The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played the featured NFL game of the week in each of the past two weeks – in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams, and Week 4 against the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick. Now they play a less prominent game against the Miami Dolphins, who are in trouble and badly need a win to change the trajectory of their season. Let’s take a closer look at this matchup for those who bet online.
|Game: Dolphins (1-3) at Buccaneers (3-1)
Location: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, FL)
Time: 1 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
The last time these teams met was in 2017. The Buccaneers beat the Dolphins, 30-20. The teams were drastically different, so there is not a lot we can glean from that matchup.
Next game: vs. Jaguars
The Dolphins were decisively beaten at home by the Indianapolis Colts. The final score of 27-17 doesn’t begin to reflect how lopsided this game was. The Dolphins barely moved the ball through the first three quarters. Their only two touchdown drives came in the fourth quarter. They trailed by 17 points when they scored those two touchdowns.
Indianapolis led 20-3 with 11 minutes left and 27-10 with seven minutes left. Miami gained just 203 yards for the whole game. Most of those yards came when the Dolphins had virtually no chance of winning.
Jacoby Brissett was the starting quarterback in relief of injured quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Brissett formerly played for the Indianapolis Colts, where he replaced Andrew Luck when Luck retired from the NFL. The Colts obviously knew Brissett’s tendencies and were able to smother him and the rest of the Dolphins’ attack. Miami ran for just 35 yards the whole game.
The Dolphins have to find answers on offense, or else this season is going to get away from them very quickly. The Dolphins’ one win this season was not a game in which their offense thrived; their defense pulled out a 17-16 win over the New England Patriots in Week 1. Head coach Brian Flores has a lot of work to do with his team.
In terms of NFL game betting, the Dolphins are 2-2 against the spread and 2-2 in over-unders.
Cornerback Byron Jones is probable. Defensive tackle Raekwon Davis is questionable. Receiver DeVante Parker is questionable. Receiver Will Fuller is out. Receiver Preston Williams is questionable. Center Michael Deiter is questionable. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is questionable. Receiver Allen Hurns is out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Next game: at Eagles
The Buccaneers didn’t play especially well, but they went into a loud Gillette Stadium crowd in Foxborough and defeated the New England Patriots, 19-17.
There was a circus atmosphere surrounding the game due to the fact that Buccaneer quarterback Tom Brady was returning to the place where he won six Super Bowls and played in nine of them, helping Bill Belichick become the winningest head coach in the Super Bowl era and making the Patriots the envy of all other NFL franchises, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl titles in NFL history.
Brady was able to withstand the Patriots’ defense and Belichick’s best attempt to scheme against him. The Bucs’ offense was not explosive, and Brady was not especially efficient, completing just 22 of his 43 passes, but the Bucs did just enough in the fourth quarter to post a late field goal and edge the Patriots. It was a game in which both the Patriots and Bucs threw a ton of short passes and couldn’t establish much of anything down the field on vertical pass routes.
Mac Jones completed 31 passes for New England, but for only 275 yards. New England finished with negative-1 rushing yards. The Bucs basically forced the Patriots to throw on nearly every play. The plan worked, limiting New England to just 17 points. That will win most weeks in the NFL, especially with Tom Brady leading Tampa’s offense.
The Buccaneers are 1-3 against the spread for NFL game betting purposes and are 3-1 in over-unders.
Cornerback Carlton Davis is out. Guard John Molchon is questionable. Linebacker Cam Gill is questionable. Linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is questionable. Cornerback Jamel Dean is questionable. Running back Giovani Bernard is questionable. Safety Antoine Winfield is questionable. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is probable. Receiver Scotty Miller is out.
Betting on the Game
Taking the Bucs here is a pretty easy call. The Dolphins aren’t a good team regardless of who plays quarterback. It’s not just a matter of Tua Tagovailoa being hurt and Brissett filling in for him. Miami isn’t getting contributions from its offensive line, its receivers, its running backs, basically anyone on the offensive side of the ball. The Buccaneers were ordinary against the Patriots last week.
It only makes sense that they should play a better, sharper game at some point. Moneyline bets provide a cushion point-spread bets don’t have. The Bucs are a safe play here.
The 10-point spread is large, but when considering that the Colts led Miami by 17 in the fourth quarter before winning by 10, it doesn’t seem like an especially difficult spread for the Buccaneers to cover. The thing to note is that while the Buccaneers are carrying a lot of injuries, Miami is so woefully bad on offense that even if the Bucs don’t score a ton of points, they can still win a game 17-3 or 20-6. That would still cover the spread.
The moneyline is a great play to make. The under is another great play to make. The Bucs’ injuries should limit their offensive production. The Dolphins’ utter ineptitude on offense should limit their score. This feels like a 23-10 kind of game. A 48-point total provides a lot of room in which to find an under score.