Dolphins vs Patriots Predictions Week 1 – Picks, Best Bets & Parlays for Miami vs New England
Dolphins vs Patriots Predictions Week 1 – NFL Pick of the Day
The Miami Dolphins served notice to the rest of the AFC East in head coach Brian Flores’ second year in 2020, jumping from a 5-11 record a year prior to a 10-6 mark and just missing out on an AFC Wild Card spot.
The Fins did get first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa some foundational reps during the second half of the season and are banking on that paying off in 2021, especially since they also outfitted the Alabama product with some firepower via free agency and the NFL Draft.
Meanwhile, the Patriots are coming off the first year of the post-Tom Brady era, one in which they saw Cam Newton come up considerably short in trying to fill the future Hall of Famer’s shoes.
This past April, the Patriots drafted who they hope will be their long-term answer at the position in Mac Jones, and they’re wasting no time getting their first-hand due diligence started. New England surprisingly released Newton on Tuesday, Aug. 31, setting the stage for Jones, who was highly impressive in preseason, to take the reins of the offense beginning with this Week 1 matchup against the Dolphins.
The schedule makers wasted no time teeing up the first salvo in this decades-long divisional rivalry in 2021, and the following are my betting predictions for what projects to be a wire-to-wire game.
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Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Prediction
A year ago, the Dolphins made a five-game improvement over the prior season with a combination of solid quarterback play, a few surprising performances in the backfield, and a pair of shutdown corners in Byron Jones and Xavien Howard that lifted the overall performance level of the defense.
Miami didn’t make any huge shifts in its ground game, though they did make a solid add in Malcolm Brown via free agency. They’ll trust Myles Gaskin, Brown and Salvon Ahmed as top options to open the season, and they’ll face a Patriots defense that was gashed by the run in 2020 to the tune of 131.4 yards per game.
However, New England does get back a key run-stopping asset in Dont’a Hightower, who opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, and brought in both Kyle Van Noy and Matthew Judon this offseason to give the Pats an almost entirely revamped linebacker corps.
The Dolphins passing game will once again be helmed by Tagovailoa, who’ll face a talented New England pass defense that will feature the starting quartet of Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Devin McCourty and Adrian Phillips.
The 23-year-old Tagovailoa completed 20 of 26 passes in his one encounter with the Pats last season, but accumulated just 145 passing yards. Even with New England’s overall struggles in 2020, its pass defense still finished ranked No. 8 overall with 222.3 passing yards per game allowed.
On the Patriots’ end of things, Jones will be tasked with running an offense that often sputtered and/or was downright uninspiring against Newton last season in much more efficient fashion. The rookie arrives with 30 games of college experience under his belt and one outstanding junior season in 2020 during which he furnished a 41:4 TD:INT.
He got a nice addition to his air arsenal in Nelson Agholor, who’ll give defenses a real deep threat to keep track of. Kendrick Bourne is a reliable possession option as well, while Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry gained valuable experience last season while taking on the largest roles of their respective careers.
While Jones get an immediately tricky litmus test in the Week 1 matchup against Miami’s stingy and experienced secondary, the running backs could be one of the big keys to success for Bill Belichick’s squad.
Damien Harris and impressive rookie Rhamondre Stevenson are likely to operate in a timeshare to some degree on early downs this coming season, and each could find their way to a strong day against a Miami run defense that surrendered 132 rushing yards per road game and will be operating with a couple of new pieces at linebacker. Meanwhile, James White is once again in the fold and expected to play his usual robust pass-catching role.
Final Score Prediction: Patriots 23, Dolphins 17
Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Best Bets
Best Bet: Patriots -3.5 (+100 at BetMGM)
New England Patriots -3.5 (MIA @ NE, NFL Week 1)
MIA @ NE | 09/12, 3:25 PM
Bet $20, Payout $40
The Dolphins have an appealing mix of continuity and explosive new offensive pieces, which should allow Tagovailoa to accelerate his learning curve significantly in his first full season as starter. However, Will Fuller will miss the first game while serving a suspension, while Jaylen Waddle will be playing in his first pro game.
The Patriots will roll out an incumbent backfield but feature plenty of new faces at receiver and tight end. Jones has the talent and confidence of his teammates going into his pro debut and has shown an ability for above-average ball security, while the run defense should get a significant boost with Hightower’s return, as well as the additions of Van Noy and Judon.
This shapes up as a lower-scoring game where both teams’ strong defensive talent takes center stage. In such a scenario, I like the Pats to prevail by more than a field goal after going 5-3 against the number at home last season.
Best Bet: Under 43.5 Points (-110 at DraftKings)
Point Total: Under 43.5 (MIA @ NE, NFL Week 1)
MIA @ NE | 09/12, 3:25 PM
Bet $20, Payout $38
These two defensive units should do their fair share of limiting points this coming season. Jones will likely operate a relatively conservative air attack in Week 1, and Miami’s secondary should be able keep big plays to a minimum given the starting corners and experienced ex-Patriots Jason McCourty and Eric Rowe at safety.
The under prevailed in six of New England’s eight home contests last season, while it came through in four of Miami’s eight road tilts. Factoring in what is a tough matchup for both young QBs, I’m in the camp of the under.
Best Bet: Patriots Moneyline (-165 at BetMGM)
New England Patriots Moneyline (MIA @ NE, NFL Week 1)
MIA @ NE | 09/12, 3:25 PM
Bet $20, Payout $32
New England was 5-3 straight up at home last season and an NFL-best 86-17 over the last decade there. While Tom Brady’s presence naturally played a large role in that mark, the Pats still managed that winning mark last season with a team that was arguably less talented than the one they project to open 2021 with.
The Dolphins were 5-3 in their own right, and while Brian Flores certainly won’t be intimidated by the Gillette Stadium environment, New England’s edge in experience at key positions and the home crowd should help it to a season-opening win.
Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Same Game Parlay Picks
New England Patriots Moneyline/Under 43.5 Points (+210 at DraftKings)
New England Patriots Moneyline and Point Total Under 43.5 (MIA @ NE, NFL Week 1)
MIA @ NE | 09/12, 3:25 PM
Bet $20, Payout $62
This parlay at DK features a great price and is comprised of two wagers that I already singled out as attractive on an individual basis earlier. Given the case I laid out for a primarily defense-centric Patriots home win, this is a parlay that only requires two legs to hit and will pay off nicely if it does.