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Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans Prediction, Preview, and Odds

Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins hope to lead the Houston Texans to their fifth straight win, extend their lead in the AFC South, as they host the slumping Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 8.

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It’s the kickoff of week 8 of the NFL season with a matchup between a pair of AFC foes down in the Lone Star State. The Miami Dolphins are on the road as they make the road trip to take on the Houston Texans Thursday night. Miami suffered their third loss in four games as they were dumped 32-21 at home by Detroit Sunday afternoon. Houston reeled off their fourth straight win as they shut down Jacksonville 20-7 on the road Sunday. The Texans have dominated the all-time series between the teams, taking seven of the eight meetings though the Dolphins took their first win in the last meeting. Miami prevailed 44-26 at home in the last matchup on November 25, 2015. The line opened with Houston as a 7 point favorite with the over/under set at 45.5 points. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Texans are a 7.5 point favorite with the over/under trending down to 44.5 points.

A Quick Review of the Season to Date

Miami Dolphins Review

Miami started the season with three straight wins to qualify as one of the league’s surprises in the early going. The Dolphins beat the Titans 27-20 in their season opener in a game that was delayed multiple times by lightning. Miami finished that up with a road win over the Jets (20-12) and a home win over the Raiders (28-20) to run their mark to 3-0. The Dolphins had a chance to send a message in week 4 as they visited the Patriots with a chance to upend the longtime throne sitters of the AFC East. Instead, Miami was trounced 38-7 and didn’t find the end zone until deep in the fourth quarter. Week 5 saw the Dolphins give up 27 unanswered points, including 24 in the fourth quarter, in a 27-17 loss at Cincinnati. Miami battled to steal a 31-28 overtime win over the Bears in week six to extend their mark to 4-2 heading into their game with Detroit.

Miami was a nice surprise story in the first few weeks of the season as they started the year 3-0. Since then, things have unraveled with three losses in four games as they were handled by the Lions at home. Miami trailed 17-7 at the half and was unable to get anything going in the second half as Detroit took care of business. The Dolphins were outgained 457-322 in the contest, including giving up 248 rushing yards. Miami gave up 24 first downs while picking up 19 and lost the time of possession battle 33:39 to 26:21 in the game. Neither team committed a turnover: injuries to Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson in the game left the Dolphins with only two healthy receivers. Miami had to play RB Kenyan Drake at receiver late in the game. The Dolphins are 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game and 1-7 ATS in their last eight on the road.

Houston Texans Review

While Miami started hot and then sputtered lately, the Texans have gone the opposite route. Houston started the season 0-3 as they came up on the short end in close games. Since then, they’ve turned things around and moved up in the standings. Houston opened the season with road losses at New England (27-20) and Tennessee (20-17) before falling 27-22 at home to the Giants. The Texans picked up their first win of the season in week 4 by edging the Colts, 37-34 in overtime after stopping Indianapolis on fourth down in their own territory in the final minute of the extra session. Houston followed that up with a 19-16 overtime win on the road in Dallas and then rallied to beat Buffalo 20-13 by scoring 10 points in the final two minutes. A pick six by Johnathan Joseph proved to be the winning points in that contest.

After starting the season with three straight losses, Houston has won four in a row to get their season back on track. The Texans improved to 4-3 on the year and took over the top spot in the AFC South with the win over the Jaguars. Houston’s defense kept Jacksonville in check all game long and jumped ahead 20-0 early in the third quarter. The Texans held a 272-259 edge in total offense and forced three turnovers, which led to 10 points, while not committing a turnover. Both teams finished with 15 first downs and the Texans lost the time of possession battle by a 30:25 to 29:35 margin. The Texans are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 8.

Miami Dolphins Offense vs. Houston Texans Defense

Running the Ball: Who Has the Edge?

Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense

Miami has been surprisingly effective for the most part when it comes to running the ball this season. The Dolphins have rushed for at least 100 yards in five of their seven contests so far this season. There’s a clear 1-2 punch in the ground game this season as opposed to more of the running back by committee we saw the team go with a season ago. With a more clear cut picture as to how things will be handled, it seems like there has been more room for success on the ground. Miami started the season with 29 carries for 120 yards against Tennessee and followed that with 31 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown against the Jets. The Dolphins were held in check the next two weeks against Oakland (14 carries, 41 yards) and New England (18 carries, 56 yards) before getting back on track in week five against Cincinnati (22 carries, 128 yards), even in a losing effort. In their win over Chicago, Miami committed to the run, totaling 31 carries for 161 yards. In week 7 against the Lions, the Dolphins had just 19 carries for 107 yards plus a score.

