NFL Predictions: Dolphins-Raiders Has Wild Card Implications

Eddie

The Raiders are 7-7, coming off back to back losses to a tough Colts team and their division rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers (I almost wrote San Diego). 

Before dropping two straight, the Raiders looked at the possibility of a 9-5 record by Week 14 and a wide-open chance at a wild card berth. They were legitimately in the hunt. Now, the Las Vegas Raiders must beat the Fins and the Broncs to move to a 9-7 record. It doesn’t seem like the Raiders will make it that newly added 7th playoff spot in the AFC with Derrek Car out. But, Marcus Mariota did look good against the Chargers. They just came up a field goal shy. It really came down to that interception that wasn’t Mariota’s fault. He put it right in his receiver’s hands in the middle of the field, but Ruggs III bobbled the ball, and Charles Harris Jr. got an opportunistic INT by snatching the ball. 

The Dolphins started off hot as a school-yard potato this season. They sit at 9-5 and must beat the Raiders to ensure they get that 7th place berth. That or hope the Browns drop their final two games. Either way, this game is massive for both the Raiders and Fins. If the Raiders win their final two and the Dolphins lose to the Raiders and Bills. The Dolphins make it in if they win both their final games.

Raiders-Dolphins Power Ratings

Despite a 9-5 record, the Miami Dolphins have a negative FPI on ESPN.  TeamRankings give the Fins a bit of love and rates them at 1.9. Meanwhile, the Raiders sit with an FPI of -1.1 and a rating of -2.3 at TeamRankings. 

What this boils down to is if we go by ESPN, the Dolphins should just barely beat the Raiders on a neutral field. -0.5 minus -1.1 (0.6) points. If we look at TeamRankings, it means The Fins should win by nearly four points. That’s a significant difference. 

But the Las Vegas Raiders are playing in their brand new facilities, so we will award them three points for being on their home field. This changes things.  Now, if we are using ESPN’s ratings, the Raiders should be two-point favorites. And if we use TeamRankings, the Raiders should be 1-point underdogs. Checking the Parlay Calculator at SBR, there is a profitable option.

Stats for Each

The Raiders have a home offense that scores 28.43 per game. I don’t think it will be too much different given how well Marcus Mariota played in San Diego. He came off the bench and dropped 226 yards and a TD. Now he has had a week running snaps with the first-team offense and should be even better. 

The Dolphins’ road offense averages 25.33 points per game. So, do we have a home win for the Raiders on our hands? Not so fast. The Miami road defense is almost twice as good as the Raiders’ home defense. They allow just 17.5 points per game. The Fins have the No. 1 road D in the league. Meanwhile, the Raiders allow 31.43 per game, which is way back at No. 30. 

Another troubling stat for Marcus Mariota and the Silver and Black is Miami’s passing defense stat. They rank 5th in the league while on the road, allowing just 203.5 per game. However, their rush defense is poor, at No. 30, allowing 145.67 per game on the road. Jon Gruden will surely look to pound the rock and control the clock. 

Another thing to consider is the Miami Dolphins 2020 trend for covering the point spread. They are 11-3 ATS, for 78.6 percent. As the road team, they have played well against the number at 66.7% (4-2). But as a favorite, the Fins are 1-1, so just 50% ATS. The Raiders are 3-6 after a loss for just 33.3% against the point spread. As a home dog, they are just 2-3 ATS for 40%. And as the home team in general, the Raiders are 3-4 for 42.9 ATS. 

It gets even more grim for the Raiders when we look at win-loss trends. As the home team, they have lost five and won two, for a miserable 28.6%. As the home dog,  they have only won one game and lost four for an even worse 20%.

I think the Raiders will play well, and it will be a good game. But given the data, I have to go with the Fins -2.5; as long as it stays under a field goal, I like that line. But I think i will parlay that play with the Raiders +1.5 in the1st half. For a total payout of +244.

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