MIAMI DOLPHINS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: OVER OR UNDER ON TUA?
In the 1992 classic Glengarry Glen Ross, Ricky Roma (played by Al Pacino) shared a piece of wisdom that I find myself constantly coming back to. "I subscribe to the law of contrary public opinion. If everyone thinks one thing, then I say bet the other way. Odds are, you know, they're wrong."
I am betting on Sunday Night Football against those who think Tua's 466 passing-yard performance demonstrates the new normal for the Dolphins. What worked against Brandon Staley and the Chargers does not make for a bulletproof game plan against Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
Recent performances are the most important data points we have. But they are still only a small part of a much larger puzzle when we hope to derive what is likely to happen next. This week, as the Miami Dolphins gear up to face the formidable New England Patriots, we turn our discerning eye towards a bet that promises value and a strong historical backing: MIA QB Tua Tagovailoa UNDER 268.5 Passing Yards – available now at FanDuel sportsbook.
Yes, it's impossible to overlook Tua's staggering 466-yard performance in Week 1, and I’m not overlooking it. It's essential to contextualize this outlier, however, within a broader spectrum of data. The last time Tua threw for 450+ passing yards (week 2 last year @ Baltimore) – he followed that up by throwing for only 186 passing yards the next week hosting Buffalo. In the last 30+ years of NFL history (since 1989) only 44% of players that throw for 400+ yards go on to throw for 268+ in their next game.
Tua has managed a modest average of 181.5 passing yards per game in matchups vs. the Patriots, as Miami has generally avoided testing the Patriots elite secondary, opting instead for a more ground-focused strategy against New England. And it worked; Tua is 4-0 SU & ATS vs. the Patriots in his career. Why deviate from a plan that has proven successful? Especially considering the highest yardage Tua racked up in these meetings was in Week 13 last season when he threw for 242 passing yards, significantly lower than this week's lofty line set by the bookmakers.
Last week, Tua was lined at O/U 255 Passing Yards and threw for almost 200 more yards than expected. Now bookmakers have set his line 10 yards higher, a distinct overcorrection when considering the Dolphins are going from facing a middling defense to arguably one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The Patriots' defense stands as a beacon, a glimpse of their multiple decade dominance of the not-so-distant past. Over the past six seasons, they've allowed 265+ passing yards in only 30% of their games (20 of 88 games played). Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel acknowledges the necessity of altering his usual offensive strategies when facing the Patriots, a unit he applauded this week for their "fundamental consistency and soundness". Despite the media's focus on the Patriots' offensive hiccups, their defense remains a formidable force, boasting a lineup of high-impact players and a remarkable track record from the last season. This defense held the Eagles QB Jalen Hurts to a mere 170 passing yards in Week 1, the 8th time in the past 10 games opposing QBs have gone under 250 passing yards vs. New England. The Patriots boast high-impact players in their secondary like Kyle Dugger and Jonathan Jones, coupled with a menacing pass rush led by Matthew Judon and Josh Uche. All of these players will keep McDaniel up late this week, scheming and re-scheming how to avoid major catastrophes on offense and exploit the Patriots' defense's few vulnerabilities.
NFL PRIMETIME BETTING TRENDS
As we addressed last week, primetime NFL games in recent seasons have a heavy proclivity to land Under. In fact, since 2018, 59% of regular-season primetime games have gone Under, a trend that continued in Week 1's SNF and MNF outings. As would be expected, less potent offenses have led to fewer passing yards. In prime-time games over the last several seasons (since 2018), fewer than 30% of teams have managed to record 269+ passing yards, a massive drop-off from the over 40% of non-primetime games in which teams throw for more than that number.
As the Dolphins prepare to face the Patriots in a prime Sunday Night Football slot, expect a more ground-heavy strategy that has proven successful in the past, coupled with a Patriots defense ready to showcase their elite potential.
THE BET: TUA TAGOVAILOA TOTAL PASSING YARDS UNDER
Tagovailoa UNDER 268.5 Passing Yards (-110)
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