As soon as the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots were both complete with their Week 16 wins, Las Vegas set the odds for the two AFC East rivals’ Week 17 meeting at six points in favor of the Patriots. Miami being the underdog is not surprising, given the Patriots are the top team in the AFC and are coming into this game needing a win to ensure they finish the regular season with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Miami, meanwhile, are safely in the playoffs and, while they could still reach the fifth seed with a win and a Kansas City Chiefs loss, they are probably pretty well locked into the sixth-seed.
That six-point advantage for the Dolphins did not stay at six points very long. Almost immediately after the initial posting on Christmas day, the line began to move with bettors taking the Patriots heavily. In just a few hours it was already up to the seven-point mark and by the end of the 25th, it was pushing toward eight points.
The climb continued through the 26th and by yesterday, multiple sports books were up to 10 points in favor of the Patriots, with an occasional 10.5-point spread showing up.
Basically, right now we are looking at Las Vegas, via OddsShark.com, believing Miami is going to lose this game by at least double-digits. Oddly enough, the OddsShark simulations has the projected score of the game 24.0-20.4 in favor of the Patriots.
Miami has won five straight home games this year, and have beaten the Patriots in Miami each of the last three seasons. New England is 12-3 against the spread this season, the best record in the league, while the Dolphins are 9-5-1 on year, and 8-1-1 in their last ten games.
My guess is we see the line come back toward the Dolphins a little, though I would not expect it to get back to under a touchdown. The Patriots are always a popular bet, and, despite Miami winning nine of their last ten games and being a playoff team this year, there is not a lot of national love for the South Florida franchise.