Frank Gore leads the team in rushing with 72 carries for 332 yards. Kenyan Drake contributes 58 carries for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Tannehill is third on the team with 91 rushing yards. To date, Miami is 27th with 329.1 yards of offense per game this year. On the season, the Dolphins are 18th in the league in rushing offense with 106.9 yards per game. Miami is tied for 11th in the league in yards per carry as they average 4.6 yards per attempt.

Houston Texans Rushing Defense

Houston has made life relatively difficult for their opposition when it comes to moving the ball on the ground this season. While the Texans have allowed the opponent to run for at least 100 yards four times this season, it’s more about volume than success this season. Only one team, the Giants in week 3, have averaged better than four yards per carry (4.2), and that was bolstered only by runs of 24 and 15 yards by Saquon Barkley. Houston gave up 31 carries for 122 yards to New England, which was followed up by a 34 carry, 100-yard performance by Tennessee. New York had 27 carries for 114 yards plus a score in week three. Since then, it’s been tough sledding as Indianapolis (17 carries, 41 yards), Dallas (29 carries, 98 yards, Buffalo (27 carries, 100 yards) and Jacksonville (22 carries, 70 yards) have all been kept in check on the ground.

Linebacker Zach Cunningham leads the team with 61 tackles (44 solo) to go along with two tackles for loss, three pass defenses and a forced fumble. Bernardrick McKinney chips in 51 tackles (33 solo) with 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss. The Texans have improved lately defensively, climbing to 9th in the league in total defense by allowing 329.9 yards per contest. Houston is 8th in the league in rushing defense as they allow 92.1 yards per game. The Texans are second in the league as they allow a stingy 3.4 yards per carry. The 24 yard run by Barkley in week 3 is the only run for more than 20 yards they’ve allowed this season.

Who Has the Edge?

Miami has done a solid job of sharing the workload between Gore and Drake so far this season. The problem is, most people expected Drake to seize the starting role and leave Gore as a change of pace or third down back. Instead, the 35 year old Gore has had more carries and more yards than Drake as we near the midway point of the season. As it stands, it likely doesn’t matter who runs the ball here. Houston has dominated the line of scrimmage when it comes to the run game this season as they’ve been extremely stingy in giving up yards. The Texans front seven is too much for Miami here and it shuts the run game down cold.

Advantage: Houston Texans

Aerial Assault: Who Has the Upper Hand?

Miami Dolphins Passing Offense

The passing game has been hit and miss for the Dolphins this season, partially due to inconsistent quarterback play and partially due to injuries to their receiving corps. Miami has thrown for more than 300 yards just twice, once by each starting quarterback. On three occasions, the Dolphins have thrown for under 170 yards already this season. Miami threw for 222 yards in the opener against the Titans before picking up just 122 against the Jets. Since then, it’s been an up and down ride as a high note in Oakland (332 yards) was followed by lows in New England (116) and Cincinnati (169), which were both losses. The Dolphins’ passing game rebounded with solid games against Chicago (380) and Detroit (215) in the last two weeks but consistency has been a problem.

Ryan Tannehill has completed 85 of 129 for 972 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions while getting sacked 11 times. He has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury and is out again for this one. Brock Osweiler is 54 of 80 for 654 yards with six touchdowns against two interceptions while getting sacked four times. Albert Wilson completed his lone pass for a 52-yard touchdown. Danny Amendola leads the team in receptions as he has 30 for 294 yards plus a score. Albert Wilson (26 grabs, 391 yards, four TD), Drake (25 catches, 160 yards, TD), Kenny Stills (16 receptions, 281 yards, four TD), Jakeem Grant (16 receptions, 216 yards, two TD) and tight end Mike Gesicki (12 catches, 132 yards) are all good targets. There is an ongoing feud between receiver DeVante Parker and the team: he was inactive Sunday, leading to his agent to call head coach Adam Gase “incompetent” in a post-game tirade. Miami has 18 pass plays that have covered at least 20 yards with Wilson leading the way with seven.

Houston Texans Passing Defense

Houston sputtered against the pass in the first month of the season but has tightened up substantially in the last three games. The Texans have racked up 19 sacks on the year with three games where they had four sacks. Houston has allowed more than 300 yards through the air in just one game so far this season, with that coming when Andrew Luck threw for 437 yards in week four. On the flip side, the Texans have held four teams under 195 yards passing, including each of their last three opponents. Houston has allowed 14 touchdown passes while recording six interceptions. Four times, the Texans gave up a passer rating higher than 100 but they’ve clamped down defensively in their last three games. The ratings in the last three games have been 64.4 (Dallas), 49.4 (Buffalo) and 72.4 (Jacksonville), showing the marked turnaround in October.

