SharpClarke's Best Week 13 NFL Bet: MIA @ WAS

Dec 01, 2023
SharpClarke's Best Week 13 NFL Bet: MIA @ WAS

Coming off a rough article last week in which I wrote the phrase "I hope it's Mac Jones" at quarterback in a pro-Patriots argument, I am hoping the Week 13 version turns out more favorable for me. Still, it was encouraging to get closing line value on a bet made on Friday for the second straight week. That's typically a good indicator of a valuable bet. Hopefully, we can do the same here as I take a look at the Dolphins-Commanders matchup in Maryland. Let's dive in.

Get a full year of our subscription for as low as $10, or 2 months for $5! Find out how.

Matchup Breakdown

MIA offense v. WAS defense

Let's start with the obvious handicap. The Dolphins are currently my 4th-ranked offense, and the Commanders are my 32nd-ranked defense. Yes, that's dead last. In particular, the Commanders struggle to cover downfield and have gotten worse in recent weeks without Chase Young and Montez Sweat on the defensive line. But they've been fairly decent on the season defending the run, and even in the last four weeks without Sweat and Young, they have allowed the 8th-lowest success rate to opposing offenses on run plays. The competition has not been overwhelming, but given how poorly this defense is rated, it's at least worth noting that they aren't the type of defense that opposing teams can just repeatedly run against. Success against them has come through the air primarily. Pretty much every quarterback has been able to torch them through the air, from Justin Fields to Desmond Ridder, even to Tommy Devito, if you throw out the sacks.

The easy way to look at this is to say that Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins' offense should be able to score at will, given the strength of their pass game. But predicting outcomes (especially at this stage in the season) is about understanding why a team might outperform or underperform relative to projection. After all, the Dolphins are favored by 9.5 points currently, on the road. That's a massive number. When a really good passing offense goes up against a really bad passing defense, it typically is a good outcome for the offense. But relative to how the teams are priced, there is very little additional advantage there. The things that disrupt an offense like Miami's are often not things the defense does. Tagovailoa can misfire at times, both running backs have been liable to fumble, the centers have botched multiple snaps, and they have been held back by crucial penalties, especially on the offensive line. If none of these things happen, it will be smooth sailing for the Dolphins' offense. That is what the price on the game predicts. But the variance here is all towards Miami underperforming on offense, especially if the forecasted rain hits during game time. When you add the fact that the offense has underperformed for five straight games now, and a new defensive play-caller for Washington can only mean improvement or static, I am comfortable betting that the offensive peak is limited to somewhere below perfection. A turnover here and a failed fourth-down conversion there, and Miami has missed its offensive projection. That might be all it takes.

WAS offense v MIA defense

I say that might be all it takes because I believe in this Washington offense. Sam Howell continues to play better than the results suggest. In particular, I have been a big fan of the schematic changes Washington has made in the last five games. Unlike Miami's offense, they are playing the best football of their season right now. Miami lost Jaelan Phillips last week, who has been a crucial element of their pass rush. In addition, they might be without Javon Holland, who has been graded as the #1 safety in the NFL this season per PFF. Today, Mike McDaniel said they would be cautious with Holland, which could mean sitting him in a seemingly winnable matchup. Miami's defense has improved metrically since Jaylen Ramsey returned to the field, but I have not seen it show up in my more holistic numbers, especially accounting for opponents. They shut down Tim Boyle and the inept Jets' defense last week, off a fairly good performance against rookie Aiden O'Connell and the Raiders the week before. The statistics were good against Kansas City before the bye, but Patrick Mahomes has always struggled (relatively) with this scheme. Before that, they handled a putrid Patriots offense and struggled with Philadelphia.

Basically, I'm not convinced this is a good unit based on what I've seen on the field, especially without Phillips and maybe without Holland. They are still living off reputation. The Commanders have botched a lot of drives this year with poor fourth-down decisions, bad turnovers, and inopportune penalties. But Howell has remained live all season, especially when playing from behind. Eric Bienemy has opened things up in recent weeks in ways that have helped Howell, by getting the ball out quicker, using running backs in the passing game, and moving Howell out of the pocket by design. I expect a competitive offense for Washington here, capable of closing the gap even if Miami builds a big lead.

Market Evaluation

The game opened around MIA -9, and the Dolphins have taken some money that Is not meaningful up to -9.5 across the board. If there was a strong appetite for the Dolphins against the spread, we would have seen this move to 10 because that's a key number that bettors would not have wanted to lose. Some 10s did show up briefly earlier in the week, but they lasted about 5 minutes and never returned (other than some juiced 10s, obviously). To me, this signals that, to the extent influential bettors have an opinion on this game, it is more likely on Washington, waiting to bet +10. I think this comes back down before game time, and I would agree with the move.

Best Bet

I'm willing to bet WAS +9.5 -110 here, playable to WAS +8 -110 or WAS +7.5 -105. I see value on the home underdog with the ability to put up points and capitalize on any mistakes Miami makes. I am not as interested in moneyline equivalents, because a tighter game favors the more competent team and offense and coaching staff, all of which belong to Miami.

WAS +9.5 (-110) (FanDuel, widely available)

bet365 Promo and Offer

$1,000 First Bet Safety Net or Bet $5, Get $150

This article is intended for entertainment purposes and adult users only. Call 1-800-GAMBLER if you have a gambling problem.

Latest Articles
Most Popular