The Buffalo Bills have their second consecutive rematch in the 2022 NFL season when they face off with the Miami Dolphins in Saturday night’s Week 15 contest. The Dolphins cooked up one of the Bills’ three losses in the Week 3 match in Miami, but this time around the game is in wintery Buffalo, and it might be chilly.
Three Props was a little cold itself last week. Greg Zuerlein only made one FG, and somehow James Cook got only 1 target against a Jets defense that is weak against RB receptions and came home with just 9 yards. Our only saving grace was that the Bills continued their dominance of the second quarter when Dawson Knox scored just before the half. The game is going to be cold for the players and fans in the stands alike, but these props should be fire. Let’s get that analysis money.
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We’re adding a couple of sections to the article this week with the DVOA Matchup chart immediately below the Game Script and a brief weather check-in under the Injury Reports. You can almost derive the game in a nutshell from the DVOA chart, and the Weather summary forced itself upon us this week but probably should have been a part of this write-up all year.
There should be snow throughout the day Saturday, and the temperature will feel like it’s 20* right around the start of the game. Snowfall matters especially in this game because a wet, slick surface will impact a key advantage the Dolphins have on offense, the speed of their skill talent. If Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are geared down from otherworldly to only exceptionally fast, that is a significant help for the Bills’ defensive backfield. You’ve already heard a lot of talk about Tua Tagovailoa’s inexperience playing in cold weather and how that might impact the game. Skepticism on that specific point is warranted, but the cold does make getting hit and landing harder. If the Bills can hit Tua a few times the way they did poor Mike White last week, the results will be even bigger. This article will never hope for injuries, if Tua does get hit and lands violently on the cold, hard turf, we should all be concerned considering his injury history this season.
There are so many angles to this game, but, as they so often do, this battle will hinge on red zone performance, specifically the Fins’ offense against the Bills/ defense. The DVOA chart below shows that matchup to be one of the best possible in the league. Miami does what they want to in the RZ, and Bills’ D clamps down. Miami has the best passing TD percentage in the red zone at 32.7% and also has zero interceptions (SIS). (Ah, remember when Josh Allen had zero red zone interceptions? Let’s go back to that.) The Flippers do allow some pressure on their QB in the RZ though, as their 36.1% pressure allowed rate on pass plays is the 10th highest in the NFL. This might be an area the Bills can break through because they are tied for ninth most RZ pressures with 184. And since Wk 10, their 83 RZ pressures are third best.
The single biggest difference in this game from Week 3 though is Jordan Poyer. He and Demar Hamlin each give up 0.2 Yards/Coverage Snap in the RZ, which is tied for 6th best amongst safeties. Poyer hasn’t given up a RZ TD this yr, and his 2 RZ INTs are tied for 5th. Poyer’s numbers this year aren’t all-world like they were last year, but he has dealt with numerous injuries and young, inexperienced teammates along the way. More importantly though for this particular game, is his ability to disguise the coverage the Bills are playing. Numerous outlets have begun reporting on Tua’s difficulty as a post-snap processor, meaning he reads the defense initially but fails to adjust his reads and decisions after the snap and later into the down. The different ways the 49ers and Chargers have shut down the Miami attack over the last two weeks each speak to this struggle.
Don’t miss the difference in the Special Teams matchup. In a bad weather game, a big return to set up a score or just flip field position can carry more weight. Plus, don’t be caught missing Nyheim Hines positive influence on the Bills’ returning. For Weeks 1-8, the Bills ranked 16th in punt return yardage. Since Week 9, they are 10th.
For a thorough breakdown, check out Uber Hansen’s Game Matchups Preview.
As always, remember to check the inactives before game time.
Thursday injury report pic.twitter.com/WkLD9ouESk— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) December 15, 2022
If meteorologists have any legitimate value to society, there will be snow on Saturday. All three props below are tied in at least some small way to the weather. It’s unavoidable.
Last updated: 12/17/6:30am
Tua Tagovailoa Interceptions
Wet, cold conditions that Tua is unfamiliar with are a factor, but even more so are the returns of Jordan Poyer and Tre White since the first game. Those two elite players in the secondary likely mean the Bills win in Week 3. They’re back now
The Dolphins also have one of the least impressive run games, so they will probably still have to rely primarily on passing even in more challenging conditions.
|MIA Rush O
|BUF Rush D
It’s also reasonable to expect the Bills to come out with extra juice at home, against an AFCE rival who barely beat them and then treated it like a big playoff win, and looking to solidify their hold on the division crown. Don’t be surprised if the Bills score on their first drive, putting Miami behind and throwing.
Recommendation: o0.5 INT at FD, 0.5u
Devin Singletary Rush Attempts
Again, wintery conditions influence this prop. The Dolphins’ run defense is in the middle of the pack in most metrics, but this line is low because of Singletary’s attempts number last week – only 8. Six of the last eight weeks, Motor easily clears this line. The two times he didn’t, he had 8 each week. Those weeks? Both of the games against the Jets’ elite run d. Toss in the weather potentially leading to a few extra carries, and you’ve got free money.
If you’re concerned about James Cook biting into Motor’s snap count, that’s valid. In the last 2 weeks Cook’s snaps have nearly doubled, and the extra snaps mostly took away from Singletary. With that caveat in place, the Bills will still trust Motor more, especially in disadvantageous conditions.
Recommendation: o10.5 rush atts at +100, 0.5u
Josh Allen Rush Yards
The Dolphins are not good at stopping running QBs.
Opponent QB rushing:
- 433 yds (2nd most)
- 181 Yds After Contact (most)
- 3 TDs (tied for 3rd most)
- 23.7% Broken Tackle + Missed Tackle rate (highest)
- 0.4 EPA/Att (3rd highest)
- 31.3% Boom Rate (highest) (a Boom play generates 1 pt of EPA or more for the offense)
That should be enough on stats alone, and there is no quantifiable rationale for the next point: Josh Allen is personified blunt force trauma. He runs like an angry hammer. He hates losing even more than you do, and he exacts revenge like a Russian crime lord. The dawg in him is cranked to 12. You get the point. Now go get the money.
Recommendation: o46.5 at -115, 0.5u
The Bills have a tough opponent on Saturday night, but the weather should assist them this time the way it did the Dolphins in Miami in Week 3. Even without the snow and cold though, this is a game the Bills should win. The Miami offense is very talented at the skill positions, and their head coach has shown promise, but as a complete team vs a complete team, the Bills are better, particularly on defense. MIA 20 – BUF 27
Tail ’em or fade ’em, let me see those winnings on Twitter @LowBuffa.
Record: 24-15, 62%, +4u