Week 13 of the NFL season will feature some of the best match-ups of the season, with plenty of marquee matchups that will affect divisional standings and playoff seeding. One of those marquee games will feature the Miami Dolphins heading to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. We’ll preview the game and then go over why I like the current number Miami is getting as an underdog.
Both the Dolphins and 49ers enter this week on win streaks and playing well on both sides of the ball. Miami has won five straight games and scored 30+ points in the last four weeks. The 8-3 Dolphins boast the number six scoring offense in the NFL with 25.6 points and 386.7 yards per game.
The offensive success is in large part due to the stellar season Tua Tagovailoa is having under new head coach Mike McDaniel. Miami is averaging an NFL-leading 8.1 yards per pass leading to an average of 291.2 passing yards a game. Tagovailoa has thrown 19 touchdowns and only three interceptions on the season, being able to protect the ball is vital against this 49ers defense forcing an average of 1.3 turnovers per game.
Despite the high-scoring ability, the Dolphins have not been able to establish a strong run game this season. Miami is 28th in the league in rushing yards per game and it won’t be easy to get one going this weekend against the number-one-ranked rush defense San Franciso boasts.
The 49ers shut out the Saints last weekend on Monday Night Football and are only allowing 15.7 points per game this season. On the offensive side of the ball, even though they possess a large number of offensive weapons San Fransico is only 15th in the league in scoring.
Running back Elijah Mitchell will be out for a while so the 49ers will need to rely even more on Christian McCaffrey moving forward. The Miami defense has primarily struggled with pass defense this season so despite being 23rd in the league in pass plays per game the 49ers will need Jimmy Garoppolo to drop back a few more times to take advantage of this.
The Miami Dolphins can currently be found as +3.5 or +4 point underdogs and I think they are the right play this weekend at either number. I was able to get them at +4 but I would take it at +3.5 as well if that is what’s available in your preferred sportsbook. I’m expecting a really close game between these two and being able to get the Dolphins above a field goal is a great number for them in my opinion.
The 49ers' defense is undeniably impressive but if you look at their schedule they have only played two premier-level quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Against Mahomes and the Chiefs' number-one scoring offense, this 49ers' defense allowed a season-high 44 points.
I’m not saying Tua is at Mahomes level but he has been playing at a really high level and I trust McDaniel when it comes to creating offensive gameplans so I think they can challenge this 49ers' defense a lot more than their recent opponents. Miami’s defensive strengths also align well with the 49ers' preferred run-heavy game plan, holding opponents to 109.5 rush yards a game this Miami defense can ensure this game stays close. The Dolphins are my favorite underdog play this weekend.