The pass rush is led by the duo of J.J. Watt (seven sacks) and Jadeveon Clowney (4.5 sacks) this season. Tyrann Mathieu (39 tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, five pass defenses, fumble recovery) and Kareem Jackson (38 tackles, three tackles for loss, eight pass defenses, two forced fumbles, fumble recovery) each have two interceptions. Johnathan Joseph (34 tackles, eight pass defenses) and Justin Reid (30 tackles, three pass defenses) each have an interception to their credit. Houston has given up 20 pass plays that have covered at least 20 yards this season.

Who Has the Edge?

If Miami was healthy, this one would likely skew their way. Instead, the Dolphins are riddled with injuries. Tannehill has been ruled out for a third straight game: the hopes are that he can resume throwing with a Nerf ball next week. Wilson, the team’s leading receiver and one of the league leaders in yards after catch, is out at least a few weeks and possibly for the year after a hip injury. Stills has also been ruled out with a groin injury, further thinning the options at receiver for the Dolphins. Losing the top two receivers for Miami quickly shifts this one back to a push at best for the Fins. Houston’s pass defense should improve markedly in this contest as it will be interesting to see who Osweiler can throw to. Give a slight edge to the Texans thanks to the injuries and Houston’s ability to get after the QB.

Advantage: Houston Texans

Houston Texans Offense vs. Miami Dolphins Defense

Who Has the Edge in the Ground Game?

Houston Texans Rushing Offense

Houston has shown a commitment to the run this season, though it hasn’t always been as productive as the team would like. After averaging 4.9 and 5.7 yards per carry in their first two games of the season, the Texans haven’t had a yard per carry average better than 3.8 in the last five weeks. Houston has broken the century mark in four of their seven games this season. The Texans started the year with 34 carries for 167 yards plus a score against New England and then put up 26 carries for 148 yards against Tennessee in week 2. Houston had only 19 carries for 59 yards in week 3 against the Giants, which was dictated by the score, and had 35 carries for 119 yards plus a score against the Colts. In their week five win against Dallas (31 carries, 88 yards) and the week six triumph against Buffalo (24 carries, 74 yards), the run game was held in check. Last week against the Jaguars, the Texans pounded the ball 37 times, picking up 141 yards and a score in the process.

Lamar Miller leads the team with 95 carries for 371 yards plus a touchdown while Alfred Blue has 64 carries for 216 yards plus a score. Deshaun Watson is tied for second on the team with 216 rushing yards plus a score. Through the first seven weeks of the year, Houston is 16th in the league in total offense with 372.1 yards per game. This season, the Texans are 15th in the league in rushing offense with 113.7 yards per game. Houston is tied for 24th in the league in yards per carry as they average 3.9 yards per attempt.

Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense

Miami’s run defense has had its problems this season and is something the team likely will try to address going forward. The Dolphins have allowed at least 100 yards on the ground in six of their seven games. Opponents have scored touchdowns on the ground in five of their seven games this season while averaging at least four yards a carry in five of those seven games. The Dolphins allowed 29 carries for 116 yards plus a score in week one against Tennessee before having their best game of the year (19 carries, 42 yards) against the Jets. Since then, it’s been a challenge: Miami allowed 32 carries for 109 yards plus a touchdown against Oakland in week 3, 40 carries for 175 yards plus two scores against New England and 26 carries for 103 yards against Cincinnati. In the last two weeks, the Dolphins allowed 31 carries for 164 yards plus a score against Chicago and then were gashed for 35 carries totaling 248 yards plus a touchdown against Detroit.

The Dolphins are led defensively by LB Kiko Alonso, who has 66 tackles (46 solo), along with four pass defenses, three forced fumbles, two picks and a fumble recovery. Jerome Baker has 41 tackles (30 solo) plus two sacks and a pass defense while rookie Raekwon McMillan contributes 39 tackles (27 solo) to go with one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The Dolphins are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game.

Who Has the Edge?

Houston’s run game hasn’t been anything spectacular this season but the fact remains that they remain committed to trying to pound the ball. The Texans get a break this week as they face a Miami team that has struggled to stop the run and who gave up 7.1 yards per carry to the Lions last week. The Dolphins are beat up on both sides of the ball and it’s going to be an uphill battle dealing with a mobile QB like Watson in addition to Miller and Blue running the ball. Miami couldn’t stop the run last week and they struggle again here.

Advantage: Houston Texans

Who Has the Upper Hand in the Passing Attack?

