The Patriots and Dolphins will wrap up Sunday's Week 2 action in the NFL when these AFC East rivals square off for the first time this season and on the prime-time stage of "Sunday Night Football." New England is trying to avoid an 0-2 start on the year after falling to the Eagles in a tightly contested matchup in the opener. Meanwhile, Miami is hot off a high-scoring win in L.A. against the Chargers where Tua Tagovailoa went off for 466 yards passing, most of which went to wideout Tyreek Hill.
Here, we're going to take a look at this game from a gambling perspective. We'll look at the line movement leading up to Thursday, the total, and dive into a handful of player props. Before we do, let's make sure you know how to watch this prime-time head-to-head.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
- Dolphins: OT Terron Armstead (back, ankle, knee), DB Elijah Campbell (knee), TE Julian Hill (ankle), LB Jaelan Phillips (back) QUESTIONABLE
- Patriots: OT Trent Brown (concussion), CB Jonathan Jones (ankle), OL Mike Onwenu (ankle), WR DeVante Parker (knee), OL Sidy Sow (concussion), G Cole Strange (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Miami opened as a two-point favorite and that has since risen to the full field goal heading into the weekend.
The pick: Patriots +3. This is by no means a lock, especially with the Patriots listing several key offensive linemen and starting corner Jonathan Jones as questionable for this matchup. That said, this feels like a letdown spot for the Dolphins after watching them explode for 36 points and Tua Tagovailoa throwing for 466 yards in a high-flying win over the Chargers. New England's defense looks like it's going to be among the best in the league this season and showed last week against Philadelphia that they can subdue superstar wide receivers, holding A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith under 80 yards receiving. Of course, Tyreek Hill is arguably in a tier of his own, but Bill Belichick has historically been able to take away what a team does best and force them to win in different ways. Couple that defense with an encouraging step from New England's offense last week under Bill O'Brien and the Patriots will be able to keep this game within a field goal.
The total opened at 45.5 and bumped up a full point to 46.5 coming out of Week 1.
The pick: Under 46.5. Lost in the offensive explosion between the Dolphins and the Chargers last week was Miami's difficulty in stopping the run. L.A. posted 233 yards rushing on 5.8 yards per carry in the losing effort. Part of New England's approach to slow down Miami's offense could be to simply keep the Dolphins off the field with a ball-dominant rushing attack led by Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott. You combine that with their stout defense and that could really bring the pace of this game to a halt.
I like my picks for this game, but you might like Emory Hunt's better. He's an NFL expert over at SportsLine.com and he's been on roll with his Patriots predictions, going 17-4 on his last 21 picks. If you want to check out Hunt's pick, you can do that here.
Tua Tagovailoa props
Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over -127, Under -108)
Passing yards: 259.5 (Over -115, Under -119)
Passing attempts: 33.5 (Over -129, Under -106)
Passing completions: 21.5 (Over -104, Under -131)
Longest passing completion: 37.5 (Over -115, Under -119)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -123, Under -111)
Rushing yards: 5.5 (Over -119, Under -115)
I believe New England will set out to try to erase the deep ball for Miami. Since Tyreek Hill entered the league, the Patriots have allowed the lowest completion percentage on throws 20-plus yards down the field (29%). With that strategy and ability in mind, Tua Tagovailoa could be forced to try and dink and dunk his way down the field, thus attempting more high-percentage throws. That's why we'll lean on the Over his 21.5 completions for this game, a number Jalen Hurts went over in what was a clunky day passing against this same Patriots defense.
Mac Jones props
Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over +106, Under -145)
Passing yards: 242.5 (Over +100, Under -137)
Passing attempts: 34.5 (Over -131, Under -104)
Passing completions: 22.5 (Over -123, Under -111)
Longest passing completion: 36.5 (Over -119, Under -115)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -135, Under -101)
Rushing yards: 5.5 (Over -111, Under -123)
There's some value in the Over on Jones' passing touchdown prop at plus money. The Patriots quarterback is coming off a three-touchdown performance in the opener against a solid Philly defense and has gone over in four straight games going back to last season. While Justin Herbert only threw one touchdown last week, this Miami defense was weak in the red area, allowing L.A. to score on four of its five trips.
Props to consider
Tyreek Hill total receiving yards: Under 80.5 (-115). Going back to 2019, Bill Belichick has held Hill to 62, 64, 94, and 55 receiving yards in the four games he's faced the star wideout. It's, of course, always dicey to fade a superstar like Hill, but Belichick has shown an ability to slow him down and he'll likely be priority No. 1 to stop on Sunday night.
Rhamondre Stevenson total receiving yards: Over 23.5 (-117). As we expected, Stevenson is still going to have a major role in the passing game within Bill O'Brien's offense. His six targets were tied for the third-most on the team last week and he hauled in every single one of them for 64 yards. With New England's offensive line banged up, that could force Jones to check down even more to his star back.