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NFL Wild Card Round Playoff Preview: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

Mark Morales-Smith Jan 12th 10:56 AM EST.

We kick off the playoffs with a battle between two AFC East rivals as the Miami Dolphins (9-8) travel to take on the Buffalo Bills (13-3) up in the cold and snow. The Bills have rolled to another AFC East title while Miami has stumbled down the stretch while dealing with injuries. However, they were able to knock off the inept New York Jets with rookie Skylar Thompson under center to earn their way into the playoffs.

NFL Best Bets

It’s sad to say, but the Dolphins have no chance in this game. The injuries have piled up and it’s far too much for them to overcome. It’s looking like they will be without Terron Armstead, Bradley Chubb, and Raheem Mostert. Most importantly they will be without their quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who has battled the Bills twice this season to a win, and a game that went down to the last play. To make matters worse backup QB Teddy Bridgewater is also likely not healthy enough to start. Rookie Skylar Thompson will start this game and he has not looked good when given the opportunity this season to put it nicely. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are also both expected to be limited with ankle injuries on top of their diminished secondary. It’s all just way too much to overcome. This game shouldn’t even be competitive.

It's hard to even make a case for Miami, which is disappointing because with Tua they’ve proven they can beat this team. Nevertheless, we will go over the matchup in what should be a laugher. The Bills boast the league’s second-ranked defense in points per game and sixth in yards. Last week the Dolphins’ offense with Thompson under center couldn’t find the end zone even once against the Jets. They managed to win the game 11-6 simply because the Jets’ offense is somehow worse.

If the Dolphins were somehow to win this game it would come down to the Miami defense somehow shutting down the Bills’ offense and maybe even scoring on their own. Unfortunately, that defense ranks 24th in points per game and 27th against the pass. They also have a -7 turnover differential and have forced the third-fewest turnovers in the league with just 14. The only thing this defense is good at is stuffing the run and the Bills seem generally disinterested in running the ball. The deeper you look into this matchup the worse it looks.

Miami also will likely struggle to run the ball without their top running back Mostert. If I were the Dolphins’ coach I’d seriously consider running some sort of wild cat offense with Hill, Waddle, and Jeff Wilson. It seems like that may be their only hope. The Dolphins will need a miracle to even make this game competitive. They have looked atrocious this season when Tua was out for any stretch.

The Picks

Spread: Buffalo Bills -13 (-115)

Over/Under: Under 43.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Buffalo Bills (-900)

Player Props of the Night

Prop #1: Josh Allen, Under 22.5 Completions (-110)

With the Bills expected to crush Miami, it’s unlikely that Allen will have to throw the ball enough to get 22 completions. This number is way too high when you consider the expected game script. Especially when you consider that since Week 3 he has only cleared this bar in 14 of 13 games. Two of the times he did clear it this year were against the Dolphins because their offense is so potent with Tua. When he plays high-end offenses he has a shot at this mark. There is no shot this weekend.

According to our NFL Over/Under Prop Bet Rankings tool, Allen has only hit the over on completions 46% of the time this season. When he’s at home in Buffalo that number drops to 20%. The offenses he hit this line against since Week 2 were the Dolphins twice, Lions, Chiefs, and Vikings in overtime. All of those were close games against high-powered offenses that forced the Bills to keep throwing. That won’t be the case here.

Prop #2: Josh Allen, Under 255.5 Passing Yards (-120)

This is essentially just an extension of the first prop. While Allen is more than capable of hitting this prop if needed, it will not be needed. This also isn’t a number he’s been hitting with any sort of regularity. He’s only hit this line once in the past seven games. There is almost no chance he hits it this week unless there is some sort of huge broken play late in the game that puts him over the top. That’s if he’s even still playing late in the game.

According to our NFL Over/Under Prop Bet Rankings tool, Allen has only hit the over on his passing yards line 47% of the time this season. Over the past eight weeks, that number drops to 17%. Everything points to this being easy money.

Prop #3: Christian Wilkins, 5.5 Tackles + Assists (-115)

The Bills are going to end up running the ball to run the clock and Wilkins has proven to be an elite lineman and one of the top tacklers in the league. He led all defensive linemen with 98 total tackles and assists this season. He’s only failed to clear this mark once in the past six games when he had five total tackles against the Packers. He will get at least six total tackles this week.


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