Fri, Nov 8, 2:22pm by Ed Scimia
Match: Miami Dolphins vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When & where: 12.40pm (AEST) Tuesday, November 12, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Wager with: IASbet.com – new customers receive up to a $100 free bet.
The team sits at 4-4, but they’ve gotten there in a very roundabout way. After a 3-0 start, the Dolphins lost four games in a row before rebounding last week to win a game in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals in the most unlikely of ways: via a game-ending safety, only the third time in the history of the NFL that a game has ended in that way. That put the Dolphins back in the hunt for a wild card spot in the AFC, where, after five strong teams take their positions with relative ease, it could be a mad scramble for the final playoff spot.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers only hope their season can become interesting to someone. The team went winless in the first half of the season, ending their aspirations (if they had any) before November. The team has not been quite as bad as their record suggests – they’re clearly much better than the NFL’s other winless team, the Jacksonville Jaguars – but a combination of bad mistakes, bad timing and poor play down the stretch of games has left them without a win. The team has lost four games by a field goal or less, including last week’s contest with the Seattle Seahawks, in which they led 21-3 before allowing Seattle to come back and beat them 27-24 in overtime.
Perhaps Miami’s biggest issue this season has been protecting its quarterback. Ryan Tannehill has faced tremendous pressure in seemingly every game this year, a combination of his tendency to hold on to the ball a little too long and some poor play from the team’s offensive line. That line may be even weaker now following the suspension of Richie Incognito following the bullying/hazing case that has become the largest story in the NFL this week. It’s worth noting that Jonathan Martin – the player who was allegedly harassed by incognito – was also an offensive lineman, meaning that the situation has cost the team two linemen in two weeks.
But if Miami’s offense has questions marks, that’s nothing compared to the problems Tampa Bay has had scoring. It’s not that it’s particularly weak in any one area: Mike Glennon has filled in admirably at quarterback, Vincent Jackson is a star receiver, and the team has been able to move the ball fairly well on the ground. But, without any truly dominant weapons, Tampa has scored the second-fewest points in the league, ahead of only – you’ve guessed it – Jacksonville.
With all that taken into consideration, it may be surprising that Tampa Bay is only a one-point underdog in this contest. But given that they’re at home, and that Miami has its own issues this week, that line is probably a lot more reasonable than most give it credit for. In what could be a tight game, Miami will have to be very careful, especially considering the recent struggles of rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis. But, in the end, it’s the Bucs that have had trouble finding ways to win this season – and I expect that trend to continue.
Prediction: Miami 20, Tampa Bay 17
Picks: Miami -1 ($1.88), Under 41 ($1.92) with IASbet.com
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