We have a showdown between two teams that are trending downward this season in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins will host the Houston Texans in Week 9, with both teams possessing disappointing 1-7 records entering the matchup.
While the Texans are clearly rebuilding amid the ongoing saga involving Deshaun Watson, the decline of the Dolphins is worrisome given the growth that Miami had shown in 2020. At this time a season ago, the Dolphins were 4-3 before they would win six out of their final nine games.
So who will win Sunday’s contest between two teams seeking their second victory of the season? Continue reading below to see my prediction for the upcoming game between the Texans and the Dolphins, along with my favorite bets.
Please note that all odds are current as of 4 p.m. EST on Friday, November 5.
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Texans vs. Dolphins Prediction
The Texans and the Dolphins have been linked since the offseason with Miami’s reported potential interest in getting Watson from Houston. However, with Watson dealing with legal issues, no team has shown they are comfortable enough risking an expensive trade for a quarterback that has an uncertain future in the NFL.
As for the game on Sunday, the Texans will finally have Tyrod Taylor back under center after he came close to returning from injury in Week 8. Taylor hasn’t played since hurting his hamstring in Week 2, leaving rookie quarterback Davis Mills to serve in his stead.
Mills has struggled in relief of Taylor this season, throwing for 1,255 yards, six touchdowns, and seven interceptions in his six starts. Meanwhile, Taylor looked sharp in Weeks 1 and 2, completing 31-of-44 passes for 416 yards and three touchdowns before going down.
Even with Taylor back in the lineup, the Dolphins should be favored after getting improved play from Tua Tagovailoa in recent weeks. Following a three-game absence due to injury, Tagovailoa has completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 825 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions in his last three outings.
The interceptions will need to be cleaned up, but Tagovailoa has been playing much better, even amid the rumors of Miami’s interest in replacing him with Watson. Even with the Dolphins playing abysmal thus far, I believe Miami has enough to defeat Houston at home.
Prediction: Dolphins 24, Texans 13
Texans vs. Dolphins Best Bets
2021 NFL Betting Record: 1-7-0
There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it, I need to be better moving forward. THIS is the week we begin our stretch of wins.
Best Bet: Dolphins -5.5 (-115) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
The Dolphins seem to me to be a better team than their record indicates. Do I believe Miami is a contending team that simply isn’t playing up to their expectations? No. But do I think that the Dolphins are slightly better than a one-win team? Yes.
Brian Flores is less than a year removed from the Coach of the Year running in 2020 after leading Miami to a 10-6 record. Fast forward to now, and his team is facing their eighth-straight loss.
Even with Taylor operating the offense of the Texans, I’d still give the slight edge to the Dolphins. Though, I have to admit, there’s an increased chance for Houston to upset Miami on the road with Taylor under center.
Even with the Dolphins owning a 2-5-1 record against the spread this season, they should be able to cover by 5.5 points in Week 9.
While the Texans did cover against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8, all 22 of their points came in garbage time, so it’s misleading to believe that Houston was able to put up points on Los Angeles.
Best Bet: Under 46.5 Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
Neither the Texans nor the Dolphins have explosive offenses that can score points in bunches. While Miami is a much faster-paced offense with Tagovailoa at quarterback (9th in the NFL in pace), Houston is one of the slowest-paced (21st in the NFL in pace) teams in the NFL thus far.
Through the first eight weeks, the Texans are posting a league-worst 14.9 points per game, while the Dolphins are recording the fifth-fewest points per game at 17.3. Unless we get multiple defensive touchdowns, which is possible with these two teams, I don’t envision 46-plus points being scored.