A look at the Miami Dolphins from an NFL betting perspective
2019-2020 Season Recap
The Miami Dolphins organization gave their fanbase every reason to believe they would be tanking last season. Afterall, they traded away 2 offensive starters to Houston before the season even began. They sent tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills to Houston in exchange for a 2020 first round draft choice. Additionally, after week 2 they traded away starting safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh in exchange for a 2020 first round draft pick. Miami also sent their #1 running back Kenyan Drake to Arizona at the trade deadline. Although these moves were heavily criticized in the South Florida media, it became abundantly clear that the Dolphins front office was willing to take one step backward in order to move 2 steps forward much to the dismay of their avid following.
Miami began their season by going 0-7. Furthermore, the Dolphins were outscored by an enormous margin of 163-26 through its first four games. That left many veteran NFL observers labeling them as potentially the worst team in NFL history. However, the Dolphins refused to throw in the towel and went 5-4 over its final 9 games. One of their wins came against New England in Week 17, thus denying the Patriots a first round bye in the playoffs. Kudos goes out to first year head coach Brian Flores who held his team together and his players who exhibited a plethora of character.
Stockpile of 2020 Draft Picks
Miami will enter the 2020 NFL Draft with a cavalcade of 14 picks. That is an extremely substantial number by NFL Draft standards. As a matter of fact, they possess five of the first 56 overall picks. By comparison, and barring a trade, their division rival Buffalo will not make their first pick until selection #54. It will be imperative Miami strikes it rich in this draft if they hope to expedite their current rebuild and become relevant sooner rather than later.
Impressive Free Agent Haul
When evaluating what NFL teams did best to improve themselves during the offseason, you cannot leave Miami out of that discussion. The Dolphins signed three offensive and four defensive players who are projected to be potential starters.
Defensively they signed former Buffalo Bills 1st round pick Shaq Lawson who is coming off his finest season as a pro. Lawson is only 26 years of age and he recorded 6.5 sacks for Buffalo last season. Lawson also exhibited a stoutness against the run. Additionally, they obtained a pair of ex New England Patriots in linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts. Neither should have any troubles adjusting to Miami's defensive scheme. After all, their current head coach Brian Flores was their defensive coordinator in New England just two seasons ago. Likewise, "The Fish" contracted former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones to upgrade their secondary.
Following the trade of Kenyon Drake, no Miami running back seized an opportunity to be their future #1 back or a viable backup for that matter. They very well may have solved that problem by signing unrestricted free agent Jordan Howard. The former Chicago Bear and Philadelphia Eagle has proven that he can handle being a team’s bell cow. They also bolstered the offensive line with the additions of former New York Giants 1st round draft pick Ereck Flowers, and yet another past New England Patriot in center Ted Karras.
Besides playing their customary six games against fellow AFC East foes (Bills, Jets, Patriots), Miami will also face all teams from the AFC West and NFC South. Moreover, the Dolphins will host Cincinnati and travel to Jacksonville.
The Dolphins closed as underdog in all 16 of their games a year ago. Miami finished last season by going 9-3 ATS over its last 12 games. If the season were to start today, it would be highly likely that Miami would be an underdog in 15 of 16 games. Personally, I will look to take advantage of Miami being undervalued early in the season and specifically so when installed as an underdog. In my professional opinion, sportsbooks will quickly adjust to this roster being much better than last year's 5-11 team. That is without even taking their upcoming massive draft haul into account.
Best Bet: Dolphins Regular Season Win Total
Going out on a limb and picking Miami to win the AFC East at current futures betting odds of +1120 at BetOnline is a bit too risky for my liking. Besides, I already chose Buffalo in my AFC East Futures article. In any event, one of my early NFL predictions is on Miami to go over 6.5 regular season wins at money line odds of -110.
Ross Benjamin is a top sports analyst and one of the sports industry's most respected handicappers. Follow him on Twitter: @RossBenjamin1 or visit his website at RBWins.com