Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills – NFL, Week 17, 2020

By Dean McHugh in NFL
| December 29, 2020 8:41 am PDT

The Bills have already clinched the AFC East Divisional title and are guaranteed a playoff spot. The Dolphins are pretty much there as there are eight different permutations that see they make the playoffs, but the most simple and straightforward route is to beat the Bills.

The Dolphins have finished the season strong, having won four of their last five games, with their only loss coming against AFC Conference champions the Chiefs.

The Bills are also in fantastic form, having won all five of their last games, which sets up a mouthwatering preview of things to come in the playoffs.

Buffalo owns the head to head record against the Dolphins after winning six of the last seven between the two teams. That record improves to seven from the last eight when you look at the games played in Buffalo. In fact, Miami’s only win came back in 2016 when they won in overtime, so they haven’t enjoyed traveling to face the Bills.

Dolphins vs. Bills Odds

Dolphins +1.5-110
Bills -1.5-110
Dolphins To Win+115
Bills To Win-135
Over 43.5 Points-110
Under 43.5 Points-110

When the betting opened for this game, the bookmakers had the Dolphins priced up with a five-point lead on the spread, which they quickly realized was too generous and immediately cut that right down. I personally think they have gone too far the other now, and the spread looks low for the Bills to cover. They are predicting a low scoring game, which could offer some value also.

Dolphins Form

The Dolphins can’t completely relax just yet, but I think it would take a small miracle for them not to qualify for the playoffs. However, that said, they won’t welcome the visit to Buffalo given their dreadful record against them.

This game could have taken a different look if it wasn’t for their last-second field goal last time out against the Raiders, which gave them a 26-25 win to keep their season alive. They trailed 13-6 at halftime, but as per the majority of this season, the Dolphins held their nerve to come out victorious.

They have a slightly better record on the road this year, having won five of their seven matchups, which includes the last two in a row.

Miami has done well against the spread this season, having won nine of their last 11 games and four of their last six on the road also. However, they have only won two of the last eight against the Bills in Buffalo.

Their games have been low scoring recently, with four of the last six seeing under the betting total scored. But against the Bills, their games have been explosive, with nine of the last 11 going over the betting total, and the last five in a row in Buffalo have gone the same way.

The Dolphins have relied on the best defense in the league this year, which has seen only 18 points averaged per week against them. They have real steal defending the end zone as for a team conceding so little points, they do give up a fair few yards.

This is the opposite at the other end as they only average 331 yards per game but have still managed to average 25 points per week. Both of the above stats show why they have been involved in so many tight games this season.

Their immense defense has restricted teams to a passing completion rate of just 62%, which is the fifth-lowest in the league. They also have the fifth-highest number of forced fumbles and the third-highest number of interceptions in the league, so their high pressing game really does work for them. Although Cornerback Xavien Howard had a relatively quiet game against the Raiders, he has had an exceptional season and leads the league in interceptions. Many won’t have heard about his exploits as he continues to go under the radar.

Bills Forn

The Bills are arguably the most in-form team in the NFL right now, and although they have wrapped up the divisional title, they won’t want to lose that momentum against the Dolphins, and they can make a real statement here.

Buffalo has won their last five in a row and eight of the last nine, with their only blip coming against the Cardinals in a narrow 32-30 defeat.

At home, they have won six of their seven matchups to date, only losing to reigning Super Bowl champions the Chiefs.

They have won their last five in a row against the spread, and five of the last seven at home as the bookmakers have struggled to price them up correctly at times this year.

Two-thirds of their last 15 games have gone over the betting total, which is largely down to their explosive offense, which averages just under 400 yards per game and just under 30 points.

Their offense relies heavily on their passing game as they are only averaging just over 100 rushing yards per game. However, with a quarterback like Josh Allen, there is no wonder that they prefer to throw the ball around, given he has the third-highest number of passing yards in the league. He relies on the safe hands of Stefon Diggs, who has the highest number of receiving yards in the NFL.

Defensively they are average at times, but with such a solid attack, they haven’t had to be exceptional. However, they will need to defend better going into the playoffs if they want to go far, especially defending against running teams, which appears to be a slight weakness in their game.

Dolphins vs. Bills Betting Pick

Pick
  • Bills -1.5
    -110

This really is an old-fashioned game of offense versus defense, and whilst the Dolphins have a lot more riding on this one, I am going to side with the Bills to continue their impressive run. The Dolphins scrapped past the Raiders last week, and I believe their luck will run out against a Bills side that has dominated this fixture in recent years

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