NFL Football: Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts

Many people thought they’d go winless but the Miami Dolphins did it: they won their first game of the 2019 NFL season last weekend. They’ve actually been far more competitive than expected over the last few weeks, but can they keep it up as a double-digit road dog?

This week, they’re visiting the Indianapolis Colts, who suffered a bitter defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was forced to leave the game early last week and is questionable for Sunday’s contest. The line is still up on the board, so the oddsmakers clearly don’t see this as a big issue for the Colts.

MIAMI DOLPHINS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
NFL ODDS: COLTS -10.5
NFL TOTAL: 44

WHY THE DOLPHINS WILL COVER THE SPREAD

The Indianapolis Colts definitely won’t have star receiver T.Y. Hilton in uniform for this game and we’re also not certain of the status of Brissett. It looks like he’s trending towards playing but it’s not quite clear yet. The Hilton loss in and of itself is a big loss for an offense which struggles to get some of its secondary players involved, such as tight end Eric Ebron and others who have not had statistically prolific seasons. Brissett will probably play but if he does, he won’t be 100 percent. His mobility in the pocket could be limited, and the Dolphins, who tormented New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold this past weekend, could once again thrive on defense. Miami intercepted Darnold once and forced a safety when Darnold got confused in the backfield. Brissett is better than Darnold when healthy, but in his injured state, who knows what to expect.

The Colts scored only 15 points in their most recent home game against the Denver Broncos, and that was with Brissett healthy. The lack of Hilton looms large as a reason Miami can cover a double-digit spread.

Miami has been competitive for weeks now as they were up 14-0 in Pittsburgh and had a big lead in Buffalo in the third quarter too. Prior to that, they lost at Washington by a point when they failed an end-of-game two-point conversion. Are they good? No. Have they been competitive? Absolutely.

WHY THE COLTS WILL COVER THE SPREAD

Even with Hilton out, the Colts can cover the spread because the Miami Dolphins is still very flawed. They’ve mostly been competitive because their opponents have made mistakes and the Dolphins took advantage. Typically, it’s the Dolphins who make back-breaking mistakes – and they do it by the boatload.

For the Colts, the formula is quite simple: just line up and hand it off to Marlon Mack as much as possible. They have an elite offensive line and should be able to blown the Dolphins off the line of scrimmage. Miami allows 150.8 rushing yards per game – the second-most in the NFL – and the Colts aren’t going to lose if Mack approaches those numbers.

It’s also worth noting that Brian Hoyer came in last week and played pretty well for the Colts. He finished 17-of-26 for 126 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. If Adam Vinatieri didn’t miss a field goal and an extra point, the Colts would have won. Hoyer is more than capable of lead the Colts this week if Brissett needs the week off.

TAKING A LOOK AT THE TOTAL

The Colts are not in a position to score big and given their injuries on offense, they’re probably going to be running a conservative offense where they run the ball plenty. On top of that, you have Vinatieri with his kicking issues, which is not something you want to deal with if you’ve got the over. Look for this to be a Colts win and an under.

PICK: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 24, MIAMI DOLPHINS 10

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