interceptions inside the enemy 30-yard line. No other QB had even half that many this year. And Buffalo’s 27 giveaways this season are four more than any other playoff team.
Perhaps serving as a balance, Miami has only 14 takeaways, matching the fewest for any playoff team in recorded history.
At least Allen hasn’t had to carry the rushing load in recent weeks. After he was the top ground gainer in eight of the team’s first 14 games, Devin Singletary and James Cook have produced a bit more.
With regard to the Bills’ 35-23 season-ending win over New England that knocked the Patriots out of playoff contention, Nyheim Hines became the 11th player in history to return two kickoffs for TDs in the same game. Philadelphia’s Timmy Brown was the first in 1966 against Dallas, a game in which the Eagles also had a punt return for a score.
The possible problem with that for Buffalo backers is that in the five games over the past two seasons that teams had two non-offensive touchdowns more than their opponent, they went 0-5 ATS in their next game. Just throwing that out there.
Dolphins vs. Bills Injuries
Leading rusher Raheem Mostert suffered a broken thumb last week and he would seem unlikely to play, but McDaniel hasn’t ruled him out. If Mostert does play, Bills defenders will no doubt be looking to punch the ball out of what grasp he has at every opportunity.
Also, speedy WRs Jaylen Waddle and WR Tyreek Hill are dealing with ankle injuries. Then there’s Pro Bowl OLT Terron Armstead, who has been hampered all season by various injuries. He sat out last week’s playoff-clinching victory against the NY Jets and his status for Sunday is up in the air.
Betting trends and props: Jaguars take early money
Dolphins vs. Bills Analysis & Prediction
In the playoffs, teams don’t overlook foes no matter how heavy a favorite they are.
In this game, the Bills might have an overabundance of adrenaline if safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest two weeks ago at Cincinnati, makes a pregame appearance on the field and revs up the crowd.
If so, what are the odds the Dolphins have a few false starts in the noise? Bills Nation might just make Thompson’s day even more miserable.
Then there’s this: Over the previous 30 years, rookie head coaches in their first postseason have gone 16-29 versus a veteran boss and 19-26 ATS.
Forecast: Bills 30, Dolphins 6