Patriots Open As Rare Underdog Vs. Dolphins; Why Line Could Move Before Kick

The Patriots are in an unfamiliar spot this week


December 14, 2020

For the first time in a long time, the New England Patriots are underdogs to the Miami Dolphins.

The betting markets opened up Miami as a three-point home favorite with a total of 43 points for the Week 15 clash next Sunday in South Florida, per consensus data.

Believe it or not, the initial betting support showed on the Pats.

?We had one player that we really respect bet +3 (-110) on New England right away,? Westgate SuperBook executive director John Murray told NESN. ?I expect this number to get knocked down a little bit more. Usually people that are making those early bets are onto something and the market usually moves their way.?

Money in the market dictates where the point spread moves. Respected bettors peppered the Pats +3 at multiple sportsbooks, which caused most bookmakers to move to Miami -2.5. There?s a decent chance more bettors jump at the opportunity to bet on Bill Belichick against rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as the week progresses.

Perhaps the more fascinating trend to follow is the steady decline in Patriot point totals. Their recent game totals have dipped from 51 (against Arizona Cardinals) to 46.5 (at Los Angeles Chargers) to 43.5 (at Los Angeles Rams) to 43 (at Miami).

New England is 9-4 to the under this season, and its last five games have all stayed south of the posted total.

?It?s a very different style of play, and Belichick knows that his team is undermanned,? Murray said. ?An undermanned team is going to try and run clock and play close to the vest, which leads to these lower totals. There?s no more wide-open passing attack and they really don?t have much talent at the skill positions. They?re playing a different brand of football and we?ve had to adjust accordingly.?  

Another popular storyline revolves around the starting quarterback. Cam Newton was benched for Jarrett Stidham in the fourth quarter of last Thursday?s 24-3 loss at Los Angeles. Belichick told reporters that he?s sticking with Newton, but bookmakers won?t budge their betting numbers either way.

?I don?t know that there?s much of a difference,? Murray explained. ?That?s not a quarterback move where we?re hesitant about putting a betting line up. If we?re willing to put the line up without knowing for sure who the quarterback is, that should tell you everything.

?They should play Stidham to see what they have there. The Rams have an extremely underrated defense, so I don?t want to totally crush Cam for that Thursday night game, but New England isn?t making the postseason this year. You might as well just find out if Stidham can play or not.?

The last time the Pats were underdogs against the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdowns in Miami?s 24-20 home win back on Dec. 15, 2013, as 2.5-point favorites.

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images

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