Nobody is expecting much from the Bills this season. Living near Buffalo, there is a lot of negative feedback swirling around from the media to the fans and a lot of it is justified. However, this is a team that will surprise in a few spots just as it will implode in others and this looks like a good one to fit into the former. The home opener in Buffalo is sold out so the home team will have the same huge edge it normally does against Miami where the Bills are 5-0 the last five meetings (not counting 2008 in Canada).
Expectations are much higher in Miami where the Dolphins are looking to contend with the Jets and Patriots in the AFC East. While winning the division may be a stretch, being put into that class means good things are supposed to happen and with that, the value comes out on the other side. The Dolphins were favorites in Buffalo last season by the same number which was the first time they were laying chalk since 2002. Miami lost that year as well as last season to a 3-7 Bills team.
Buffalo isn’t going to beat any team in a shootout even though Trent Edwards looked much more improved in the preseason. His offensive line is a concern but that also performed well in the exhibition campaign. The Bills need to control the tempo of the game as they have a stable of backs that can all run the football effectively. Buffalo showed an impressive ground attack in the preseason, averaging 130 ypg and while preseason is not a great judge of performance, it is still a good sign for the team.
The Dolphins have a new defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan after the defense finished 22nd last season so a change was needed. This is a totally different system and I am not so sure it is going to be strong right out of the gate but the potential is definitely there. Miami will have new starters at nine positions, with end Kendall Langford and strong safety Yeremiah Bell the only certain holdovers from last year. That is a big turnover in this league and when implementing a new system, it can make things tougher.
The Dolphins offense remains pretty much intact but the addition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall can add some needed explosiveness to it. The problem is at quarterback however. Chad Henne is far from horrible as he put up a 75.2 passer rating a season ago but he threw more touchdowns than interceptions and his inconsistency is an issue. He has the potential to be above average and after a year of starting, it could happen sooner rather than later. I do not give him an edge over Edwards at this point.
The Dolphins, like Buffalo, will rely on a strong running game. The Bills goal is to stop that run and it will definitely be a challenge as they did not do a good job last season. Buffalo has to show some disguises though. If you mix up looks at a young quarterback like Henne, they can get rattled even with all of the skill players around them. The Bills could very well make Henne beat them, something he could not do last year. Get more NFL betting predictions from Matt at Touthouse.com
Buffalo is on a perfect 5-0 ATS run in their season openers so coming out strong has not been an issue. Miami meanwhile has been strong within the division and on the road in conference action but you cannot discount the fact it is 3-12-2 ATS in its last 17 games in September. As mentioned, the Dolphins have struggled here and are 1-5 ATS in the last six in Western New York and Canada while going 3-8-1 ATS the last six years overall. 3* Buffalo Bills