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Raiders vs Dolphins Free Pick

December 23, 2020
Raider vs Miami Free Pick

Records: MIAMI DOLPHINS (9-5, 11-3 ATS) @ LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (7-7, 7-7 ATS) FREE PICK

Miami head coach Brian Flores has done a fantastic job of turning around a Dolphins franchise that has been ailing for years. Miami is currently 9-5 and owns the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoffs.

While Miami has done a great job of winning games this season, they have also been good to bettors. The Dolphins lead the NFL with an 11-3 record against the spread. On Saturday night, they will try to maintain their hold on that final playoff position in the AFC as they travel to Las Vegas.

Back Coach Flores

Flores, a former assistant for Bill Belichick in New England, was hired by Miami prior to the 2019 season. Last year, the Dolphins needed some time to adjust to Flores, the offense, the defense, and the special teams.

In the first month of last season, the Dolphins were horrible. Miami lost its first four games in 2019 by a combined score of 163-26. After a bye in Week 5, the Dolphins still had trouble losing their next three before the switch turned on.

Miami went 5-4 to close the season. More importantly, they kept games close. There was a one-point loss to Washington, a one-point loss to the Jets, and a three-point defeat to Buffalo.

Since that rough first month of 2019, the Dolphins under Flores are a very impressive 20-6 ATS. Miami is 9-1 ATS in its last ten games. Despite traveling out west to face the Raiders, Miami is a strong bet as a 3-point favorite in Las Vegas.

The Miami Defense

While rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa gets many of the Dolphins’ headlines, he is not the reason why Miami is 9-5. Not to take anything away from Tagovailoa and his development, but the Dolphins are in a position to earn a playoff spot because they play great defense.

Miami has given up the fewest points in the NFL and allows just over 18 points per game. The Dolphins also lead the NFL in forced turnovers with 26. Teams that win the turnover battle more often than not win games. In Miami’s last three victories, the Dolphins defense allowed a combined total of just 22 points.

Emmanuel Ogbah leads the Miami pass rush with nine sacks. Teammates Kyle Van Noy and Jerome Baker each have six. Cornerback Xavien Howard leads the entire NFL with eight interceptions. The Dolphins do an excellent job of slowing down opposing offenses. Miami will likely go up Raiders backup quarterback Marcus Mariota this week.

Dolphins at Raiders Free Picks ATS

Miami Allows a League Low 18 PPG

Carr Trouble

Las Vegas could be without starting quarterback Derek Carr who injured a groin last week. If that’s the case, Mariota will start. It likely won’t matter who is under center for the Raiders. Moving the football and scoring points against Miami is going to be difficult no matter what.

The bigger question is whether or not rookie WR Henry Ruggs III will be back. Ruggs gives either quarterback the ability to stretch the field with his speed. Ruggs is on the reserve/COVID-19 list and is expected to return to the team facility by the end of the week. His status for Saturday night is still to be determined.

Dolphins O vs. Raiders D

Where the real problem lies for the Raiders is on defense. A little over a month ago, the Raiders were 6-3 and appeared headed toward a possible playoff berth. Since, Las Vegas is 1-4 and the defense has imploded.

In the Raiders last four losses, they have given up 35, 43, 44, and 30 points. For the season, head coach Jon Gruden’s team allows 30.1 points per game. That ranks 29th in the NFL. Teams that give up that many points simply don’t win many games in the NFL.

To make matters worse, the Raiders could be without DE Clelin Ferrell, CB Damon Arnette, and LB Nick Morrow.

The Pick

This game actually opened with the Raiders as a 1.5-point favorite at top online sportsbooks. The line quickly jumped in favor of the Dolphins as 2.5-point favorites and most sportsbooks now have Miami as a 3-point road chalk.

 

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