Houston Texans Passing Offense

Houston’s offense has gotten hotter as the team’s fortunes changed, which is a positive for them at this point of the season. The Texans have been hot and cold with the passing game as they have as many games with at least 300 yards through the air (three) as they do with games under 160 yards this season. Houston struggled against New England in week 1 (158 yards) before hitting a hot stretch against Tennessee (289), the Giants (368), Indianapolis (347) and Dallas (374) in weeks two through five. The last two games, things have come back to earth as the Texans struggled to move the ball through the air against Buffalo (142 yards) and Jacksonville (131) the past two weeks. Which version of Houston’s passing attack will we see in this one?

Deshaun Watson has completed 152 of 241 passes for 1,937 yards with 10 touchdowns against seven interceptions while getting sacked 26 times. DeAndre Hopkins leads the team with 47 receptions for 707 yards and four scores this season. Will Fuller V (27 receptions, 379 yards, three TD) and rookie Keke Coutee (21 catches, 196 yards, TD) are solid secondary options in the aerial assault. Coutee is doubtful after injuring his hamstring against Jacksonville. That would push Braxton Miller or Sammie Coates Jr. into the picture as the third receiver in the Texans’ offensive attack. Houston has picked up 25 pass plays of at least 20 yards this season with Hopkins recording 13 of them. The Texans are 16th in the league in passing yards per game with 276.7 this season. Houston is tied for 18th in the league in net yards per pass attempt (6.4) but stand just 23rd in completion percentage at 62.8 percent. The Texans are just 21st in passer rating as the team has an 89.5 mark so far this season.

Miami Dolphins Passing Defense

One thing the Dolphins have had some success at this season is defending the pass. Miami has given up more than 300 yards three times this season but never more than 325 yards in a game through the air. The Dolphins have been aggressive when it comes to their coverage as they have recorded 11 interceptions on the year while allowing 11 touchdown passes. Miami has to improve in the pass rush department as they have only 11 sacks to their credit through seven games and they’ve had just two games with at least three sacks. The Dolphins have allowed their last five opponents to complete at least 65 percent of their passes while the last two have posted passer ratings north of 120.

Baker, Vincent Taylor and William Hayes each have two sacks to lead the team this season. Hayes is on IR after he tore his ACL against Oakland back in week 3. In the secondary, Xavien Howard (14 tackles, five pass defenses, tackle for loss, fumble recovery) leads the team with three interceptions. Alonso, T.J. McDonald (38 tackles, three pass defenses) and Reshad Jones (28 tackles, three tackles for loss, five passes defenses) each have two picks. Minkah Fitzpatrick (40 tackles, one tackle for loss, four pass defenses) and Bobby McCain (22 tackles, five pass defense) each have grabbed one interception.

Who Has the Edge?

This one is similar to the Miami passing offense situation in that the Texans are going to be minus a key piece. It looks like Coutee, who has really come on in the last few weeks, is going to miss the game. That takes away the team’s third-leading receiver and means someone else has to step up. Hopkins likely draws Howard in coverage, which means that Fuller V and whoever slots in to replace Coutee will have to make some plays. Miami has been good at forcing turnovers in the passing game to make up for their lack of a pass rush. The Dolphins ability to limit receivers from making big plays in the passing game gives them a slight edge here.

Advantage: Miami Dolphins

Special Teams, Coaching, & Intangibles

Special Teams

Miami Dolphins

Jason Sanders has hit 17 of 18 extra point attempts and six of seven field goal tries this season with a long of 50. The Dolphins are dangerous in the return game as Grant has averaged a sparkling 32.3 yards per return on 16 kick returns, including a 102 yard touchdown. Senorise Perry had a 16 yard return on his one attempt this season. On punt returns, Grant has shined as well: he averages 18 yards on his nine returns, including a 71 yard score. Amendola has averaged seven yards on his two returns this season. All told, Miami averages 31.2 yards per kick return and 16 yards per punt return this season. The Dolphins do have a blocked kick to their credit as well.

Matt Haack has been okay in the punting game. He averages 45.5 yards per punt (tied for 16th) on his 36 attempts this season with 16 punts dropped inside the 20 and eight fair catches. Haack has had four touchbacks. The Dolphins punt coverage has allowed an average of 8.9 yards on 16 punt returns, which leaves Haack with a 41.5 yard net average (14th) this season. Miami has allowed only five kickoff returns this season but they’ve given up 35.2 yards per runback this season, including a 94 yard score in the opener against Tennessee. Football Outsiders have the Dolphins ranked third in special teams rating this season.

Houston Texans

Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has booted all 14 extra point attempts and 17 of 20 field goal tries with a long of 54: two of his three misses have come from beyond 50 yards. In the return game, Tyler Ervin has averaged 25.3 yards on his 10 kick returns with a long of 36. Alfred Blue had a 13 yard return on his lone runback on a kickoff. Ervin has contributed an 8.1 yard average on 18 punt returns this season with a long of 27 to his credit.

