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NFL Betting: Miami Dolphins Preview

Posted by Stan Simmons on 7/17/2013 7:37:39 PM

When people who engage in online betting try to assess a team, they must do so in a narrow context – what a team has done to get better – and in a larger context defined by how the rest of its division and the NFL has or hasn’t improved.

A winning sports bet will generally find a way to balance one team’s internal actions against the rest of its league’s quality. The online sportsbook wisdom pertaining to the Miami Dolphins would probably hold the view that within the AFC East, this team will do better than most. Within the AFC, it probably won’t do enough to make the postseason. Few would dispute the claim that Miami has gotten better in the offseason, but critics will wonder if this team is ready to come anywhere close to hitting the ceiling of its potential.
First, here’s how the Dolphins have improved: They brought in Mike Wallace, a speed merchant and deep-ball threat, to give second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill a major weapon at the wide receiver spot. A more under-the-radar pickup for Miami in the offseason was New York Jet tight end Dustin Keller. The website Walter Football offers some important, clarifying insights on what Keller could mean to the Dolphins and Tannehill in particular: “Keller is coming off an injury-plagued campaign that saw him play just eight games, but he's just two seasons removed from 65 catches, 815 yards and five touchdowns. It's safe to say that 2012 was a freak incident because Keller had never missed a start in his professional career prior to that season. No longer marooned in New York with the anemic Mark Sanchez, Keller could enjoy his best year yet.”

If Wallace and Keller are both at their best, Miami’s offense could carry this team to a winning record. If the Dolphins’ passing attack doesn’t flourish, though, this team will probably fall short of nine wins. Miami rearranged a lot of its parts on defense, and it felt so insecure about its defensive front that it made an against-the-grain No. 3 draft pick by taking Oregon speed rusher Dion Jordan. The Dolphins’ cornerbacks were not at their best in fourth quarters this past season. Miami’s defense didn’t get overwhelmed on a general level in 2012, but the Dolphins were not as rugged or resolute as they needed to be, especially in crucial situations. There are so many question marks surrounding this team, and even though it has a better future than the Buffalo Bills or the New York Jets, it’s still going to be hard for Miami to make the AFC postseason.

It’s true that Miami could very realistically snatch four wins in four games against Buffalo and New York, two teams that have endured player defections this past offseason and are stuck with substandard quarterbacks during transitional periods for each organization. Buffalo is breaking in first-year coach Doug Marrone, while the Jets are likely to fire coach Rex Ryan at the end of the 2013 season. However, Miami will have to collect wins from the rest of its schedule as well. If the Dolphins can’t go 4-0 against Buffalo and the Jets, they’re probably not going to make the playoffs. If they go 2-2 against the Bills and Jets, they’ll definitely stay home in January while other teams compete for the Super Bowl.


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