Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: A Miami Dolphins fan wears a paper bag over his head while watching a game at Hard Rock Stadium.
- It's shaping up to be one of the worst games in recent memory. But is there hidden value in Redskins vs. Dolphins?
- Chad Millman details the best ways to bet this ugly matchup.
Facts are facts, despite how much we are told to believe otherwise these days. And this much I know to be true: There has never been a winless team whose coach has just been fired that has gone on the road and been favored by more than a field goal.
I know this because my good friend Darren Rovell told me on our podcast, The Favorites. And Darren peddles in facts.
The team that’s favored is the Washington Redskins. And this version may be the worst in a generation’s worth of teams under owner Daniel Snyder that have been amongst the least-productive, most dysfunctional teams in the NFL.
This week, Snyder was too scared to show up to the press conference announcing the coach had been fired. In his stead, the de facto GM defensively answered a question about team culture by declaring, “it’s actually damn good.”
To add conviction to disarray, as of 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday, sports books around the world listed their starting quarterback for Sunday’s game as “Undecided.”
Still, they are favored. That’s because they are playing the Miami Dolphins. A team so bad they have yet to not only win a game, but even cover the spread, in a season that has seen them be record-setting, double-digit, home underdogs multiple times.
Seriously, so far this season they have been dogs by an average of 15.6 points per game; and lost by an average of 34.25 points per game.
It gets worse. According to the data in The Action Network app, only once this season have the Dolphins received the majority of betting tickets.
That was in Week 4, against the Chargers, when 53% of bettors chose the Dolphins, foolishly believing that a depleted Chargers team traveling west to east would not be able to cover a two-touchdown spread. ON THE ROAD!
And yet, the Dolphins still lost by nearly three touchdowns.
So what are we to do? A horrible team in the throes of an epically bad season is hosting a horrible team in the throes of an epically bad generation. And somehow the traveling train wreck is favored … by more than a field goal.
The good news is that bettors seem to be siding with the Dolphins early on (which I think is the least offensive side).
Looking at The Action Network app, 61% of the money and 53% of the bets are on Miami. Not surprisingly, this is the least bet game on the board so far, just beating out the Titans-Broncos game.
Hey! Look at that, the Redskins and Dolphins are actually in first place for something.
What is surprising is why anyone would bet this at all. Betting is supposed to be fun, right? That is what the leagues and operators and The Action Network and anyone else with a vested interest in this nascent legal industry is selling.
Bet on the game, improve your enjoyment of the game, engage with the game longer (and then we can all make some money!) But what is going to be fun about this game?
According to Football Outsiders’ advanced analytics, these two teams rank amongst the bottom three for overall team efficiency and offensive efficiency and in the bottom four for defensive efficiency. There will be no joy watching this game.
For the nearly 1,500 people who have bet this game so far, again according to The Action Network stats, this will be a slog of pain, misery, inefficiency and misadventure. This will not be the game we build the betting-is-fun commercial around. You will have to tune into the Niners-Rams (most bet game on the board so far) for that.
However, if you insist, there are the three ways to bet the worst game in the history of the world, that can bring you the least possible pain.
In fact, the only way to bet this game may be through the first half and player props. I’d recommend you check out our Player Props models to see if we project anyone in this game as having a bet quality of nine or 10 (we nail those). Those will be posted later in the week, when sportsbooks start offering player prop lines.
But, if those don’t entice you. If the idea of wasting your hard-earned units on Josh Rosen or Adrian Peterson is more nauseating than thrilling, here are three ways to get down and get out fast.
Dolphins to Win First Half (+170)
Here’s my logic:
1. If you only bet the first half you don’t have to be distracted by this game when you’re sweating the Browns on the moneyline against the Seahawks (yes, I’m going there) or the Vikings as three-point faves against the Eagles (defying nearly 75% of the betting dollars).
2. If the Dolphins have any chance at all, with their limited talent, it’s in the first half. While they didn’t show up against the Ravens or the Patriots, they did keep it close against both the Cowboys and the Chargers in those first 30 minutes. Heck, they kept it relatively close against the Chargers for almost three quarters.
First Half Under (20.5)
Again, only bet the first half and you don’t have to spend any extra time on this doggerel.
Also, according to our Sports Insights database (this is our super high-end stuff that the sharpest of bettors use) the lead ref in this game is Shawn Smith. The under is 7-13 in games he’s led.
Small sample size, sure. But a small sample size buttressed by one team whose quarterback is still undecided!
Dolphins First Quarter (+0.5)
This is for the most desperate amongst us. If, like me, you are trying to find a bet for every game this season, then this is the way to go.
According to our Sports Insights weather page, this will be the hottest game of the day, with temps in the high 80s. That means we will get our favorite thing: A shot of the thermometer on the field showing the temperature as being much, much higher.
I’m willing to make my only bet of the day that at some point there is a sideline reporter cheerily reporting that temperatures on the field are “close to 100!”
Also, that’s one more signal that the right side is the home team. It’s an unwritten rule that fatigue hits winless teams traveling as road favorites with new coaches whose quarterback goes by the name of Undecided.