MIAMI DOLPHINS at DENVER BRONCOS, 4:05 PM ET
BetAnySports NFL Odds: Miami -4, Total 46
Tua Tagovailoa is now 3-0 as a starter in the NFL, and even though in two of those three games he has not put up hugely impressive numbers, he has nonetheless kept his cool, improvised well and managed to get through these games with 70% completions and without an interception.
And it is abundantly clear that the Miami brass knew what it was doing when it stripped down the roster in an attempt to gather draft choices and build cap space. Now they have a quarterback of the future and present, along with a rebuilt defense. That includes corner Byron Jones and linebacker Kyle Van Noy, as well as pass rushers like Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah. There haven't been too many bad decisions.
And now nobody is laughing at the Dolphins, as they have won five straight games and are just a half-game behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.
Miami's running back crew was a little thin, but last week the undrafted Salvon Ahmed had 85 yards on the ground. Matt Breida, who had a hamstring injury, is slated to be back.
The Broncos, who had been experiencing a problem putting together four quarters of football, played almost no minutes in their 37-12 defeat to Las Vegas last week. Drew Lock, who is Denver's "quarterback of the future" candidate, threw four interceptions. Ouch!
The Broncos also found it impossible to slow down the Raiders' ground attack, which chalked up 203 yards. That was the second time in three weeks that Denver had yielded 200 yards or more on the ground.
Miami has held opposing teams to just 33.9% on third down, and that is the third best figure in the NFL. So will the Denver offense find it nearly impossible to move the ball?
Well, at least you could say that the Broncos have some depth at the running back spot. Phillip Lindsay could play a key role, but he's had just 25 yards over the last two.
We know that Denver head coach Vic Fangio built his reputation on designing pass coverages, and you can bet he is coming with something to try and confuse Tua. AJ Bouye should be back in the lineup to help. And you have to kind of sit and wonder whether the rookie, in only his fourth pro start, should be laying more than a field goal up in the high altitude.
Actually, the most predictable thing about the Dolphins of late is that they have scored more than 17 points in the first half in five consecutive outings. So a first-half bet on them is a consideration.
The Broncos need to get much more efficient in the red zone, where they've scored just 52% of the time (TD's, that is).
What's kind of interesting about Lock is that he has averaged 9.2 Intended Air Yards per attempt (tying him with Carson Wentz for the highest among NFL starters) but his average gain is just 6.3 yards an attempt.
The Miami staff looks like it may have made a sage call going with Tua, and on the basis of fundamentals, it's tough to make a case for Denver. For what it's worth, Miami is second in the NFL in first-half scoring (18.1), while Denver is next to last at 7.8. The Dolphins allow only 9.9 ypg in the first half, and if you are a boxing fan, you know that there are guys who are slow starters and guys who aren't.
MIAMI is priced as a -2.5 point favorite ( at -120) in the first half, and the way we figure it, why not do the first-half wager, and then go from there?
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