Trevor Daniels has been mediocre in the punting department so far this season. He’s averaged 43.6 yards per punt (24th) as his gross average on 36 boots this season. Seventeen of his punts have been dropped inside the 20-yard line and he’s generated 11 fair catches with three touchbacks. The opposition has averaged 7.1 yards per return on 11 punt returns, leaving him with a 41.2 yard net average (17th) this season. Houston has been stingy on kick coverage, allowing only 14.4 yards per return on 10 attempts so far this year. Overall, the Texans are ranked fourth in special teams by Football Outsiders.

Who Has the Edge?

Both teams have been very good in special teams this season. The kicking game has been solid as Sanders missed his first field goal attempt of the year just this past week against the Lions. Fairbairn has missed three kicks out of 20 this year with two of those coming from beyond 50 yards. The return game has been dynamic for Miami with Grant returning both a kick and a punt for scores already this season. How the Dolphins fare in the return game against Houston is something to watch for, given how well the Texans have covered kicks this season. In the end, a slim edge goes to the Dolphins based on Grant’s ability to break a big play.

Advantage: Miami Dolphins

Coaching

Miami Dolphins

Adam Gase is in his third season as the head coach of the Dolphins. He has a career record of 20-19 as head coach with one playoff appearance, with that coming back in 2016. Miami went from 10-6 in 2016 to 6-10 in 2017 before going 4-3 so far this year. Gase began his NFL coaching career with the Lions from 2003-07, beginning as a scouting assistant before moving to an offensive assistant role and then becoming a QB coach in 2007.

Gase went on to be an offensive assistant in San Francisco in 2008 before taking a job in Denver. He was the Broncos’ wide receiver coach in 2009-10, then took the QB coach job from 2011-12. Gase was the offensive coordinator in Denver in 2013 and 2014 before taking the offensive coordinator job with the Bears in 2015. The Broncos made a run to Super Bowl XLVIII but were routed 43-8 by the Seahawks.

Houston Texans

Bill O’Brien is in his fifth season coaching the Texans in this, his first NFL head coaching job. He has strung together a 35-36 record with Houston with a pair of division titles to his credit. O’Brien led Houston to three straight 9-7 seasons before finishing 4-12 last year. This season, the Texans seem back on track with four straight wins and sitting back at the top of the AFC South race. O’Brien came to Houston after one season at Penn State, where he took over after the whole scandal involving Jerry Sandusky.

Prior to the Penn State job, O’Brien was part of the Patriots’ coaching staff. He was an offensive assistant in 2007, took over as wide receivers coach in 2008 and then was the team’s QB coach in 2009-10. In his final year with the organization, he was the offensive coordinator in 2011. New England made two Super Bowls in that time frame but lost them both to the underdog New York Giants.

Who Has the Edge?

Gase is a competent enough coach but is dealing with a fractured team at the moment. While Parker has reportedly stepped back from the comments his agent made, there’s a lot of tension in the locker room. The Dolphins have struggled with three losses in four games and all the injuries, in addition to coming in on a short week, isn’t going to help matters. On the flip side of that, we’ve seen Houston reel off four straight wins as the defense is shutting teams down while the offense is getting things done. O’Brien has the team riding the wave right now. His experience of dealing with tough situations gives him the advantage here.

Advantage: Houston Texans

Intangibles

Miami Dolphins

For all their issues and injuries, the Dolphins have been good in the red zone, allowing just 44.4 percent of drives to end in touchdowns by the opposition. That number is good for 7th in the league as far as red zone numbers go. Miami is a +2 in the takeaway/giveaway department this season, which is something to keep an eye on with all the injuries. The defense has set the offense up with favorable situations and done a great job of keeping points off the board at times this season. It’s time for the offense to shoulder their part of the load.

Miami has to improve on sustaining drives in order to take pressure off the defense. The Dolphins are just 24th in third down conversions as they move the sticks on 37.4 percent of their third down chances. Coupled with the fact that Miami is 31st in the league in time of possession and 23rd in scoring average (21.6 points per game), it’s going to be tough for the Dolphins to stay in games as the season wears on and their defense wears down.

Houston Texans

Houston is a miserable 31st in red zone percentage as the opposition cashes in 73.7 percent of their chances in the red zone into touchdowns. The Texans have to be better in the red zone, either by forcing turnovers or at least making the opposition settle for field goals. Getting off the field on third down would help as well: Houston is 23rd in that department as opponents convert 42.1 percent of their third-down situations. The Texans are a +2 in the takeaway/giveaway ratio, which is a plus for the team.

