And for people who enjoy wagering on football, there was an instant curiosity for the Week 2 Patriots-Dolphins line: How high can oddsmakers set a line for an NFL game?
The line was high, by NFL standards, yet still not as high as you’d expect if you watched the Patriots or Dolphins play on Sunday.
Patriots are big favorites, of course
The line for Patriots-Dolphins opened at 14.5 points, but quickly moved. As of Monday morning, it was 15.5 at MGM properties in Las Vegas, 16 at William Hill and 16.5 at the Westgate. Gilles Gallant of OddsShark said two-thirds of the money is on the Patriots and he expects the line to reach 17 by kickoff.
This isn’t college football, where you’ll regularly see lines of 35 and higher. The Dolphins looked really bad losing 59-10 to the Baltimore Ravens, but they are still professionals. There have been only 35 instances of an NFL spread reaching more than 14 points this decade, according to Pro Football Reference. There are only three road teams in that group. Two of the three didn’t cover the spread.
For a road team, anything more than 14 points is a lot for an NFL team. Yet, who thinks the Dolphins can keep it within two scores after what we saw Sunday?
Can Miami put up a fight?
The Patriots, of course, will add Antonio Brown this week. Even if Brown barely knows the offense by Sunday, he’s still one of the most dynamic receivers ever. The Patriots looked fantastic in a 33-3 win over the Steelers, and the rich get richer.
But New England has trouble against Miami for some reason, especially on the road. In regular-season games Tom Brady has started, the Patriots have lost 20 times to AFC East opponents, and Miami accounts for 11 of those losses. In Brady’s starts, the Patriots are just 7-10 at Miami.
There’s also the Brian Flores factor. Bill Belichick seemed to have no ill will toward his former defensive coordinator, who was credited with the Patriots’ fantastic Super Bowl game plan against the Rams. Belichick has no obvious reason to run up the score.
It might not matter. Even if the Patriots don’t go in looking to embarrass Flores and the Dolphins, Miami didn’t look like a team that can provide much resistance.
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