After an undefeated Week 16, we’ll look to duplicate that magic as the regular season comes to a close in Week 17. The final week of regular season action can always be a bit of a crapshoot to handicap as motivation varies amongst teams, but I’ll do my best to break it all down for you so you can go into the post-season with those wallets fully loaded for when it really counts! Starting off in the AFC East, the playoff-bound Patriots will battle a Dolphins squad that was mired in yet another disappointing season. Their year resulted in the loss of head coach Joe Philbin, and results under a new regime haven’t changed much. Miami’s usage of star running back Lamar Miller has been quite puzzling to say the least, and there is great uncertainty within this franchise. For New England, it all comes down to whether or not they value resting their banged-up starters or trying to capture that number one seed. They’re in a position to do both on Sunday, and it promises to be interesting to watch this play out. It’s the final week of the NFL regular season, so read on below for all of your betting needs!
Patriots vs. Dolphins Betting Odds:
New England Patriots -10 (-105)
@ Miami Dolphins +10 (-115)
Over 46.5 (-110)
Under 46.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Patriots vs. Dolphins Pick:
It is expected that Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be healthy enough to be under centre for Sunday afternoon’s game. There were some questions regarding his uncertainty and health which delayed the posting of a spread, but he’s good to go. To me, this doesn’t really matter as the former Texas A&M quarterback hasn’t been all that great this season, and Matt Moore likely isn’t much of a downgrade. Unfortunately for the Dolphins’ QB’s, they’ll be without their top three offensive linemen, something that could be problematic against any defense. This Dolphins team is one that has had one foot out the door for some time now, and the unit as a whole has to be looking forward to getting away from this disaster. Their offense has averaged just 16.2 points per game over the past month, and this has put unnecessary pressure on their overrated stop unit. And for all of the Pats’ injuries on the other side, Miami simply doesn’t have the capability or competence to expose them.
On the other side of the ball, it’s always difficult trying to pinpoint exactly what Patriots head coach Bill Belechick is thinking, but it appears as if New England is going to be fully motivated, starters and all, for this divisional clash on Sunday afternoon. It is clear listening to his words and those of his quarterback’s, that the team values homefield and that number one seed. Belechick had his players in full pads on Wednesday with an emphasis on fundamentals and their run defense. And even though New England is pretty depleted among the skill positions on offense, Brady will be able to do enough with the likes of LaFell and Gronkowski to move the chains with regularity on Sunday.
With New England slated to go all-in on Sunday, it’s either them or nothing on the side market. Brady has stated they’re going to do whatever it takes to capture homefield on Sunday, so you’ve got to take him for his word when analyzing this game. Interestingly enough, New England is 11-3 against the spread in Week 17’s against Belechick, so they definitely do play right to the end when the situation warrants it. The Patriots throttled the Dolphins earlier in the season, and should be able to do the exact same thing this week. I’m not expecting Miami to play particularly hard for their lame-duck coach either, so look for New England to cruise past the number in this one.
PICK = Patriots -10 (-105)