NFL Odds & Preview – Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

The Buffalo Bills have gone 17 years without making the playoffs, and early in the campaign, there was a lot of hope that first-year coach Sean McDermott could help them get there. Things have gone south a little, but still, Buffalo has an opportunity to make it to the post-season. However, they will need help from other teams as they suit up to play the Miami Dolphins in a game scheduled for a 4:25 PM ET kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. This game will be televised by CBS on a regional basis, and BetAnySports customers will have the opportunity, even after the opening whistle, to place wagers in real-time as they access what is available through Live Betting Ultra.
Buffalo comes into this game with a record of 8-7 straight-up (8-6-1 ATS), and their hopes for a wild-card berth in the AFC boil down to this – they must win this game against Miami, and then hope for a loss by the Baltimore Ravens (to Cincinnati) or losses by both the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers (to Jacksonville and Oakland respectively). If they hadn’t gone through a God-awful stretch in the middle of the season, we wouldn’t be talking this way.
But after getting off to a 5-2 start, they went into a three-game losing streak in which they gave up 135 points. In a 54-24 loss to the Chargers, McDermott made the rather ill-advised decision to rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman the start, and he threw five interceptions in the first half. Now Tyrod Taylor is back at the controls, and he is, at the very least, someone who has managed to avoid costly mistakes, turning the ball over only six times (four interceptions, two fumbles).
In the NFL odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Bills are the slight favorite on the road:
Buffalo Bills -2
Miami Dolphins +2
Over 42.5 points -110
Under 42.5 points -110
The Orange Bowl game will have been played on this field of the night before, so maybe we’ll see some choppy conditions. Regardless, Buffalo’s game plan is going to be to give the football to LeSean McCoy and see what he could do. McCoy is not only the only real alternative for Buffalo in the ground game (aside from QB Taylor), he has also had more receptions than anyone on the Bills’ roster. That’s one thing that has held this team back; they dealt Sammy Watkins during training camp and are kind of thin at the wide receiver spot. Kelvin Benjamin came in a trade from Carolina, but he has caught only 14 passes.
However, Benjamin was involved in a rather controversial play last weekend against New England, apparently snaring a touchdown pass the later having it overruled. That led to a lot of rage on the Buffalo side, as everyone sounded off, including owner Terry Pegula, who wants to see what he can do about “fixing” the replay system in the NFL.
BetAnySports patrons know that for the Dolphins, this could be the swansong for Jay Cutler, who came in to sign a one-year, $10 million contract as the emergency replacement for Ryan Tannehill, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp. Cutler has had his moments, but he can also kill a team when he’s off the mark. And last time he took the field against this Bills defense, he was intercepted three times. The Miami offense went 0-8 in third-down situations last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, and things got kind of chippy among the troops. For example, head coach Adam Gase seemed to get into a bit of a shouting match with his top wide receiver, Jarvis Landry, after one rather unimaginative play call was made, on third-down in the Chiefs’ red zone.
Miami has been somewhat predictable, and even though they are going to try to end things on a positive note, there’s been no real momentum, as they have gone 2-7 over the last nine games. That’s in sharp contrast to the 9-2 tear they rode to get into last year’s playoffs. They will count on Kenyan Drake, who had 22 touches two weeks ago against Buffalo and produced 113 yards. And maybe they can take advantage of the fact that Buffalo has gone five consecutive games without scoring a touchdown in the second half.
However, in these “must-win” situations against mediocre teams, it is rather difficult to make the argument for the team that is really playing for anything. So we’ve got to lay the points with the Bills here.
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