Miami @ Dallas
Recommendation: MIA +21
Cover Probability: 69.72%
Cover Edge: 33.09
-WR Albert Wilson (calf/hip) was injured week 1 and was INACTIVE week 2.
-WR Michael Gallup (knee) was injured week 2. He is likely to miss 2 – 4 weeks.
-DT Daniel Ross (shoulder) was placed on season-ending IR.
-DT Antwaun Woods (knee) was injured week 2.
UPDATE: Miami announced that Josh Rosen will start this one. That only makes me like this bet more if you can get it at 21 or better.
This just in: the Miami Dolphins are bad. They’re real bad. So let’s bet them.
Look, I get it. You’re probably a bit freaked out by this bet. The Dolphins have had their pants pulled down, embarrassed, and ashamed by both the Ravens and Patriots this year. Every player on the team is now a virgin, and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick demanded a trade so he could start having sex again.
But this is exactly the type of game I’d expect the model to go after. Yes, the Dolphins are bad, but they aren’t that bad. They can’t possibly be that bad. They’re a terrible team that happened to have their floor games come in the first two games. People overreact to early season performances, so it’s not a surprise to me that the model is pouncing on this game. There have been 21+ point spreads 3 times in the past 3,000 games. This week has two of them, and the model is calling bullshit. Anyway, let’s take a look at where these teams stand.
When Dallas has the ball:
The Cowboys offense has been lethal to start the year, putting up 35 and 31 points in the first two weeks. The key has been a combination of new OC Kellen Moore and his efficient play-calling, along with Dak Prescott playing like he’s Aaron Rodgers. Prescott is rocking an absurd 82.3% completion percentage, gaining 10.9 yards per attempt and a 7:1 TD:INT ratio. Play-action has essentially been a cheat code in the NFL for a few years now, and Kellen Moore is calling it on 43.1% of Prescott’s dropbacks, second most in the league. On those passes, Prescott is 27/28 with 333 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 picks, which is good for an almost perfect 157.6 passer rating. Those numbers belong in Madden playing on rookie mode, not in the NFL.
Per usual, the Cowboys offensive line is dominating. C Travis Frederick is back after missing all of 2018 after being diagnoses with Guillain-Barre syndrome. RG Zach Martin and LT Tyron Smith are their normal dominant selves, and RT La’el Collins has allowed 0 pressures. In total, Prescott has been under pressure a league low 10 times this season, though part of that is his quick release, as he’s averaging just 2.33 seconds to throw.
Prescott’s favorite targets so far have been Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper, and Randall Cobb. Gallup will miss this one after injuring his knee in week 2, and that’s a big loss. Gallup so far leads the team in targets (15), receptions (13), and yards (226). Devin Smith will likely work as the #3 wideout, though he hasn’t had much success since being drafted in 2015, and he missed all of 2017 and 2018 battling ACL injuries. On the ground, Zeke Elliot is back to his normal workload after having a reduced role in week 1. I wouldn’t expect him to come off the field much, if at all.
The Dolphins defense, on the other hand, has given up 50 and 43 points to start the year (though last week their offense threw for two pick sixes). They just traded away Minkah Fitzpatrick for the Steelers for a first round pick. Fitzpatrick is a hybrid safety/slot corner type, but was one of the few talented players left on their roster. It’s difficult to find anybody on the field who has had success at any point in their NFL careers — here’s what I got: CB Xavien Howard is coming off a solid 2018 campaign where he allowed a 62.6 passer rating when targeted. Vince Biegel racked up 4 pressures and a sack last week? That’s pretty solid. And.. yeah, everyone else kinda sucks.
When Miami has the ball:
The Dolphins are determined to roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick over Josh Rosen. Fitzpatrick is the ultimate up and down QB — he threw for 2019 Dak Prescott-like numbers in his first two games last year before being benched two weeks later. He’s been benched both games to start off 2019, as Josh Rosen currently projects to be the first ever QB in NFL history to never start a single game, yet play in every single one of them. That said, Fitzy is rocking that sweet ass beard.
Going into the season, the Dolphins offensive line was arguably the worst in the league. Then they traded their best offensive lineman — LT Laremy Tunsil — and there suddenly was no more argument. The Patriots have a pretty terrible pass rush and still racked up 25 pressures last week. The top 3 receivers the Dolphins have are Preston Williams, Jakeem Grant, and DeVante Parker. None are good. As a team, they’re averaging 2.5 yards per carry. You may be noticing a pattern..
The good news for the Dolphins is the Cowboys defense hasn’t been that impressive this year either, and that was against two sub-par offenses in NY Giants and Washington. Football Outsiders gave them DVOA rankings of 20 against the pass and 22 against the rush, and PFF’s grades weren’t friendly either. Though I think their ultimately better than that, their problem is they tend to do everything well and poorly at the same time. Demarcus Lawrence (edge) and Maleik Collins (inside) generate pressure, but nobody else contributes. Leighton Vander Esch has been the only quality linebacker, and they’ve struggled in the secondary with the exception of Chidobe Awuzie. They have playmakers at each level, but there’s holes that quality coaches can exploit.
Come on Dolphins, keep this one within 3 scores, ok?
That’s it for now, bitches.