In theory, the bad teams have weeded themselves out by now, and it’s the best against the best. In this case, Miami’s extensive list of injuries throughout the roster have decimated the team, leaving oddsmakers to further move the line Buffalo’s way all weekend long.
Prior to this matchup, there had never been a favorite larger than 11.5 points in the wild-card round — the Pittsburgh Steelers were 11.5-point favorites against the Dolphins in the 2016 wild-card round, and the Chiefs were also 11.5-point favorites against the Steelers in the 2021 wild-card round (both teams covered). DraftKings Sportsbook, as of Sunday, has the Bills-Dolphins line at -13.5, topping these previous marks.
The #Dolphins are 13.5 point underdogs against the #Bills this weekend, making them the largest underdog in a playoff game ever.— JPA (@jasrifootball) January 12, 2023
They were 9 point underdogs until Tua Tagovailoa got ruled out. Can Skylar Thompson step up and pull off a miracle? pic.twitter.com/jLU9Osb1Su
While the Dolphins appear to be facing a near-impossible task, it has been done before. Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports highlighted the success of double-digit underdogs straight up in their contests. Twenty-five teams have been double-digit underdogs since 2000, with seven of them pulling off upset wins.
Buffalo has also been dominant as a big favorite under head coach Sean McDermott. McDermott is 12-2 straight up against double-digit spreads, while also posting a winning record against the spread — going 7-5-2 in those games. Conversely, Miami is 4-8-1 against the spread, and 2-11 straight up when a road underdog in all playoff games in the Super Bowl era.
Do the Dolphins stand a chance? Will they cover the spread, or will the Bills’ dominance continue?