Double-digit point spreads often leap off the page as potential traps and Week 12 of the NFL serves up several of these matchups with hefty spreads.
One such potential trap game is Sunday’s AFC tilt between the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins that is pegged on a 14½-point line on the NFL odds board. But there’s a twist.
Read on to find out what the twist is as we preview this clash between the Texans and Dolphins for our weekly trap game NFL predictions below. You might be surprised to find out what side of the coin represents the dreaded trap.
Texans vs Dolphins
- Spread: Dolphins -14½ (+110)
- Moneyline: Dolphins -800 | Texans +550
- Over/Under: O47 (-110) | U47 (-110)
NFL Lookaheads To Week 12 Opening Lines
Preseason lookaheads projected the Dolphins as the touchdown favorites, but as the season got underway, it became increasingly clear that Miami, under new head coach Mike McDaniel, was a real contender.
Ahead of Week 11, the markets released lookahead lines for the entire Thanksgiving week’s slate. In those, the Dolphins registered as the -10 home favorites against the Texans.
However, following Week 11’s results, the official opening line was Dolphins -14. That line has since ticked up by half a point to Dolphins -14½ where it currently sits at the sportsbook betting exchange.
The line move is interesting because the Dolphins were on a bye week. Thus, it has more to do with how the Texans performed in a lackluster 23-10 loss to the Washington Commanders than anything else.
Dolphins Flying High
Don’t look now, but the Miami Dolphins (7-3-0) are locked in a race for first place with the Buffalo Bills (8-3-0) in the AFC East. The Bills ascended into top spot (temporarily) following a 28-25 win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day., but the Dolphins could retake first place this weekend with a win over the Texans thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker.
Tua Tagovailoa and Co. went into the bye week riding a four-game winning streak, capped off by a 39-17 win over the Cleveland Browns that saw the Dolphins crush the closing 3½-point spread comfortably.
On the season, Miami is 5-5-0 against the spread (ATS) with a 1.1 winning margin on average. As the home team, Miami is 3-2-0 ATS with a 7.0 winning margin on average.
Texans Racing To No.1
Houston is racing to the No. 1 draft pick and its got little in the way of serious competition for it. After 11 weeks, the Texans cut a woeful figure behind a 1-8-1 record. They’re last in the AFC and dead last in the league.
Most recently, the Texans were overwhelmed by the Commanders in a lopsided 23-10 loss at the NRG Stadium, failing to whiff at closing 3-point spread.
Davis Mills is clearly not the answer at the quarterback position and aside from a few standout individual players on both sides of the ball, the Texans are a total redevelopment project.
On the season, Houston is 4-5-1 ATS with a 7.1 losing margin on average. As the road team, Houston is 2-2-1 ATS with a 5.8 losing margin on average.
After the Texans fall to 1-8-1 at home, Lovie Smith was asked about potential changes where he had an *interesting* back and forth.
Worth the watch: pic.twitter.com/wXOPGW6Anl
— Chancellor Johnson (@ChancellorTV) November 20, 2022
Texans vs Dolphins Prediction
That Miami’s offense is one of the best in the league isn’t up for debate. The Dolphins are averaging 25.2 points per game (ppg) this season and a stellar 35 ppg in their last three.
The question is, How will this offense fare here? The answer is, very well. The Texans defense ranks second worst in the league overall and last against the rush. They’re also conceding 23 ppg on the season and 25.3 ppg in their last three.
The Texans have competed well against good teams this season. They’ve also managed to cover the spread often and that makes them a tempting bet here to cover the two-touchdown spread.
But this could be a trap, designed to lure bettors over to the Texans in what is more likely to be a one-sided matchup. Fact is, the Texans haven’t faced quite as potent of an offense as the one Tagovailoa and the Dolphins are about to unleash against them. Running backs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. in particular could have monster games against a porous Texans run defense.
The timing of this matchup is also key. The Texans are trending negatively as the season hurdles towards the finish line. In their last five games, they’ve lost by 18, 7, 12, 8 and 13.
By contrast, the well-rested Dolphins just torched the Browns in a 22-point margin of victory (their biggest margin of victory this season). Add to that the fact that they will be pumped to regain top spot after the Bills moved into first place in the AFC East on Thursday (temporarily) and this could get ugly fast.