By Abraham Gutierrez
Meeting for the first time in almost four years, the Miami Dolphins visit FedExField Sunday afternoon hoping to prove 2015 NFL Week 1 oddsmakers right as they face a Washington Redskins team in shambles. With Skins quarterback Kirk Cousins getting the nod, NFL Week 1 point spreads have the Dolphins (-4) as four-point favorites over the Redskins (+4), the OVER/UNDER tallies 44 total points, and straight-up money lines have Miami valued at -200 and the home dogs’ chances of an upset currently equal +170.
“We don’t feel like [Robert Griffin III] is a distraction at all,” said Redskins head coach Jon Gruden regarding the current quarterback situation. “You can never have too many quarterbacks in your building. It’s very important. We learned that the hard way last year. You never want to use three, but this is a violent game and quarterbacks are at risk. When you have three, you want to hold onto them.”
Dolphins vs. Redskins ATS General Consensus
In spite of Gruden’s efforts to quiet the chatter, general consensus among bettors is that the Dolphins will easily cover the aforementioned (two-safety) spread. This is evidenced by the fact that 65 percent of the betting population is taking the Fins at -4, while the Skins are only backed by 35 percent of bettors despite the fact that they will enjoy a +4-point cushion.
Also worth noting is the action on the O/U, which currently indicates this will be a low-scoring affair. As of Thursday morning, 54 percent of all wagers favor these teams to remain under the 44-point line. In contrast, only 46 percent disagree, placing their wagers on the notion that Miami and Washington will eclipse that mark by going over the suggested total.
Dolphins vs. Redskins Head-to-Head ATS Trends
The fact that these teams seldom cross paths makes it a little challenging to try and predict the outcome of this game from an ATS (against-the-spread) standpoint. Nevertheless, ATS statistics show that the smart money might be on the Dolphins, as they come in with a 4-2-1 ATS mark in their last seven head-to-head meetings.
Also supporting a Miami bet is the fact that Washington has struggled significantly against the spread in its most recent outings. ATS figures indicate that the Redskins are 2-7 in their last 9 games on grass, 1-4 in their last 5 games over all, and a whopping 1-6 in their last 7 games at FedExField.
Dolphins O/U Trends to Consider
OVER is 6-1 in Miami’s last seven games played in September.
UNDER is 6-2 in Miami’s last eight Week 1 games.
UNDER is 36-17 in Miami’s last 53 road games.
Redskins O/U Trends to Consider
OVER is 9-3 in Washington’s last 12 games in September.
UNDER is 13-6 in Washington’s last 19 Week 1 games.
Dolphins vs. Redskins Head-to-Head History
The Miami Dolphins lead the overall head-to-head series over the Washington Redskins 8-5-0. The last time these teams met dates back to the 2011 NFL season, when the Fins defeated the Skins by a final score of 20-9 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. Their last meeting in the nation’s capital was during the 2007 NFL campaign when Washington came away with a gutsy, 16-13 overtime victory in front of a sold-out crowd.
2015 NFL Week 1 Predictions: Miami Dolphins -4
For the Dolphins, the season opener against the Redskins might be just what the doctor ordered for Joe Philbin & Co. to get off to a roaring start. On paper, Miami’s defense should rank among the very best in the NFL, which makes covering a manageable spread – against an offense that ranked 26th in scoring a year ago – a viable proposition for what should be a much-improved offensive attack.
The addition of (tight end) Jordan Cameron and (wide receiver) Greg Jennings should also give Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill some reliable options, especially on third down. Look for Miami to test Washington’s pass defense – which ranked 24th in the NFL last season – right out of the gate, along with a healthy dose of Lamar Miller and Damien Williams to set up some play-action plays downfield.
Abe Gutierrez’s passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers) and CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com. and other online publications.