FOXBOROUGH, MA – DECEMBER 02: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after a rushing touchdown by James Develin #46 during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots travel down to Miami for their second showdown of the season against their AFC East division rival. Despite winning their first matchup by an astounding 38-7 margin, the Patriots are favored by just 7.5 points in this one. If you’re looking for some easy money, bet on the Patriots to win and cover the spread.

The reason the spread is so low is due to the location. This game will be played in Miami, where the Patriots have struggled recently. While New England 1-4 in their last five visits to Florida, the narrative they can’t win in Miami is completely overblown. Two of the four losses were due to serious injuries, while New England was still searching for their identity in a third game.

The only true “trap game” came last year in basically this exact scenario. Heading into Week 14, the Patriots overlooked Miami while focusing on the inevitable Week 15 showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This year, the Patriots also head into Miami in Week 14 before heading into Pittsburgh for Week 15.

The team wasn’t prepared in 2017, but that lack of preparation won’t happen again. As it is, it’s rare for a Bill Belichick team to lose focus on the task at hand. It rarely happens once, so it definitely won’t happen again. Playing on the road is obviously harder than playing at home, but aside from that, there’s no reason to expect the Patriots to be at anything less than full strength.

The Actual Matchup

The Patriots will bring their A-game against Miami, but will that be enough to win by more than a touchdown? The Dolphins are currently 6-6 and, theoretically, won’t automatically roll over and die against New England. Let’s take a dive into the matchups and see how the 9-3 Patriots fare against Miami.

Despite being in the thick of the playoff race, it’s hard to find anything that the Dolphins do particularly well. The Dolphins rank 25th in points per game and 20th in points allowed per game. Football Outsiders ranks them 21st in DVOA and 23rd in weighted DVOA. By all measurable analysis, this just isn’t a good team.

When New England Has the Ball

As far as the passing game is concerned, Miami has one of the truly elite cornerbacks in Xavien Howard. However, he can only cover one guy at a time. Howard could take away Josh Gordon for parts of the game, but that won’t shut down New England’s offense. Tom Brady has spread the ball around better since the bye week and hasn’t force-fed Gordon on every single play. Instead, he’s finding the open receivers and making defenses respect the entirety of the field.

The Patriots might not even need the passing game to beat up on the Dolphins. New England’s running game is as healthy as it’s ever been thanks to the return of Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. Michel has been fantastic when healthy, as the first-round rookie has already recorded 649 yards and five touchdowns during his nine games played. Burkhead, meanwhile, is a true dual-threat runner capable of keeping defenses guessing. Additionally, his surprisingly impressive red zone success gives New England yet another weapon inside the 20-yard line.

When the Dolphins Have the Ball

The Patriots should move the ball at ease against the Dolphins, but it’s hard to see Miami doing the same to New England. Ryan Tannehill is a fairly underwhelming quarterback on his own, and he won’t have much help. Several of his wide receivers aren’t expected to play, leaving him with no solid option in the passing game. Making matters worse for the Dolphins offense is that the Patriots boast one of the elite cornerback groupings in football. Per Pro Football Focus, cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty are both top-10 at their position. This duo shouldn’t struggle to stop whoever lines up at wideout. Ryan Tannehill isn’t good enough to consistently throw receivers open, and Miami’s receivers aren’t good enough to get open against New England’s elite duo.

The only game-breaking talent on Miami’s roster is running back Kenyan Drake. However, it’s hard to see him taking over the game. For one, head coach Adam Gase simply refuses to give him a starters’ workload. Drake splits carries with the ever-reliable Frank Gore, who is having a fine season in his own right. That said, Gore is no longer a guy capable of single-handedly carrying an offense. Drake has that potential, but New England won’t let him reach it.

The Patriots are notorious for taking away an opponents’ best weapon. Each and every week, New England dares opposing offenses to beat them with their second or third options. Last week, the Patriots held star wide receiver Adam Thielen to just 28 yards on five receptions. Minnesota’s offense faltered without Thielen, scoring just 10 points. As is custom, the Patriots defense is playing their best football during the final stretch of the season.

The Last Time These Teams Met

Even though New England struggled against Maimi in seasons’ past, their Week Four matchup this season should erase all worry about a possible upset. The Patriots crushed Miami in Foxboro, dominating the entire way to a 34-10 victory that wasn’t even as close as the final score suggests.

It’s crazy to think about it, but New England was actually vulnerable heading into that contest. Julian Edelman was still suspended, Josh Gordon was just two weeks into his Patriots career, and New England was 1-2 coming off the heels of an embarrassing 26-10 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Dolphins, meanwhile, were 3-0 and ready to prove to the world that there was a new king in the AFC East.

If Miami wasn’t capable of putting up a fight under those circumstances, it’s hard to imagine them doing it now. Tom Brady didn’t have a great of a game the first time around, tossing a pair of ugly interceptions early in the contest. Brady and the Patriots as a whole have improved since Week Four while Miami has only gotten worse. It doesn’t matter where this game is played, the Patriots should cover the spread.

There’s no easier way to make a few quick bucks than by betting on the Patriots to cover for the spread. Make sure to place your wager on American Football betting at 888 Sport USA. The holidays are upon us, after all, and why spend your own money shopping when the Patriots can win you as much as you could need.

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