NFL Odds & Preview – Bills Must Come Up Big – And Hope For a Life Raft

Sunday, 12/31/2017 at 04:25 pm BUFFALO (9-7) at MIAMI (6-10)
Expanded Matchup Game Center Bet Now Offensive Statistics Defensive Statistics
305BUFFALO 42 18.9 22.4 9-7 8-6-2 7-8-1 126.1 176.6 302.7 124.8 230.5 355.3
306MIAMI +2 17.6 24.6 6-10 5-9-2 7-8-1 86.8 220.9 307.7 110.5 225.2 335.7

Last Updated: 2017-12-27

bills dolphins nfl picksIf there is anything that fits the category of a “must-win situation,” it’s that which the Buffalo Bills are facing on Sunday as they come south to face the Miami Dolphins, a team that they bested on their home field just a couple of weeks ago. For the Dolphins, it’s been very frustrating season that is finally coming to an end, and it leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The action starts at 4:25 PM ET at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, and as CBS televises this game, customers at VietBet will have the opportunity to place wagers in real time while they’re watching it, using the facilities available through Live Betting Ultra

Buffalo is currently 8-7 straight-up (8-6-1 against the points), and comes into this game not only having to win, but also requiring help. What does this mean? Well, they would need for either the Tennessee Titans and the Los Angeles Chargers to suffer defeats, or the Baltimore Ravens to lose to the Cincinnati Bengals. If those things fall right for them, it will be the first time in 18 seasons that the Bills will have gotten to the playoffs.

For the Dolphins, there was hope for post-season play, which they experienced last season. But consecutive losses on the road to the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs buried that hope. Miami, which won nine of its last 11 games last season to drive into playoff position, has now lost seven of its last nine, and comes into this one with a 6-9 straight-up mark (5-8-2 ATS).

In the NFL odds posted on this game by the people at VietBet, Buffalo is favored on the road:

Buffalo Bills -3 (-105)
Miami Dolphins +3 (-115)

Over 42.5 points -110
Under 42.5 points -110

Miami had some tough luck the last time they faced Buffalo, as Jay Cutler was intercepted three times in a 24-16 defeat. Cutler has been up-and-down, and he is not expected to come back with the club next season. In fact, there might be a temptation on the part of head coach Adam Gase to use Matt Moore, who steered the Dolphins a win against the Bills last season, if his foot injury allows. Of course, they hope to have Ryan Tannehill back health in 2018y, but serious questions have to be raised as to whether the Dolphins could win with him. Yes, they did make the playoffs last season, but on the track they are headed now, they seem destined for mediocrity, to the extent that the talk about Gase “changin the culture” seems almost meaningless.

And the offense swings and misses all too often; Miami missed on all of its eight third-down opportunities against Kansas City. At one point, there was a shouting match on the sidelines between Gase and wide receiver Jarvis Landry, the NFL’s leading pass-catcher (103 receptions), who, became really frustrated with the play calls. There’s been a lot of talk around Miami about Landry’s 8.7-yard average per reception, as the game plan has not been able to get him loose downfield at all.

VietBet patrons who have been reading the Buffalo newspapers know that there seems to be too much talk up there about the catch by Kelvin Benjamin that appeared to be a touchdown right before halftime last week against New England but was later overturned, even after officials spent a lot of time watching the replay. Owner Terry Pegula, who was apoplectic, has implored the NFL to get the replay system fixed. “We can’t have stuff like this happening in our league,” he says.

To blame replay on the loss (which came by a 37-16 score), or ANY losses they have suffered, would be barking up the wrong tree. Sean McDermott, the first-year coach who has a defensive mindset, could have been a little more aggressive in the third quarter against the Patriots, as instead of going for a first down in a fourth-and-one situation, down seven points, he called for a 50-yard field goal that missed. Things like this opened the door for the Pats. And Buffalo has been slow to make the necessary offensive adjustments at halftime, or so it appears, as the Bills have gone five straight games without a second half touchdown.

Even with all this, we see Miami has team more likely to stumble in this one. While Cutler is error-prone, Tyrod Taylor, even in a season where he has been much-maligned – enough to be replaced by rookie Nathan Peterman at one point – has tossed only four interceptions. With LeSean McCoy – who had 147 yards from scrimmage against New England – leading the way, Buffalo is also more likely to get the all-important ground game untracked. This is not big recommendation, between the two, we’ll move with the Bills, who obviously have desperation on their side.

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