- The Buffalo Bills (12-3) are 3-point favorites vs the Miami Dolphins (10-5) on Sunday afternoon
- Sunday Betting Record: 6-9-1, -3.20 Units
- The Dolphins clinch a playoff berth by winning – see the game odds and preview below
The Miami Dolphins are 3-point underdogs against the Buffalo Bills Sunday (1pm ET) in a game that means everything to the Dolphins and not much to the Bills.
The Bills have already clinched the AFC East Championship. The Dolphins earn a playoff berth if they defeat the Bills. If they lose, they need the cooperation of other teams.
The Dolphins are trying to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2016, and only the third time since 2002. Miami hasn’t secured a playoff win without 10 wins since 1999.
Dolphins vs Bills Odds
|Miami Dolphins||+138||+3 (-107)||O 42.5 (-110)|
|Buffalo Bills||-157||-3 (-114)||U 42.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 2 from DraftKings
Dolphins Playoff Scenarios Are Numerous
If every favorite team wins Sunday, the Dolphins won’t make the playoffs. The Dolphins can eliminate the need to worry by beating Buffalo. But here are other ways to claim a spot:
– Ravens lose, or
– Browns lose, or
– Colts lose, or
– Dolphins tie and Ravens tie, or
– Dolphins tie and Browns tie, or
– Dolphins tie and Colts tie, or
– Dolphins and Titans tie.
This is why Dolphins fans are concerned about today.
A total of eight teams can guarantee a playoff berth with a win in Week 17: Bears, Browns Cardinals, Dolphins, Rams, Ravens, Titans and Washington.
The Colts, Cowboys and Giants all need a win plus help from others to get in.
Much left to be decided.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 28, 2020
Tua Can Make His Mark
Unfair or not, rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa already has pressure on him to deliver in the clutch. If the Dolphins can win with Tagovailoa in command, it would give the team confidence heading into the playoffs.
The Dolphins want to seize the moment, not back into the playoffs. They can’t do that unless Tagovailoa has a quality start.
Tua Tagovailoa from clean pocket
🎯 10 TDs
🎯 0 INTs
Only starting QB w/ zero INTs from a clean pocket this season pic.twitter.com/YkJblJq6z0
— PFF (@PFF) December 28, 2020
It has to be Tagovailoa all the way. Last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick came off the bench to rally the Dolphins to a comeback triumph in Las Vegas. This week, Fitzpatrick is on the COVID-19 list, therefore unavailable for heroics.
As is expected with a younger quarterback, Tagovailoa has been inconsistent this season. But his teammates have seen enough to know he is capable to get the job done. Miami’s strong defense has been consistent and will likely do its job against Buffalo. But offensively, it has to be Tua Time.
Bills Looking To Avoid Injuries
The Bills’ No. 1 objective in Week 17 has to be to stay healthy. Buffalo faithful believe they have a strong opportunity to be a major playoff factor. They are safely in the playoffs. This game isn’t important to them. They don’t want to undermine their postseason with a major injury in Week 17.
Sean McDermott said they have a plan for Sunday in terms of playing or resting starters…said they will keep that plan internal #Bills
— Maddy Glab (@MadGlab) December 29, 2020
The coaching staff hasn’t said how much it will play its starters, or whether some starters will play at all. The decision isn’t cut and dry: historically, some coaches believe a team is better off to keep their foot on the gas and approach games like these like they would any other game.
Not that the Bills will concern themselves with this, but quarterback Josh Allen is in the MVP race and statistics do matter.
Bet On The Team With Urgency
The Dolphins have too much at stake not to bring their best effort. The Bills have too much at stake to risk injuries . The best guess is the Bills will play starters, but not four quarters.
The Bills beat the Dolphins in Week 2, but the game was close (31-28) and Tagovailoa didn’t play. Tagovailoa is now 6-2 as a starter, and over the past two starts he has completed 37 of 48 passes (77%). He won’t be facing Buffalo’s best defenders in this game — at least not the entire game. Tagovailoa seems ready for this challenge
Pick: Dolphins +3 (-107)
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