I am happy to admit when I'm wrong, but I'll chirp a bit when right. On last season's "First NFL Coach to be Fired Prop," I was all over Miami's Joe Philbin. The Fins had never finished with a winning record under the former Packers offensive coordinator, blowing a couple of chances late in the year for a playoff spot.
Owner Stephen Ross was getting antsy and the team made a huge splash last offseason, including making ex-Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL at the time. So it was playoffs or bust for the Philbin.
As we have learned of late, embattled NFL head coaches shouldn't go to London early in the season and lose a game. Of course, teams usually have a bye week after the trip overseas, which is a perfect time to fire a head coach. And that's what the Dolphins did following a Week 4 loss to the Jets at Wembley Stadium to fall to 1-3.
In a fairly unusual move, the team didn't promote a coordinator to interim head coach but instead tight ends coach Dan Campbell. Tight ends coach? The thinking was that Campbell was a real intense, rah-rah guy -- basically the opposite of Philbin and what the team needed. It worked for two weeks as the Dolphins blasted Tennessee and Houston before reverting to form and losing seven of their final 10 to finish at 6-10, the team's worst mark since the year before Philbin arrived. That finish ruined any chance Campbell had of keeping the job. Suh, meanwhile, was decent but definitely not worth all those millions of guaranteed dollars.
Miami finished 3-5 on the road last season, 3-5 against the spread and 4-4 "over/under." The Dolphins play three road games against 2015 playoff teams, and they are the team's first three away games. Survive that in decent shape, and maybe the playoffs are possible. I project a 2-6 road record, maybe 3-5. The home schedule is easier. The Dolphins have a wins total of 7 at BetOnline, with both at -115. Odds listed below for the home team.
Sept. 11 at Seahawks (-7.5, 44): Miami rookie head coach Adam Gase, the youngest in the NFL, gets a rather difficult first assignment in perhaps the toughest road atmosphere in the NFL. There's no longer trip in the NFL than Miami to Seattle as well. I don't see Ryan Tannehill having a good game here. Miami has won two straight in series but lost its last trip to Seattle in 2004. Key trend: Fins are 0-5 ATS (and SU) in past five as a dog anywhere of at least 7.5 points.
Sept. 18 at Patriots (-6.5): I mean, is there a tougher opening two-game schedule than what Miami has? I don't see it, especially if Tom Brady's suspension is somehow overturned. I suppose on the bright side, it should be nice weather this time of year in Seattle and Foxboro. This line was 9.5 before Brady's suspension was reinstated. I guess I give Miami a chance if Brady isn't in there. The Dolphins haven't won at the Patriots since 2008 -- the last time they didn't play Brady there. Miami lost at Gillette Stadium 36-7 in Week 8 on a Thursday last year. That was the Dolphins' first loss under Campbell. To make matters worse, Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake was lost to a season-ending injury in the game. Key trend: Fins are 0-4 ATS (and SU) in past four as road dog of at least 6.5 points in series.
Sept. 29 at Bengals (-6.5): Thursday night game. Miami off probably its first win of the season, at home to Cleveland in Week 3. If the Fins can be 2-2 following this game, that's a huge feat. Cincinnati is home to Denver the previous Sunday. Advantage Fins. The Dolphins have won three straight in the series, most recently 22-20 at home on Halloween 2013. Key trend: Fins 4-0 ATS all-time at Bengals as an underdog.
Nov. 13 at Chargers (-1): Huge gap between road games as Fins play four at home and have a bye sandwiched in there. They are off a Week 9 game vs. the Jets. San Diego is off a home game vs. Tennessee and ahead of its bye. The Dolphins lost 30-14 in Week 15 in San Diego last year. The Bolts were fired up as it could have been the team's final game in the city. Miami was held to 231 yards of offense. Key trend: Fins 3-7 ATS in past 10 at Chargers.
Nov. 20: at Rams (-2): I would presume the Dolphins would stay somewhere in California the week ahead of this game instead of flying across country again. Los Angeles is at the Jets in Week 10. Miami's last game in L.A. against the Rams was way back in 1986. Dan Marino threw for 403 yards and five scores. Key trend: Fins 4-6 ATS in past 10 at NFC West teams.
Dec. 4 at Ravens (-3): Miami off a Week 12 home game vs. San Francisco. Baltimore is home to Cincinnati the previous Sunday and ahead of a trip to New England. Trap game? The Dolphins beat the visiting Ravens 15-13 in Week 13 last season. Miami scored two touchdowns within 20 seconds in the first quarter, one an interception return for a TD, and held on to that 15-0 lead. Tannehill was just 9-for-19 for 86 yards. Key trend: Fins 5-5 ATS in past 10 at AFC North teams.
Dec. 17 Jets (-5): Saturday night game. Miami hosts Arizona the previous Sunday. New York is in San Francisco in Week 14. The Dolphins lost 38-20 at the Jets in Week 12 last year. Tannehill was 33-for-58 for 351 yards and three scores. Miami had to throw all day as it rushed nine times for 12 yards. Key trend: Fins 3-3 ATS in past six December games at Jets.
Dec. 24 at Bills (-3.5): That's three straight road games potentially in nasty weather for the warm-weather Fins. Buffalo comes off a Week 15 home game vs. Cleveland. Miami lost 33-17 in Week 8 at Buffalo in 2015, allowing 420 total yards and 266 on the ground. The Dolphins' first play from scrimmage resulted in a safety. Tannehill finished 27 of 36 for 309 yards with two lost fumbles. Key trend: Fins 3-5-1 ATS in December road games in Buffalo.
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