The Texans are 20th in the league in converting third downs as they move the chains 38.3 percent of the time in those situations. Houston needs to quit settling for field goals once they reach the red zone. The team enters this one 31st in the league by converting only 37.9 percent of their red zone drives into touchdowns. Houston is 21st in the league in time of possession while ranking 21st in scoring offense with 22.1 points per game. On the plus side, the Texans are 8th in scoring defense by allowing 20.6 points per contest.

Who Has the Edge?

This one is pretty much a wash when you get right down to it. Both teams struggle on third down and both teams have a tough time staying on the field offensively. They both are a +2 in takeaway/giveaway and are among the bottom third of the league in points per game offensively. Houston has an edge on scoring defense but Miami is a much better defensive team in the red zone. Coupling that with the Texans’ struggles to put seven on the board instead of three when they’re inside the 20, you can give a slight lean to the Dolphins in this category.

Advantage: Miami Dolphins

Final Outlook – Time to place those bets!

Miami has already ruled out its top two receivers and their #1 quarterback for this contest. That’s not something that instills confidence in the Dolphins. While Osweiler has been good, or at least good enough, in the last two games, he had both Stills and Wilson to rely on in the passing game. They’re both out, and that makes life that much easier for Houston to deal with in regards to Miami’s offense. The Texans have been good against the pass in the last few weeks as it stood anyway: facing a depleted receiver group only makes things that much simpler. The Texans will miss Coutee, but their ability to move the ball on the ground against a soft Miami front seven is important. Also important is the lack of a pass rush that the Dolphins have, which should be a relief for Watson, who has been hit at a ridiculous rate this season.

Houston is 4-0-1 ATS in their last five contests in week 8. Miami has gone 5-17 ATS in their last 22 games on fieldturf, 1-7 ATS in their last 8 road games and 0-6 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. It’s tough to see the Dolphins scoring enough to hang in against Houston with so many missing pieces. The Texans stifle the run and key on what’s left of the passing attack to earn their fifth straight win.

As far as the total goes, this one showcases a couple of mediocre offenses against a couple of pretty solid defenses. Houston stifles the run and keeps teams off the scoreboard while Miami’s ball hawking secondary leads to turnovers while shutting down red zone drives. It will be a challenge to see which team can generate the most success offensively. Barring a defensive score or two here, this one could be a low scoring affair. The under is 4-0 in the Dolphins’ last 4 road games, 8-1-1 in their last 10 on Thursday, 13-3 in their last 16 games in week 8 and 4-1 in their last five against teams with a winning record. Houston has seen the under go 5-0 in their last five after a straight up win, 4-0 in their last four after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game, 5-0 in their last five after an ATS win and 6-1 in their last seven against AFC opponents. Given the lack of offensive production coupled with good defense, this one looks to fall short.

 

Miami Dolphins 16, Houston Texans 24
Updated: please continue below for details and new prediction.

Updated on Oct 25 at 3:20pm EDT

There weren’t many surprises on the injury report for this one. As expected, Stills, Tannehill and Wilson are all out on the offensive side of the ball for the Dolphins. DE Charles Harris is missing as well but him being out of the lineup isn’t a major impact. The loss of Stills and Wilson pushes Amendola into a major featured spot in the passing game: he has been targeted 18 times, hauling in 14, in the two games with Osweiler under center. Parker will get a chance to try and make a positive impact in the game instead of being a distraction in the media.

For Houston, they have ruled seven players out for this one. The biggest missing piece is Coutee, which means Fuller V will see a bigger workload. In the two games Coutee missed this season, he went over 100 yards and had a score. Rookie running back Tyler Ervin could see action as a slot receiver. TE Ryan Griffin misses his third straight game with an illness, which is unfortunate as he had reeled in six balls for 65 yards in week five against Dallas. Guard Zach Fulton misses his second straight game with an ankle injury, which means Greg Mancz has to slide into his spot. The biggest trouble spot for the Texans is at corner as Aaron Colvin misses his fourth straight game with an ankle injury while Shareece Wright misses his second straight with a laundry list of maladies. Houston isn’t overly deep at corner: expect Jonathan Bademosi to see a lot of action in this one.

The weather shouldn’t be a factor in this one as game time temperatures are expected to be in the high 60s with winds between five and 10 miles an hour from the northwest. Should the forecast change at any point before the game, the Texans would have the option of closing the roof of NRG Stadium as it is a retractable roof building. There is no determination at this time as to whether the team plans to have the roof open or closed at game time.

