When minicamp ended there was an upbeat feeling around the Miami Dolphins, and for good reason.
The Dolphins’ future looks bright, and although they’re not considered Super Bowl contenders by most NFL analysts, they’re considered to be a team trending in that direction.
To me, what that means for the betting public and fantasy players as we near the start of training camp is the Dolphins are good plays in a few areas, and not-so-good plays in other areas.
But to be official, I consulted Robert Cooper, sportsbook manager at SportsBetting.ag, via email to see what he thinks about a few Dolphins-related odds.
Here’s our opinions on where things stand with the Dolphins from a sports betting/fantasy football perspective with training camp just weeks away:
Over/under for wins is at 9.5
I’ll take the over on this one. I see the Dolphins as a 10-win team. There are concerns whether a few key players can remain healthy all season (quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, left tackle Terron Armstead, right tackle Austin Jackson, linebacker David Long Jr., to name a few). They also have general concerns (running game, new defense, overall development of coach Mike McDaniel).
Nevertheless, they should win 10 games and earn a playoff berth.
Cooper: “Push? Lol. This feels like the right number, and we’re seeing confirmation at our shop as the action is pretty split among bettors. Tua’s health and progression as a player will be big factors in the Dolphins’ record. Very torn, but I’ll go with 9 wins (under) in 2023 for Miami as the AFC East is looking like a juggernaut division that will cost all of its teams some wins.”
Do Dolphins win a playoff game?
At this point, I’ll say no. The Dolphins didn’t fare well against playoff teams last season, and while optimism runs high, and the 2023 team is better on paper than the 2022 squad, especially with the additions of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, it’s not yet clear the Dolphins are good enough to advance in the playoffs.
The Dolphins were 2-5 against playoff teams last season, 2-6 if you include the wild-card round playoff loss at Buffalo. And if you want to say, “But Tua …,” consider the Dolphins were 2-3 against playoff teams last season in games that Tagovailoa started and finished.
Cooper: “In terms of the odds, the Dolphins are basically 50-50 to reach the playoffs so the true odds of them winning a playoff game would be worse than that. There will be a lot of people hopping on the Miami bandwagon after last year, but we often see a regression from teams in this situation. While the defense should be vastly improved, this is still a young offense with a somewhat unproven (and potentially unhealthy) quarterback. I think the Dolphins reach the playoffs again, but lose in the first round…again.”
Does Tyreek Hill get 2,000 receiving yards?
Yes. And I say that even if Tagovailoa only makes 13 starts for the second consecutive season. But this, too, is risky.
Hill, who had 1,710 receiving yards last season (Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson led the league with 1,809), is the best way for this offense to move the ball effectively.
Granted, defenses will focus more heavily on Hill this season.
If I’m an opposing defensive coordinator, I’m putting a large focus on stopping Hill and betting the rest of the offense can’t beat me. That’s a strategy that could prevent Hill from reaching 2,000 yards, but my guess is McDaniel will manage to help Hill achieve 2,000 yards.
Cooper: “There’s only been one player in the NFL history to reach 2,000 receiving yards (playoff games included), and we don’t project Tyreek to become the second in 2023 (he’s third on the receiving yards leader list with 10-1 odds). With a season under his belt, (Jaylen) Waddle should eat even more into Hill’s receptions/yards. We’d set the “Yes” odds for a 2k season from Tyreek at 11-1, which equates to about an 8% probability.”
Does either Bradley Chubb or Jaelan Phillips record 10 or more sacks?
I’ll say no on this one until I see more of this defense. I think Chubb and Phillips will be effective, but I don’t feel good giving either of them double digits in sacks. Phillips (7.0 sacks in 2022, 8.5 sacks as a rookie in 2021) has never done it; Chubb (12.0 sacks as a rookie in 2018, 8.0 sacks as a Pro Bowl selection last season) has only done it once.
Most teams don’t have a player reach double digits in sacks, and the Dolphins look as though they’ll be on that list for the sixth consecutive season.
Does either Jalen Ramsey or Xavien Howard record five or more interceptions?
No. And before you scoff, consider it’s not as easy as it sounds. Howard has done it three times in his eight-year career, most recently in 2021 when he had five. Ramsey has never done it in his eight-year career although he’s had four interceptions four times, including each of the past two seasons.
Cooper: “Yes. A couple of seasoned vets sitting behind what should be one of the league’s better defensive lines … one of these guys will finish with at least five picks.”
Does Tua finish in top 10 for MVP?
Yes. But this is tricky. If Hill has 2,000 yards receiving, he’ll certainly be in the top 10. If Tagovailoa passes for 29 or more touchdowns, he should be in the top 10, too. But if the Dolphins only win 10 games, you’d think he wouldn’t be in the top 10. Still, I’m saying the touchdown passes, and the likely high passer rating (he had a league-best 105.5 passer rating last season) are enough to put him in the top 10.
Last year it only took a single fifth-place vote, one point, to be in a five-way tie for ninth and Hill, Philadelphia wide receiver A.J. Brown, Chicago quarterback Justin Fields, Tennessee running back Derrick Henry, and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert all tied for ninth.