Although just about everyone expects the New England Patriots to brush aside the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, questions about the potential margin of victory persist.

ESPN betting analyst Preston Johnson highlighted the Dolphins versus Patriots line of 18 1/2 points as the bet he likes most in the Week 2 game between the AFC East rivals. The nearly unprecedented point spread reflects perceptions of the gulf in class between the teams, especially in the aftermath of the Patriots’ 33-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dolphins’ 59-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. Possibly add Antonio Brown into New England’s mix, and many believe the game will be lopsided.

However, Johnson believes the Dolphins will avoid humiliation at Hard Rock Stadium and lose by a smaller margin than the 18 1/2-point spread.

“I wrote Monday that I would be reluctantly backing the Dolphins if this line reached +17 or higher, and sure enough it blitzed right through the 17 and is sitting at 18.5. Prior to Week 1, I would have lined this game Patriots -13.5 on a neutral field, but this game is in Miami. If I thought a point spread of roughly -11 was fair for this Week 2 matchup, how much am I adjusting after their performances on Sunday? One of the biggest mistakes a bettor can make is overreacting to results in Week 1. The Dolphins’ roster is still filled with professional football players.

“After making nearly a five-point adjustment to my projections, I still line this game Patriots -15.8 myself. The value is there relative to the market number, and if there is any dignity in the Miami locker room we should get a team fighting to avoid embarrassment for the second straight week.”

So there you have it, bettors. Oddsmakers and NFL betting experts agree the Patriots will beat the Dolphins, but they seemingly differ in their assessment of Miami’s pride and professionalism.

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