Following a third straight-up defeat in their past five games, the New England Patriots wrap up the regular season on the road against the Miami Dolphins as early 10-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Patriots have been plagued by injuries to key personnel in recent weeks, including receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, who were sidelined for the team’s Week 16 loss to the New York Jets.
However, the pressure has been off New England since it clinched its seventh consecutive AFC East crown with a 27-6 win over the Houston Texans back in Week 14.
Sunday afternoon’s Patriots vs. Dolphins betting matchup at Sun Life Stadium, though, remains crucial for the Patriots, who can capture home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a straight-up win. A loss to Miami, however, combined with a win by Denver over the San Diego Chargers, would hand home-field advantage to the 11-4 Broncos.
Betting on Sunday’s date with the Dolphins initially had been limited because of the uncertain status of Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who reportedly suffered ankle and internal injuries in last weekend’s 18-12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The injury to Tannehill further compounds a lost season for the Dolphins, who are 2-7 SU in their last nine games and winless in their last six against the spread, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
Miami dropped a 36-7 road decision to New England in Week 8 and is just 2-9 SU in its last 11 games against its divisional rival but has posted SU wins in the Patriots’ last two visits to South Florida, including a 33-20 win as a 3 1/2-point underdog last season.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would like nothing better than to end the Dolphins’ brief home winning streak against his club and improve upon his performance against the Jets, in which he threw for just 231 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Despite averaging a mere 241.3 yards in the air over his last three outings, Brady continues to lead all NFL passers with 4,636 yards, and remains in contention to earn NFL MVP honors for the third time in his career. But with +900 odds, the 38-year-old veteran remains behind Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, who has emerged as a strong -600 favorite to be named MVP at the sportsbooks.
As well, New England enters Week 17 still atop the Super Bowl 50 betting odds, joined by the 12-3 Arizona Cardinals at 7-2, followed by the Panthers at 5-1, the Seattle Seahawks at 15-2 and the Broncos at 10-1.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images