For the first few weeks of the season, the Miami Dolphins were the talk of the town, but after losing two of their last three games, they went into the bye week with a lot of question marks and concerns. With a week to reset and recover, the Dolphins will resume play on Sunday by hosting the Las Vegas Raiders.
A big knock on Miami has been struggling against winning teams, but with the 5-5 Raiders coming to town, this is shaping up to be the exact type of game they’ve dominated this season.
The Raiders’ two-game stretch against New York teams went as good as it could have, coming away with two wins. Those wins give the Raiders a 2-0 record since Antonio Pierce took over as head coach and Aidan O'Connell took over as the starting quarterback.
O’Connell could move the ball against the Giants in week nine, but last weekend, against the Jets, he would not find that same level of success, finishing with an (-8.01) EPA on offense. Through three starts and four appearances, O’Connell has completed 63.5% of his passes while posting a 2:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Luckily for the rookie, running back Josh Jacobs has thrived in his workhorse role. Over the past two weeks, Jacobs has 53 total carries, which has led to 214 yards and two touchdowns. Keeping the ball on the ground with Jacobs might be tough to do this weekend against a Dolphins team that has held four of their last five opponents to under 100 rushing yards.
Miami has put up a positive defensive EPA in four of their last five games, helping them improve their ranking for total yards allowed per game and third down conversion percentage. Two of Miami’s three losses have come in their last three games, and it’s hard to blame the defense when their offense scored just 17 or fewer points in those games.
The Dolphins are still 2nd in the league in offensive DVOA, and the only games they finished with a negative EPA this season were in their three losses to teams with winning records. Playing winning teams has been the kryptonite of the Dolphins. A prime example of that is Miami leading the league in passing yards per game, but in their two recent losses to the Eagles and Chiefs are the only games this season Tua Tagovailoa has finished with under 200 passing yards.
Miami can be found as (-13) point favorites right now on PointsBet, and I think they can continue their run of beating up on teams without a winning record. Not only do the Dolphins handle business when playing mediocre competition, but they also have a lot of success at home, as they are 4-0 SU and ATS at Hard Rock Stadium this season.
While it may look like the Raiders' defense is playing better, in reality, they just played two of the bottom three teams in terms of offensive DVOA. Las Vegas still allows the 3rd most rushing yards per game and allows opponents to convert 43.1% of their third downs. Miami has a massive advantage in the run game, leading the league in average yards per carry and ranking second in rushing yards per game.
The Raiders' pass defense numbers may look good to the naked eye, but they have recently faced some far below-average quarterbacks. Jared Goff was the only high-end starter they’ve faced since week five, and he exposed the Raiders secondary, so Tua has the potential to do the same. If Miami’s offense is clicking on the ground and through the air, it’s hard to see the Raiders' offense keep pace with them. Especially since Miami’s defense allows the 8th lowest explosive run rate per FantasyPros.
Miami Dolphins (-13)(-110) on PointsBet