DOLPHINS AT EAGLES: SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALLL
This Sunday Night Football game is one you won't want to miss.
The Miami Dolphins and the Philadelphia Eagles come in hot with 5-1 records, albeit on slightly different trajectories. The Dolphins, coming off a dominant win over the winless Carolina Panthers, are averaging a remarkable 498.7 yards and 37.2 points per game. Conversely, the Eagles recently faced their first loss, a game where their offense underperformed against the New York Jets, raising concerns about their inconsistent passing game this season.
While arguments can be made for either team in this match-up, the question of which side to bet if you are going to bet the side, in my opinion, boils down to this question:
Do you value the underlying statistics of this season, where the Dolphins jump off the page as clearly the better team?
Or do you take a step back and look at the larger picture of these franchises, taking recent data points with a grain of salt, and ultimately siding with the home team that recently won the NFC championship, giving less than a field goal? I see the argument for each side rendering the line to me essentially correct.
If the line is "right," then there is a good chance we get a game that is competitive throughout, providing me my first clue in where to unlock value in this contest.
THE MIAMI DOLPHINS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Dolphins' season-long metrics continue to be eye-popping. Removing special teams plays and plays that involve turnovers, the Dolphins emerge as an Expected Points Added juggernaut. Miami boasts +127 net EPA from offensive & defensive line-of-scrimmage plays (again, not including turnovers which are more volatile arguably in a small sample size).
The Dolphins have added +146 EPA on offense in this metric, which is #1 by 46 points over the Bills and 88 points more than their opponent in this match-up, the Eagles. The Dolphins have given back -18 EPA on defense, which isn't terrible, ranking 12th by this metric.
I think it's important to note when the Dolphins have racked up these stellar metrics, such as posting 350 rushing yards vs. the Broncos, it has largely been a changeup pitch, after breaking the game open and creating separation from their opponent with big-time passing plays.
It was only after establishing a lead in games against the Patriots, Broncos, Giants & Panthers that the Dolphins started to pound the rock.
Against the Chargers and Bills, they ran the ball 39 times total, which should not be a surprise given the Dolphins' splits last season with Mike McDaniel as the head coach and play-caller.
Under McDaniel, the Dolphins see a significant decrease in rush attempts per game when facing an uphill climb. The Dolphins average 27.3 rush attempts per game as favorites vs. only 19.6 per game as underdogs. With the Eagles sitting as -2.5-point favorites, it's likely McDaniel will opt for more passing plays. He knows he'll need to execute big plays to upset the Eagles and Jalen Hurts, who last week suffered his second loss in his last 24 regular-season NFL games.
THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
If the Dolphins didn't run the ball excessively against the Chargers' porous rush defense in a game that was close throughout, I expect to see similar decision-making in this contest against arguably the toughest team to run against in the NFL. The Eagles' run defense ranks #1 in the league by EPA/play on designed runs. Additionally, DROY front-runner, defensive tackle Jalen Carter, returns.
The over/under for the game stands at 52, suggesting a high-scoring contest. In such a competitive scenario, the Dolphins are likely to rely more on their potent passing game, reducing Mostert's rushing attempts even further.
The Eagles' defense is poised for a rebound following their defeat to the Jets, making it more challenging for Mostert to find room to run. Against the Eagles pass rush and the Dolphins' shaky offensive line, Miami will be remiss to get into 3rd and long situations too often, an inevitable risk when handing the ball off often.
Given the Dolphins' strategy of limiting rush attempts when they are the underdogs, along with the Eagles' top-tier run defense, Raheem Mostert's under 50.5 rushing yards provides excellent value. This bet fits seamlessly into the expected game flow and match-up dynamics.
THE BEST BET? IT'S A PLAYER PROP:
Raheem Mostert UNDER 50.5 rushing yards
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