Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM
The Miami Dolphins have been one of the best football teams in the NFL over the past couple of months. But, they’re on the verge of being virtually eliminated from serious playoff contention if they can’t take care of business Monday Night on the road against the New York Jets.
Miami enters the game at 6-5. You can look in your newspaper standings and see all the teams lumped together in the crowded Wildcard race. If the Dolphins can get to 7-5, they’re in reasonable shape to play in January. Other than in a road game at New England...they’ll be favored to win out. Fall to 6-6…and then lose at New England? It’s very unlikely 9-7 is going to be good enough.
At first glance, a win over the Jets might seem automatic. Pittsburgh thought that way and lost outright on this very field in NYJ’s last home game. You know how great New England has been playing the past several weeks? They almost blew a home game against the Jets themselves. No sure things in the NFL!
Let’s crunch JIM HURLEY’S indicator stats to see what they say about the game. Handicappers will have to determine if Miami’s “must-win” situation provides such a boost that the numbers don’t matter. Or, whether or not playing on the road after a hardfought heartbreaker a mile high in Denver provides intangibles the other way to make the Jets a live dog.
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Miami: 6-5 (#4 schedule in USA Today)
NY Jets: 2-9 (#6 schedule in USA Today)
Miami’s clearly the better team…and they might be a playoff shoe-in against a league average schedule. Maybe the Jets would be 3-8 or 4-9 against an easier slate. Edge to the Dolphins…but enough of an edge to make them -7 on the road? That’s the same as -10 on a neutral field or -12 or -13 at home.
Miami: 5.3 on offense, 4.9 on defense
NY Jets: 4.7 on offense, 5.3 on defense
Miami’s +0.4 differential actually rates very highly in the AFC this season. A lot of conference contenders are near break-even in that stat and winning with turnover differential or drive efficiency. Quants have been in love with Miami because of their stats…and have generally been getting paid off. You can see that New York’s offense is horrible. They could be in real trouble hear against the elite Miami defense. Geno Smith better hope Miami’s defense is still tired from playing such a tough game at altitude.
NY Jets: -12
We just mentioned Geno Smith. He’s capable of winning any game for a Jets opponent with ill-advised passes or other poor decisions. The Jets would be a losing team based on their YPP, but are a horrible team because their poor stats are coupled with a horrible turnover differential. If Miami wins a blowout, it will probably be keyed by this category. If the Jets cover, it’s because they avoided mistakes and hung tough in the trenches.
NY Jets: 2-8-1
Sharps have been cleaning up with the Dolphins over the past two months. That full-season mark would be 8-3-1 if not for the last second money-changer against Green Bay. But, it has to be said that some syndicates have been overly fond of the Jets this year. New York has only been a 20% cover team. Let’s also note that oddsmakers are making an adjustment because of the results above. This line is much higher now than it would have been a month ago.
Current Line: Miami by 7, total of 42
Sportbsbooks thought they had made enough of an adjustment with an opener of -5.5. Nope! Sharps drove that up to the key number of Miami -7. Be sure you monitor game day line moves to see if any syndicates are buying the MNF home underdog at the high price. There are rumors that some groups are waiting to see what they can get before coming in on NYJ.
JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his New York sources on this one. Monday is always the most important betting day of the week. That’s particularly true over Thanksgiving Weekend because you want to close out strong! You can purchase the final word for Monday any time in the hours leading up to kickoff right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-888-777-4155. This is a great time to check on basketball rates with the huge Big 10/ACC challenge tipping off Tuesday.
We’ll be taking a look at marquee matchups in that event over the next couple of days. Here’s the upcoming NOTEBOOK schedule…
Tuesday: Big 10/ACC Previews in College Hoops (including OSU/Louisville)
Wednesday: Big 10/ACC Previews in College Hoops (including Duke/Wisconsin)
Thursday: NFL TV Preview…Dallas at Chicago on the NFL Network
Friday: Pac 12 Championship Preview…Oregon vs. Arizona
Saturday: Big 10 Championship Preview…Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
It’s Mince Pie Monday in the annual TURKEY SHOOT. Don’t make a move in Monday Night’s Dolphins/Jets game until you hear what JIM HURLEY and his NEW YORK SOURCES have to say!
Be sure to follow:
Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters