Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Dolphins vs. Bills (12/17/2022) - Taking Vegas

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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Dolphins vs. Bills (12/17/2022)

By Michael Savio
December 14, 2022
Photo by: Megan Briggs - Getty Images

Miami Dolphins vs Buffalo Bills (12/17 @ 8:15 PM EST)

Spread: Bills -7.5
Money Line: Dolphins +281 / Bills -336
Total: 42.5

Overview and Betting Info

The Miami Dolphins (8-5) will head north to take on the Buffalo Bills (10-3) in a game that could decide the AFC East. The Dolphins lead the overall series 62-54-1, but the Bills have dominated recently, winning four of the last five. The Dolphins won the September matchup 21-19 in Miami.

Miami is 6-7 against the spread this season and has covered just two of their last five games. They have gone over the total six times, including three times in their last five games.

Buffalo is 6-6-1 versus the spread and has gone 2-3 at home. They have gone over the total just three times in the year, going under in eight of their last ten.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins dropped their last two games and will need a win Saturday to keep their hopes for a division championship alive. Their offense averages 382.5 yards and 24.3 points per game, boosted by the NFL’s second-best passing offense (277.9 YPG). Tua.  Tagovailoa is having a breakout year with 3,004 yards, with 22 touchdowns in eleven games. As good as he’s been, Tua has struggled the last two weeks against better defenses, where he completed just 45% of his pass attempts. He’ll look to bounce back against Buffalo with receiving leader Tyreek Hill. He’s been sensational, leading the team with 100 receptions for 1,460 yards and six touchdowns. Hill has historically struggled against the Bills, with 157 yards and zero touchdowns in four games. He’ll need help from receiver Jaylon Waddle (1,003 yards, 6 TD), who has been incredible but has been dealing with injuries that have hampered him the last few weeks. If they both fail to get going, look for speedster Trent Sherfield to find some room against a questionable Buffalo secondary.

The Dolphins have struggled to establish a run game this season, ranking 29th in the NFL with 89.8 yards per game. He’s a speedy back that can break big plays, but he’s been inconsistent. In Miami’s first matchup with Buffalo, Mostert managed just 11 yards on eight carries (1.4 YPC). The Dolphins did acquire Jeff Wilson Jr, who has helped but also struggled with consistency. Wilson is now dealing with a hip injury, leaving his status for Saturday up in the air. If Wilson is out, we may see Tua log some more carries.

The Miami defense allows 368.8 yards and 24 points per game. Melvin Ingram and Jaelan Phillips lead the team with six sacks. Both have registered at least 0.5 sacks in their last four games, helping the Dolphins get seven in their previous two games. They are joined by newcomer Bradley Chubb, who has 2.5 sacks in his first 5 games with the Dolphins (8 overall). The Dolphins’ secondary has been led by the play of safety Jevon Howard who leads the team with 2 interceptions to go along with 69 tackles. They were beaten by Brock Purdy and Justin Herbert the last two weeks, so they’ll need a quick fix as they head to take on Josh Allen.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills come into Saturday having won four straight and leading the AFC East over the Dolphins by two games. The offense is averaging 407.6 yards and 27.2 points per game, thanks to the play of Josh Allen. The quarterback has 3,553 yards and 26 touchdowns through the air while adding another 628 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Allen ranks third in the NFL in passing touchdowns and fifth in yards. When he played Miami earlier in the season, he went for over 400 yards despite the extreme heat. He’s helped by one of the league’s elite receivers, Stefon Diggs. The veteran is third in the NFL with 1,239 yards and second with ten touchdowns. He is joined by a talented Gabe Davis, who is second with 696 yards and six touchdowns. We’ll be watching Isaiah McKenzie on Saturday, as he had 76 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown when these teams met in September.

Buffalo’s run game has had some success this year thanks to lead back Devin Singletary. He leads the team with 642 yards and four touchdowns and has boosted a backfield devastated by injuries. He and Allen have combined to form a deadly run attack that’s crucial in these cold-weather games. Look for James Cook to get some carries too, as he’s been quietly effective with limited carriers. He’s seen an uptick over the last few games, getting two or more carries in two of his previous four games.

The Bills’ defense allows 338.3 yards and 17 points per game this season. They are fourth in the NFL against the rush, allowing just 99.8 yards per game. We’ll see how that holds up now that sack leader Von Miller (8) will be out for the rest of the season. The good news is that the Bills aren’t short on pass rushers with Greg Rousseau (7 sacks), AJ Epenesa (5.5 sacks), and veteran Shaq Lawson (2.5 sacks). Rousseau has a sack in each of his last four games, while Epensesa has one in each of his previous three. They are joined by a secondary led by safety Jordan Poyer, who leads the team with four interceptions. The secondary has been boosted by linebacker Matt Milano who has 12 TFLs (team-high), two interceptions, and a touchdown. Keep an eye on cornerback Dane Jackson who leads the team with 12 pass deflections, as he looks to contain Waddle and Hill on Saturday.

Free Pick: Bills -7.5

It’s a lot of points to give up against a top AFC team, but this is the best bet here. As good as the Dolphins have been, a deeper look at the schedule shows this team may be different from what their record shows. The last two weeks were the most challenging tests, and they were terrible in both. They had a five-game win streak coming into those, but that was against some of the league’s worst teams (Steelers, Lions, Bears, Browns, Texans). The Dolphins’ best win was against the Bills earlier this season, but extreme heat and some controversial sideline shading played a significant factor.

The game being played in cold-weather Buffalo will be a massive advantage for the Bills. Not only is it one of the best crowds in the country, but the weather will also slow down the dangerous Miami pass attack and force them to rely on their struggling run game. It may not be high scoring, but we are happy to give up the 7.5 points to run with Buffalo on Saturday. 

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