Free Expert NFL Picks: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/12/2014
The Buffalo Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999, the longest drought in the NFL. They haven't finished with a winning record since 2004. If Buffalo wants to end either of those this season, it probably has to win Thursday night's game in south Florida. The AFC East isn't out of reach yet for either the Bills or Dolphins.
Both teams enter at 5-4. Let's examine the remaining schedules. After this, Buffalo is home vs. the Jets and Browns, at Denver, vs. Green Bay, at Oakland and at New England. I think at best you are looking at 3-3 there with losses to the Broncos, Packers and Patriots. That Raiders game might not be a gimme because Oakland could be 0-14, and it's the Raiders' final home game. They will really go all out to win that one if winless. Obviously an 8-8 record isn't going to be good enough to make the playoffs or take the division.
Miami's schedule is : at Denver, at NY Jets, vs. Baltimore, at New England, vs. Minnesota, vs. New York. That's a bit easier with probable losses only at the Broncos and Patriots. There's no reason Miami can't win the other four.
The good news for Thursday's winner is that it could be just a game behind New England (7-2) by late Sunday night because the Patriots have a very tough one at Indianapolis. The Dolphins already beat New England once, but the Bills lost the first meeting with the Pats. At Bovada, New England is the -2500 division favorite with Miami at +1200 and Buffalo +1800.
Bills at Dolphins Betting Story Lines
Miami had been playing its best football and took a three-game winning streak into Detroit last week but lost 20-16. No shame in that as the Lions are a very good club. Matthew Stafford hit Theo Riddick on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left. It was Miami's second crushing loss in a month as Green Bay scored a touchdown with three seconds left to beat the Fins in Miami in Week 6. That was the Dolphins' most recent loss. Miami had just 228 yards against Detroit and turned it over twice.
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill appeared to hurt his shoulder while attempting to make a tackle after his interception, and Tannehill also has been dealing with some ankle problems. He's going to play, but keep that in mind. The Fins suffered one of the biggest injuries of Week 10 as left tackle Branden Albert, who was playing at a Pro Bowl level this season after coming over in free agency from Kansas City, tore up his knee and is done. Last year with a makeshift offensive line and no Albert, Tannehill was sacked a league-high 58 times. This year just 20. Rookie Ju'Wuan James will move from right tackle to left. Some thought he was a first-round reach but had played very well. However, playing on the left side means facing the opposing team's best pass-rusher. Now Dallas Thomas moves to right tackle and Shelley Smith to right guard in the wake of Albert's injury. Also, running back Lamar Miller was limited in practice all week with a shoulder problem but should play.
Buffalo had a two-game winning streak snapped last week in a 17-13 home loss to Kansas City. It was the fewest points the Bills had scored since Kyle Orton replaced E.J. Manuel as the starting QB. The Bills blew an early fourth-quarter 13-3 lead. Orton threw it 48 times and completed 29 for 259 yards and a score. Buffalo wants to run the ball more and not put it in the air 48 times. The Bills really should have beaten the Chiefs, but in four red zone chances they settled for two field goals. Bryce Brown fumbled a would-be touchdown into the end zone. Since the start of last season the Bills have been the NFL's worst at scoring touchdowns from inside the 20-yard line, converting on 44.9 percent of their chances.
Against Kansas City, Orton completed just 4-of-9 passes to star rookie Sammy Watkins, including 0-for-5 on those thrown at least 10 yards downfield. Watkins finished with only 27 yards. The Bills are 0-4 in games this season when Watkins has 30 receiving yards or fewer and 5-0 when he has more than 30. Watkins has been dealing with a groin injury at times this season but will play.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins NFL Week 11 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Miami opened as a 5-point favorite (-110) with alternate lines of 6.5 (+110), 6 (+103), 5.5 (-105), 4.5 (-115), 4 (-123), 3.5 (-130) and 3 (-160). Not sure I've seen a game with eight lines this season! The Dolphins are -220 on the moneyline, with the Bills at +180. The total is 42. Buffalo is 4-5 against the spread (3-1 on road) and 2-7 "over/under" (1-3 on road). Miami is 5-4 ATS (2-2 at home) and 4-5 O/U (3-1 at home).
The Bills are 1-6 ATS in their past seven road games vs. teams with a winning record. Miami is 5-1 ATS in its past six at home vs. teams with a winning road record. The Fins are 5-2 ATS in their past seven after a loss. The under is 4-0 in Buffalo's past four following a loss. It is 4-1 in the past five against teams with a winning record. The under is 5-0-1 in Miami's past six Thursday games and 6-1 in its past seven against the AFC East. The Bills have covered four of the past five meetings. The under has hit in four of those.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
These teams met Week 2 in Buffalo, with the Bills as 1.5-point favorites and a total of 39, and the home side rolled 29-10. Dan Carpenter hit five field goals, and the Bills had four sacks of Tannehill. Manuel was the QB back then, and he was 16-of-26 for 202 yards and a 12-yard TD pass to Watkins, who had eight catches for 117 yards. C.J. Spiller, who is now out injured, had a 102-yard kickoff return for a score. Miami was held to 290 yards of offense. The Dolphins have lost three straight to Buffalo, their longest losing streak since going 0-4 from 2006-07.
It's Miami, so the weather won't be a factor. I'm worried about Tannehill behind that line and with his injuries as Buffalo leads the NFL in sacks. Tannehill has been sacked 18 times in going 1-4 all time vs. Buffalo. Sometimes a team just has a quarterback's number. I'll take Buffalo at +6.5 (-130) and the under.
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