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junkmansports
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Patriots at Dolphins: What bettors need to know

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On 09/12/2011 07:24 AM in NFL
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (+7, 45.5)

THE STORY: Bill Belichick is the master of the poker face and non-disclosure, but the coach of the New England Patriots made no secret of his strategy this offseason: He’s all in.

Following a second straight home playoff loss, Belichick brought in a bevy of high-profile veterans – most notably Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth – in a shocking pair of trades following the lockout.

Even for a franchise that has a reputation of being a halfway house for malcontent stars (see: Randy Moss and Corey Dillon), those acquisitions scream out that nothing less than another Super Bowl ring will satisfy Belichick. New England’s quest begins Monday night at AFC East rival Miami.

TV: ESPN, 7 p.m. ET.

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (2010: 7-9, 3rd, AFC East): Miami had its own share of offseason drama. QB Chad Henne remains the starter after a much-publicized failed trade for Denver’s Kyle Orton, and star WR Brandon Marshall was stabbed in the abdomen (allegedly by his wife) and later revealed that he suffers from borderline personality disorder.

The Dolphins have their own personality issues as a team, particularly a stunning inability to win at home (1-7) last season. The RB tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams was scuttled in favor of ex-Saint Reggie Bush and second-round rookie draft pick Daniel Thomas.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (2010: 14-2, 1st, AFC East): Behind unanimous MVP selection Tom Brady, New England was an offensive juggernaut last season, running up a league-high 518 points before being run out of the playoffs by the Jets.

Belichick overhauled a defense that couldn’t sniff a QB by bringing in the massive Haynesworth along with pass rushers Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter.
Ochocinco did not make much of an impression in preseason as he tries to adjust to an offense that spreads the ball around. That Patriots drafted RBs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley to back up 1,000-yard rusher BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

EXTRA POINTS:

1. Brady won his second MVP award after throwing 36 touchdowns against only four interceptions last season. He set an NFL record with a streak of 335 completions without an interception. The last time he was picked off in the regular season was against Baltimore on Oct. 17, 2010.

2. Miami’s Cameron Wake was second in the AFC with 14 sacks last season, while new arrival Bush leads all NFL running backs with 294 receptions since 2006.

3. The Patriots swept the Dolphins in lopsided fashion last season, outscoring them 79-21.

TRENDS:

The Pats are 22-10 ATS in their last 32 games as road favorites and 44-21-3 ATS in their last 68 road games.

The Dolphins are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games when getting points but 17-45-1 ATS in their last 63 home games.

The road team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings between these two teams.

LINE MOVEMENT:

The spread opened in late June with the Patriots listed as 4-point road favorites. The number has been bet up to Pats -7. The total is staying put around 45.
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