NFL – Miller will punish Miami on Thursday night


NFL nut Kyle Brown (@Kyleianbrown) runs the rule over the Thursday night's NFL clash between Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans. 

Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans | Friday 26th October 2018, 01:20 | Sky Sports

The Miami Dolphins take on the Houston Texans this week, with both 4-3 sides looking to make a play-off push.

On the back of four straight wins, the Texans will be looking to entertain the home crowd and give themselves some breathing room within a struggling AFC South Division. For the Dolphins, the game offers a chance at revenge for Brock Osweiler, who was a big money bust at the Texans, but has been steady in his two 2018 outings.

After a dismal opening three games to start the season, the Texans have found their form and are in pole position to make the play-offs via the AFC South. The defence has averaged just 12 points against them in the last three matches, compared with 26 points in the opening four: quite the turnaround.

Linebacker Zach Cunningham has been particularly impressive in recent weeks and finds himself in fourth in tackles across the league (44), 24 of which were in his last two games. Lamar Miller (finally) had his 2018 breakout game last week, rushing for 100 yards and a score.

With the Texans committed to a balanced offense, Miller should expect a good chunk of carries again this week against his former team. The Dolphins rank 30th in run defence, allowing 136.7 yards per-game, so the match-up couldn’t get much better if he wants to build on last week’s outing.

Compared with Houston, Miami’s season has been the complete opposite. A strong 3-0 start to the year was halted by the New England Patriots, and they now find themselves 4-3 and in amongst the middle of the pack.

This game could prove pivotal in determining whether they are able to make a genuine challenge to the Patriots’ dominance atop of the AFC East – a loss would effectively allow their rival to run away with the crown yet again.

Since Ryan Tannehill went down injured, Brock Osweiler has come in to captain the ship. While relatively unexciting, he has posted better than expected numbers; five touchdowns to two interceptions, an average of 310 yards per-game and both a win and a loss.

Osweiler may find this game tougher to keep up those sort of stats, as not only will the Texans know his weaknesses from his time with them, but he will be without talented wideouts Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson.

Danny Amendola could be in for a big game, not just because of the injuries to his teammates, but Texans slot corner Aaron Colvin will also miss the game – Amendola runs 81% of his routes inside.

The betting angle

Houston come into this game as 8-point favourites and the Over/Under points line is set at 44.5. The relatively low line will be mainly in part to the key injuries to both sides. The Dolphins will be without their QB1 and WR1 & 2, and DeShaun Watson of the Texans suffered a partially collapsed lung in the win over Jacksonville (the injury isn’t expected to keep him out, however).

I never tend to bet on Over/Under lines for any running backs who share the workload, and while the low lines of Gore (38.5) and Drake (28.5) entice me, I would instead recommend turning your attention to the Houston back, Lamar Miller.

Following his 100-yard game last week, I anticipate he’ll continue the recent form and smash his line (54.5). Playing with a chip on his shoulder against his old team, and considering the Dolphins are so poor against the run, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him score a touchdown or two – best priced at 11/10 (Ladbrokes) for one and 13/2 for two (Betfair).

Passing wise, I see no value in backing DeAndre Hopkins with his line set so high (112.5). However, with Keke Coutee on the sidelines, Will Fuller may be in for another big outing himself. He has yet to surpass 70 yards when Coutee has been playing alongside him, but in the two games without, he had lines of 100+ yards and a touchdown in each.

I fancy Fuller to go Over 64.5 Yards with ease, priced at 10/11 on SkyBet.

As previously mentioned, Danny Amendola has a shot to put up some big numbers – his line is an average looking 62.5. That said, I’d rather back the receivers that have Watson throwing at them. *Worth noting that PaddyPower often offer better individual player over/under lines, but at the time of writing they don’t have any on the site. Keep your eyes peeled.*

Overall, I don’t think the Dolphins will be able to halt the Texans. However, I’m still wary of backing the Texans handicap while it’s set at 8 – they only beat the Buffalo Bills by 7, for comparison.

It should be a game for the Texans offense to try and find similar form to that of the defense, and if they do the game should easily exceed the 44.5 points line.

With Osweiler hoping to show the Texans that they were wrong to trade him away so soon, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a pass-heavy outing from the Dolphins, either.

Best Bets

Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans – Lamar Miller Over 54.5 Rushing Yards (5/6 SkyBet)

Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans – Will Fuller Over 64.5 Receiving Yards (10/11 SkyBet)

Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans – Over 51 Points (2/1, Bet365)

Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans – Lamar Miller to score 2+ touchdowns (13/2 Betfair)

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