Tre'Davious White #27 of the Buffalo Bills defends a pass agains Jaylen Waddle #17 of the Miami Dolphins during an NFL football game at Highmark Stadium
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Bills-Dolphins Odds: AFC East Beef Spills into Super Wild Card Weekend


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The first playoff game on Sunday is the third meeting of the season between the Bills and the Dolphins. The weather should be clear and brisk in the low 30s, which is good news for Miami fans after their earlier contest this year in Buffalo featured colder conditions and some fourth quarter flurries.

Miami backed its way into the postseason, losing five of its final six games and requiring the final minute to put away the lowly Jets in a must-win Week 18 game. The Bills on the other hand haven't lost in two full months and have only lost one time at home all season. With these trends in mind, most sportsbooks have set the spread with the Bills between 13 and 13.5 point favorites and a total of 43.5 points. Let's put this game under the gambling microscope and see if we can find an edge.

What's the Quarterback Situation for the Dolphins?

Skylar Thompson #19 of the Miami Dolphins passes against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium

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The two teams split the season series, each winning at home, but both of those contests featured Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. With Tua ruled out with a concussion for Wild Card weekend, it's likely that third-string rookie Skylar Thompson will be under center, unless backup Teddy Bridgewater can make a miraculous recovery before game time. The Miami offense has understandably struggled with the rookie signal caller, as Thompson has thrown just one touchdown and three interceptions in parts of seven games.

How Bad are the Trends for the Dolphins Right Now?

Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle #17 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after catching a firs half touchdown pass

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Things are not good in Miami. The Dolphins have scored nearly a touchdown less than their season average since Tua was added to the injured list two games ago, and things were starting to slide before his absence. That being said, the Dolphins still have incredible speed and playmakers on offense, so if they can get them the ball in space anything can happen. The down side is during their five game losing streak the Dolphin defense failed to hold any team under 23 points, including Buffalo.

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How Locked in are the Bills Right Now?

Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills reacts with running back Devin Singletary #26 after Allen scored a four-yard rushing touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams

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With both the number two scoring offense and defense, Buffalo has been playing all season to avenge last year's playoff loss in dramatic fashion to Kansas City. With news that their elite safety Micah Hyde has returned to practice and could play should the team progress deeper into the playoffs, all systems appear to be a go in Buffalo.

So What's the Deal?

Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

These teams are two trains going in the opposite direction... but I've also said before that you don't make money betting on divisional favorites with a spread of more than a touchdown... So....

This is all true, and normally these contests are closer when they play a third time in a season, but not this one. First off, it's Skylar Thompson's first time playing Buffalo, and he will be on the road in the playoffs in front of thousands of screaming Bills fans, completely unable to make pre-snap adjustments against one of the better defensive fronts in the league. In addition, Miami's rushing offense has fallen to 25th in the league, so unlike the 49ers, they won't be able to use that to take the pressure off their rookie QB.

What Do the Sharp Bettors say?

Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills during practice

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The line has moved substantially since it opened after it was announced that Tua would not play. It's likely many of the sharpest big bettors got on Buffalo before the line moved up to -13/-13.5 which is why you see 74 percent of the bets and 84 percent of the money on the Bills. 

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As for the total, 68 percent of the bets and 64 percent of the money wagered is on the over. This makes sense as it's rare to get this many big playmakers on the field at once with a total as low as 43.5 points. Also with heavy money coming in on the favorite in a big point spread, it's more common that is parlayed with the over rather than the under.

So, Buffalo to Win by Two Touchdowns?

Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills leads the team on to the field prior to the game between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills

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It's Josh Allen at home in January, versus a third-string rookie Skylar Thompson who has one career touchdown pass. Let's not make this game any harder than it is.

I'm putting two units on the Bills to cover -13.5. I won't be betting on the total in this game because I can't justify a single dollar tied into a Miami offense that looks so horrendous against the other talented AFC East defenses the last two weeks. I think this game finishes with the Bills winning by a huge margin 31-10.

One additional betting note, I think the Buffalo defense will feed off the "Bills Mafia" faithful, so if you can find a line that has Bills team sack total at 3.5 or less you should take the over on that prop bet. Sure Buffalo averages only 2.5 sacks per game, but if they get ahead, game flow and the loud crowd will make it difficult for Miami's line to call out blocking schemes, more often than not that will result in several additional sacks of a young non-mobile QB.

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