There hasn’t been a major shift in the line since the books opened with this game. Houston began the week as a 7 point favorite in the contest with the over/under set at 45.5 points. Since then, the line has only shifted by half a point to Houston by 7.5 points. The bigger shift has come in the over/under, which has trended down by  a points to 44.5 as of Thursday afternoon. The money line for this contest opened with Houston at -320 and Miami at +260: those numbers have shifted to Houston -355 and Miami +285. At the moment, 67 percent of the bets and a whopping 90 percent of the money is backing the Texans in this one. Currently, 62 percent of the bets and 56 percent of the money is on Houston to cover the spread. By the same token, 59 percent of the bets and 69 percent of the money is going on the teams combining to stay under the total.

While both teams have injuries at key spots, Miami can’t take advantage of Houston’s thin secondary thanks to a lack of healthy receivers. The Texans take advantage of Miami’s soft defense to pick up a win despite having their struggles to put the ball in the end zone. Look for Watt and company to aggressively rush Osweiler and put the Dolphins behind the sticks early and often.

Miami Dolphins 16, Houston Texans 24

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Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.

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#708 Boston Celtics -2
7:05pm
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#709 Portland Trailblazers -1
#710 Minnesota Timberwolves 223.5
8:05pm
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#711 Sacramento Kings 212
#712 Memphis Grizzlies -6.5
8:05pm
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#713 New York Knicks 227.5
#714 New Orleans Pelicans -10
8:05pm
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#715 Chicago Bulls
#716 Milwaukee Bucks
9:35pm
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NCAAB
#765 Valaparaiso -5.5
#766 Monmouth 145
6:30pm
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#721 Hofstra 151
#722 Maryland -12.5
7:00pm
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#723 Wisconsin-Milwaukee
#724 Cincinnati
7:00pm
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#725 Harvard 139
#726 Rhode Island -4
7:00pm
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#727 IUPUI 144
#728 Richmond -8.5
7:00pm
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#729 St. Johns -3
#730 Rutgers 145
7:00pm
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#783 Loyola Marymount 150
#784 Georgetown -6.5
7:00pm
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#759 Purdue -7
#760 Davidson 147
7:00pm
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#775 Eastern Kentucky
#776 Kansas State
7:30pm
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#719 East Carolina
#720 Georgia Tech
7:30pm
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#717 James Madison -3
#718 Charlotte 145
7:30pm
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#731 Ole Miss 150
#732 Butler -9.5
8:00pm
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#733 UL Lafayette
#734 Kansas
8:00pm
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#735 Louisiana Tech 154.5
#736 LSU -12.5
8:00pm
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#751 Towson 149
#752 Pepperdine -3
8:00pm
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#737 Long Beach State
#738 Mississippi St
9:00pm
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#739 Arizona State -1.5
#740 San Francisco 146
9:00pm
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#767 Western Kentucky 150
#768 West Virginia -7.5
9:00pm
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#741 Oakland University 148.5
#742 UNLV -8
10:00pm
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#743 Arkansas - Little Rock
#744 Nevada
11:00pm
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NHL
#51 Boston 5.5
#52 Dallas -125
8:05pm
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#53 Buffalo 6
#54 Winnipeg -210
8:05pm
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#55 Los Angeles 6
#56 Chicago -160
8:35pm
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#57 Washington 5.5
#58 Colorado -165
9:05pm
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#59 St. Louis 5.5
#60 Vegas -155
10:05pm
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#61 Toronto -120
#62 Anaheim 5.5
10:05pm
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Saturday, Nov 17
NCAAF
#321 Pittsburgh -6.5
#322 Wake Forest 61
12:00pm
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#381 TCU 53.5
#382 Baylor -2
12:00pm
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#415 Michigan State -1
#416 Nebraska 49
12:00pm
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#387 Arkansas
#388 Mississippi St
12:00pm
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#329 Northwestern 50.5
#330 Minnesota -2
12:00pm
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#349 Ohio State -14.5
#350 Maryland 58
12:00pm
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#347 Middle Tennessee State 45
#348 Kentucky -15.5
12:00pm
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#339 USF 60
#340 Temple -14
12:00pm
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#333 Penn State
#334 Rutgers
12:00pm
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#351 NC State -16
#352 Louisville 63.5
12:20pm
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#363 Utah -7
#364 Colorado 48.5
1:30pm
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#357 FIU -5.5
#358 Charlotte 48.5
2:00pm
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#365 Utah State
#366 Colorado State
2:00pm
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#367 Syracuse 62.5
#368 Notre Dame -10
2:30pm
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#371 UTSA
#372 Marshall
2:30pm
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#369 Georgia State
#370 Appalachian State
2:30pm
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#379 Nevada -14.5
#380 San Jose State 58
3:00pm
