Recommended Bet: Miami (+7.5) over Houston

by Brady

Miami @ Houston
Vegas: HOU -7.5
DomModel: HOU -3.434
Recommendation: MIA +7.5

Key injuries
Miami Dolphins:
-QB Ryan Tannehill (hip) was INACTIVE weeks 6 and 7. He is OUT week 8.
-WR Albert Wilson (hip) was injured week 7. He was placed on IR on 10/24.
-WR Kenny Stills (groin strain) was injured week 7 and did not return. He has been ruled OUT for week 8.
-WR DaVante Parker (quad) was inactive weeks 4 and 5. He played 5 snaps week 6 and practiced in full all week, but then was INACTIVE week 7. He will return week 8.
-C Daniel Kilgore tore his tricpes during his week 4 game and is done for the year.
-LG Josh Sitton (shoulder) is done for the season.
-DE William Hayes suffered a knee injury during his week 3 game and is on IR.
-DE Jonathan Woodard (concussion) was injured week 6 and did not return. He was INACTIVE week 7 after not practicing all week.  He is expected to return week 8.
-DE Charles Harris (knee) was INACTIVE week 6 and 7. He is OUT week 8.

Houston Texans:
-WR Keke Coutee (hamstring) was injured week 7 and did not return. He is OUT week 8.
-RT Seantrel Henderson left his week 1 game with an ankle injury and has been placed on IR.
-RG Zach Fulton (ankle) was INACTIVE week 7. He is OUT week 8.
-CB Kevin Johnson suffered a concussion week 1. He has since been placed on IR.
-CB Aaron Colvin (ankle) is expected to miss at least six weeks. He was INACTIVE weeks 5 – 7.  He is OUT week 8.
-CB Shareece Wright (shoulder/hand/groin) was INACTIVE week 7. He is OUT week 8.

Breakdown:
When Miami has the ball:
I wrote about Miami just last week, and my feelings on the them haven’t changed. There’s at least somewhat of a chance the model is green-lighting a bet on Miami because we have a fundamental difference of opinion as to how to handle the Brock Osweiler situation. The reality is this: Ryan Tannehill has been hot garbage this season, so we have a good idea as to how the Dolphins offense looks already with a bad quarterback.

Football Outsider’s ranks Miami as 14th best in the league according to their predictive DAVE rankings. Last week, they did lose both WR Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson. Wilson was enjoying a fine season  – he either lead or was tied for the team lead in virtually every receiving stat. Stills was also prominently featured. The Dolphins will rely on slot receiver Danny Amendola, and should get DeVante Parker back. Parker is a skillful player that has been a career disappointment.

As for the Dolphins running backs, Kenyan Drake should play a hybrid running back/receiving type role with Stills and Wilson out. Ageless wonder Frank Gore is essentially their lead back this season, and he’s been okay in that role. Nothing all that impressive, but nothing terrible either.

Houston’s defense:
Houston’s defense has been mostly excellent this season. They are outstanding against the run, as they feature one a star studded front 7 as they feature scary names like “Watt” and “Mercilus” and “Clowney” (assuming you have a fear of clowns).

They have struggled against the pass at times, and the fact that their cornerbacks are falling like trees won’t help. Kevin Johnson was slated to be their starting corner, and they lost him week 1. Aaron Colvin had been playing slot corner, but they lost him week 5. Shareece Wright was playing outside corner, but they lost him last week. It’s a solid defense, but with an exploitable secondary.

TL;DR Conclusion: Houston shouldn’t have an issue stopping the run or getting to Osweiler, particularly against this weak Dolphins offensive line. For Osweiler to succeed, he’ll need to rely on Danny Amendola out of the slot (no Colvin to cover him), as well as Kenyan Drake in dump off situations. The Texans for sure have the matchup advantage, but the Dolphins just need to keep this within a touchdown.

When Houston has the ball:
The Texans offense has been horrible this year. They rank 25th in DAVE, and it’s getting worse. Desean Watson isn’t an injury I’m monitoring – he’s practicing in full and he is going to play. It is worth mentioning that Watson has a partially collapsed lung, for two reasons:

    1. That sounds fucking painful, and DeSean Watson is a badass.
    2. It’s bad enough that Watson took a bus back from Jacksonville last week instead of the team flight home to avoid plane pressure.

Over the last two games, Watson is completing just 55% of his passes and averaging 7.5 yards/game on the ground. It’s totally understandable that this is effecting Watson’s play, and it’s something that helps us that the model isn’t accounting for.

With the Texans, the issue for them is the same as it’s been since day 1: their offensive line is garbage, and Watson loves holding onto the ball. Watson leads the league in time to throw, and is without their rookie receiver who specializes in short yardage routes (Keke Coutee). Until the Texans can figure out a solution — I’m not sure there is one — we should expect the Texans to continue to struggle.

Miami’s defense:
The Dolphins defense has had an okay year overall. Though the injury news to the defensive ends seems overwhelming, Cameron Wake returned last week and appears to be near full health. They also feature Robert Quinn as a pass rusher. Wake and Quinn are the most important pieces here, so the injury news isn’t as bad as it looks.

The expectation is 3rd year pro Xavien Howard will shadow DeAndre Hopkins. Literally nobody can shut down Hopkins, but Howard has had some success shadowing top receivers this year. Starting next to Howard will be Bobby McCain. McCain missed weeks 5 and 6, but returned last week. McCain hasn’t been a reliable corner in any of his four years in the NFL.

TL:DR Conclusion: Wake and Quinn have a nice matchup advantage on the Texans offensive line. Watson seems to be very effected by his partially collapsed lung, so his escape ability may not be what you’d expect. My fear is if the pass rush isn’t there, speedster WR Will Fuller will burn Bobby McCain — hopefully Miami dedicates some safety help there, but they have to worry about this guy named DeAndre Hopkins too — maybe you’ve heard of him.

Either way, we are back on the hook and Brocktober. Let’s go.

Image result for brock osweiler dolphins

That’s it for now, bitches.

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