Many have been quick to write off the Miami Dolphins after Ryan Tannehill went down with an injury, but that’s an ignorant mistake. Here’s the thing — Tannehill isn’t all that great. And to be fair, neither is Jay Cutler. This is 100 percent a sideways move, replacing a quarterback with a similar caliber quarterback. Cutler has a better deep ball — something that’s been lacking in Miami during Tannehill’s tenure as starter — but Tannehill is more mobile. Other than that, many of the stats line up, so let’s move on and focus on the team as a whole.
After years of poor to mediocre play in the Joe Philbin era, Miami finally got over the hump in 2016 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Adam Gase faced lots of adversity in his first season as head coach — most notably a revolving door on the offensive line and losing his starting quarterback — but he got every last drop out of this roster, making his rookie season a success.
Now to build on that success, which won’t be easy. The Dolphins have the sixth-most difficult strength of schedule based on 2016’s results. Their regular-season schedule consists of six games vs playoff teams from 2016, plus they’ll be challenged in matchups vs NFC South and AFC West teams. However, this is a team filled with talented players, especially at skill positions, that are on an upward trajectory, so they could be well on their way to another playoff appearance, or the bad luck could continue with Gase hitting a sophomore slump.
Here’s my betting outlook for the 2017 Dolphins:
Super Bowl +7500
Move on. This is a bet that’s not worth making. At first, this might seem like decent value considering they have the longest odds of any of 2016’s playoff teams, but “value” doesn’t exist when there’s basically no chance. The Dolphins may be able to overcome a tough schedule and injuries, but one thing they will not overcome is the New England Patriots, which makes a path to the Super Bowl incredibly difficult.
It’s simple, really — they won’t win the AFC East, meaning they’ll need to play in the wild-card round (that’s if they even qualify for the playoffs). That game would likely be on the road and even if they win that game, they’ll need to go into New England and win. It’s not happening. Like I said, move on.
OVER/UNDER Win total – 7.5
After getting 10 wins last season and basically returning the same team, this number feels low as an 8-8 season should be a very realistic mark for the Dolphins to hit. Despite what seems like a lifetime of mediocrity in Miami, the 2017 edition of the team is more talented than any of the teams in the Joe Philbin era.
Taking a closer look at their schedule, going 4-2 or 3-3 in their divisional games is doable, so let’s call that 3.5 wins. From there splitting their games vs the NFC South and AFC West games would get them to 7.5. This leaves games vs the Titans and Ravens to top 7.5, which really doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
Odds to make the playoffs +350
Take the value here and bet ‘YES’. Of last year’s playoff teams, the Dolphins have the longest odds of any to make the playoffs. If they’re truly trending in the right direction, then a second straight playoff appearance should be automatic. Of course they’ll have to get in as a wild card, but they should have a head start vs the other “second-best” teams in each division by taking advantage of their matchups vs the bottom-feeding Jets and Bills. They swept both last season and should benefit from playing in a shallow division.
Jarvis Landry to lead league in receiving yards - +5000
Now here’s a spot for Dolphins fans to find some value. Despite finishing 10th in receiving yards in 2016 — 312 yards behind the leader, T.Y. Hilton — Landry finds himself tied at 19th on the oddsboard for most receiving yards in 2017. Landry will be an unrestricted free agent following this season and will undoubtedly be chasing that paper this season, providing extra motivation to elevate to elite-receiver status.
Of course, the other big part of this will be the man throwing him the ball, Jay Cutler. By know, we all know Cutler had one of his most successful years as a passer under the tutelage of Adam Gase as the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2015. Cutler is new to the team, but not to the system. I expect him to lean on Jarvis, the team’s top receiver, possibly giving him a few more touches than he’s averaged in his first three seasons in the league. By no means am I saying he’s a lock to win the award, but the facts speak for themselves — this is a great value bet.
Odds as of August 14 at Sportsbook