Good luck finding a bigger mismatch — on paper, at least — than this Sunday’s Week 2 game pitting the New England Patriots against the Miami Dolphins.
The two teams appear to be heading in very opposite directions, and there’s nothing we saw Sunday that makes us believe otherwise. The Dolphins proved to be the NFL’s biggest joke, as they were pasted 59-10 by the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots, meanwhile, looked as good as ever, steamrolling the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-3 to begin their title defense.
That’s just the start, too. Everyone expects the Patriots will get even better once they add Antonio Brown to the mix, as he’s expected to officially sign early this week. That adds one more thing for which the Dolphins must prepare, as they reportedly try to get out of South Beach.
And despite the Patriots’ recent issues in Miami, oddsmakers are trying to protect themselves against a surge of Patriots money. The line — for a New England road game, mind you — opened with the Patriots as 14.5-point favorites. It took practically no time at all for the line to be bet all the way up to 17 points. It’s even as high as 17.5 at the Westgate in Las Vegas.
A team laying 17 points on the road feels unprecedented, obviously, but it’s not completely unfamiliar territory for the Patriots. According to the OddsShark database, this is just the second time in the Belichick/Brady era the Patriots have been favorites of 17 or more points on the road. Fittingly, the last time it happened was in 2007, which probably won’t be the last time the 2019 Patriots are compared to that team that went undefeated in the regular season. The 2007 Pats were favored by 19 points on the road at Baltimore on Dec. 3. The Ravens more than covered the spread, as New England eked out a 27-24 win in Baltimore.
Even if the line hadn’t been bet up to 17, it still would have been a rarity to see the Patriots such large road favorites, but until now, it only happened in the 2007 season.
Oct. 21 at Miami (NE -15.5): New England 49, Miami 28
Nov. 18 at Buffalo (NE -16): New England 56, Buffalo 10
Dec. 3 at Baltimore (NE -19): New England 27, Baltimore 24
Dec. 29 at New York Giants (NE -14.5): New England 38, New York 35
For those keeping score at home: That’s 4-0 straight-up, 2-2 against the spread.
For what it’s worth, the Patriots have been favored by 17 or more at home seven times, including the playoffs.
Nov. 25, 2007 vs. Philadelphia (-24): New England 31, Philadelphia 28
Dec. 16, 2007 vs. New York Jets (-20.5): New England 20, New York 10
Dec. 23, 2007 vs. Miami (-22): New England 28, Miami 7
Nov. 21, 2011 vs. Kansas City (-17): New England 34, Kansas City 3
Dec. 4, 2011 vs. Indianapolis (-20): New England 31, Indianapolis 24
Dec. 24, 2016 vs. New York Jets (-17): New England 41, New York 3
Nov. 26, 2017 vs. Miami (-17): New England 35, Miami 17
That’s a tidy 7-0 straight-up but just 3-4 ATS.
Do with all of this what you will.