This is the first in a series of 32 NFL team betting previews in 32 days leading up to the league’s Sept. 5 season opener. We’ll count down the teams from the lowest season win total to the highest.
The first mortal lock of the 2019 NFL season is that the Miami Dolphins will not become the first team ever to play in the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
But the Dolphins are favored to lead the NFL in at least one category: fewest wins. Caesars Entertainment sportsbook made Miami the 5-2 favorite to finish with the fewest wins, followed by the Arizona Cardinals (4-1), New York Giants (9-2), Cincinnati Bengals (9-2) and Oakland Raiders (7-1).
“The Dolphins roster is a train wreck,” Caesars Entertainment sportsbook director Jeff Davis said. “They were one of the luckiest teams to go 7-9 last year. They were so bad last year and they didn’t do anything to get better.
“They’re bad on defense, bad on offense and they don’t really have a good skill-position guy or a difference maker.”
Miami, which went 7-1 in one-possession games last year, has the league’s lowest season win total at 4½ at Caesars and 5 at the Westgate sportsbook.
Using opponents’ 2019 win totals to measure schedule strength, Miami is tied for the NFL’s seventh-toughest slate, with its most winnable games at home against the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins and New York Jets.
The Dolphins finished 26th in average scoring last season, at 19.9 points, and 27th in scoring defense, allowing 27.1 points. Besides hiring a rookie coach in ex-New England Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, Miami did virtually nothing to improve on either side of the ball. The Dolphins traded quarterback Ryan Tannehill and top pass rusher Robert Quinn while adding veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and second-year QB Josh Rosen.
Miami will need a lot of “FitzMagic” to compensate for its porous offensive line, which last season allowed 52 sacks, fifth-most in the NFL.
“They’re the fourth-best team in the AFC East and have major question marks at quarterback, defense, wide receiver and offensive line,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “I don’t think they have enough weapons to compete.”
The Dolphins have a few bright spots in running back Kenyan Drake, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and cornerback Xavien Howard. But Miami would be best served by finishing last in the league this season to claim the No. 1 pick — and potentially its first franchise QB since Dan Marino — in the 2020 NFL draft in Las Vegas.
Fun fact: A Caesars bettor placed a $5 wager to win 20 cents on the Dolphins to not make the playoffs. We don’t understand the wager, but it will be a winner.
Under 5 wins (minus 140)
Make playoffs? No (minus 2,500)