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#405 UL Monroe 64.5
#406 Arkansas State -8
3:00pm
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#391 Louisiana Tech 46.5
#392 Southern Miss -1
3:30pm
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#419 USC -3
#420 UCLA 55
3:30pm
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#411 Miami - FL -5.5
#412 Virginia Tech 51
3:30pm
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#407 Texas State
#408 Troy
3:30pm
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#399 Boston College -1.5
#400 Florida State 49
3:30pm
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#393 Bowling Green 50.5
#394 Akron -7
3:30pm
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#389 West Virginia -5.5
#390 Oklahoma State 71
3:30pm
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#345 Missouri -6
#346 Tennessee 56.5
3:30pm
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#335 Texas Tech -6
#336 Kansas State 57
3:30pm
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#327 Virginia 55
#328 Georgia Tech -5
3:30pm
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#325 Wisconsin 51
#326 Purdue -4
3:30pm
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#323 Iowa -14.5
#324 Illinois 59
3:30pm
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#383 Tulsa 53
#384 Navy -6
3:30pm
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#319 Indiana
#320 Michigan
4:00pm
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#341 UMass
#342 Georgia
4:00pm
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#355 Liberty
#356 Auburn
4:00pm
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#361 Air Force 41
#362 Wyoming -2.5
4:00pm
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#403 Oregon State
#404 Washington
4:30pm
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#343 Georgia Southern -7
#344 Coastal Carolina 53.5
5:00pm
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#409 South Alabama 62.5
#410 UL Lafayette -18
5:00pm
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#385 UAB 47
#386 Texas A&M -16.5
7:00pm
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#331 Duke
#332 Clemson
7:00pm
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#337 UConn 65
#338 East Carolina -16.5
7:00pm
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#373 Stanford -2
#374 California 45.5
7:30pm
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#395 Rice
#396 LSU
7:30pm
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#397 Ole Miss 66.5
#398 Vanderbilt -3
7:30pm
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#401 Kansas
#402 Oklahoma
7:30pm
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#413 UTEP 47.5
#414 Western Kentucky -6.5
7:30pm
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#353 Cincinnati 59
#354 UCF -7
8:00pm
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#417 Iowa State 51
#418 Texas -2.5
8:00pm
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#359 New Mexico State
#360 BYU
10:15pm
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#375 Arizona State 63
#376 Oregon -3.5
10:30pm
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#377 Arizona 60.5
#378 Washington State -10
10:30pm
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#421 San Diego State 44.5
#422 Fresno State -14
10:30pm
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#423 UNLV 66.5
#424 Hawaii -6.5
11:00pm
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NBA
#501 Los Angeles Clippers -6
#502 Brooklyn Nets 221
6:05pm
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#503 Los Angeles Lakers -5
#504 Orlando Magic 222
7:05pm
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#505 Atlanta Hawks 219
#506 Indiana Pacers -12
7:05pm
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#509 Philadelphia 76ers 226
#510 Charlotte Hornets -2
7:05pm
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#513 Sacramento Kings 218.5
#514 Houston Rockets -12
8:05pm
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#515 Toronto Raptors
#516 Chicago Bulls
8:05pm
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NCAAB
#523 William & Mary
#524 Notre Dame
12:00pm
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#543 Michigan
#544 George Washington
12:00pm
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#545 South Carolina
#546 Providence
2:30pm
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#521 Drexel
#522 La Salle
4:00pm
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#527 St. Louis
#528 Seton Hall
8:00pm
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NHL
#19 Edmonton 6
#20 Calgary -135
10:05pm
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Sunday, Nov 18
NFL
#451 Carolina Panthers -4.5
#452 Detroit Lions 50.5
1:00pm
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#453 Dallas Cowboys 47.5
#454 Atlanta Falcons -3
1:00pm
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#455 Cincinnati Bengals
#456 Baltimore Ravens
1:00pm
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#461 Tennessee Titans 47.5
#462 Indianapolis Colts -1
1:00pm
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#463 Houston Texans -3
#464 Washington Redskins 43
1:00pm
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#465 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 52
#466 New York Giants -1.5
1:00pm
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#471 Pittsburgh Steelers -5
#472 Jacksonville Jaguars 47.5
1:00pm
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#467 Denver Broncos 47
#468 Los Angeles Chargers -7
4:05pm
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#469 Oakland Raiders 41
#470 Arizona Cardinals -5.5
4:05pm
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#459 Philadelphia Eagles 54.5
#460 New Orleans Saints -8.5
4:25pm
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#457 Minnesota Vikings 45.5
#458 Chicago Bears -3
8:20pm
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Monday, Nov 19
NFL
#473 Kansas City Chiefs 63.5
#474 Los Angeles Rams -2.5
8:15pm
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