In a battle of two teams that I was dead wrong about going into the season, I can’t help but wonder how they both go from here. I was high on the Chargers Super Bowl hopes before injuries derailed their season while I thought Miami was a year or so away from being a threat. Can Miami continue to prove me wrong? Let’s find out.
Miami Dolphins vs Los Angeles Chargers Betting Odds
Oddsmakers like their chances as they opened the Dolphins as a -2 favorite over the Chargers. Bettors are in agreement with them as well, betting them up to the key number of -3 in some shops. Even when thoroughly handled by the elite 49ers defense in their last game out, this Miami squad can take on anyone and put-up points in a flash.
Speaking of putting up points in a flash, oddsmakers believe this one will be full of them as they opened the total at 51.5. Bettors are in agreement as well as they have bet this up to 53 in some shops. Even though the Chargers offense has struggled, they are poised to put points on the board against a weak Miami secondary to help do their part on the total.
Miami Dolphins vs Los Angeles Chargers Prediction
The Pick: Dolphins -2.5
With the key number of -2.5 still available, I will back the Dolphins in a bounce back opportunity. When healthy, Tua has played at an unreal level so far this season. Even though he was a shell of himself against the vaunted 49ers defense, the Chargers are a much softer unit and one that Tua should exploit with their downfield attack.
Their defense has been decimated by injuries, losing key players throughout the season that has negated their backfield pressure and secondary coverage. This has led to an Overall Def DVOA ranking of 22nd, while nearly ranking dead last in Def Rush DVOA as well.
While the Chargers pass coverage has been far better than their defensive rush metrics, they are in for a long day as the Dolphins bring in the most potent pass attack in football. With Jaylen Waddle wreaking havoc in the middle while Tyreek sprints downhill, Tua and company have paced the league to a first ranked Pass DVOA rating.
While the Dolphins offense has been elite, their defense has been around league average. Lucky for them, the Chargers offense has also fared the same unfortunate injury luck as their defense. They have been a headache to keep up with all season, constantly monitoring which wideout is sitting out due to injury with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams dealing with nagging injuries.
- MIA is 13-3 ATS when allowing the opposing team to score 30+ in their previous game
- LAC is 7-20 ATS in their last 27 home games vs a team with a winning record
Miami Dolphins Injuries: Austin Jackson (O), Terron Armstead (D)
Los Angeles Chargers Injuries: Trey Pipkins III (O), Breiden Fehoko (Q), Drue Tranquill (Q), Corey Linsley (O), Mike Williams (Q)
Can the Dolphins contain star running back Austin Ekeler?
Austin Ekeler vs Dolphins rush defense
With Herbert dealing with a rib injury that has clearly plagued him from moving around in the pocket, the Chargers may go run heavy which will eat up the clock. A big pause for me on taking the over as star running back Austin Ekeler is poised for a big outing.
The Dolphins do a respectable job at defending the run, good for a league average Def Rush DVOA rating, but now get a big step up in quality in the backfield. Ekeler has run for 589 yards and seven touchdowns while also hauling in 564 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
With the Chargers fielding a hobbled defense, I expect Tua and company to put this away early with a downfield passing attack. Their defense is also capable of containing Ekeler with a respectable coverage grade, negating his production and getting them off the field early for their offense to continue doing damage.