Vegas oddsmakers know their stuff, and rarely get these things wrong, but they may be overlooking the Dolphins in 2017.
The Vegas oddsmakers don’t believe the Miami Dolphins can build off of their success from 2016. In fact, by their latest predictions, they think the Dolphins will regress in Adam Gase‘s second season as head coach. With even lower expectations coming for the Bills and Jets, Vegas feels that winning the AFC East will be another walk in the park for New England.
Even though it seems a bit harsh to give the Dolphins just a 17 percent chance of winning the division, it’s hard to argue against. Coming off of their fifth Super Bowl title, the Patriots reign supreme until proven otherwise. They’ve won the AFC East for eight straight seasons, and 14 of the last 16. They don’t appear satisfied either as the Patriots have made some big moves this offseason to appear even better on paper going into next season.
The good news, however, is that if you are someone who is optimistic that Miami will be the ones to finally dethrone New England’s tenure atop the division this year then the odds are worth it. Getting 5/1 odds for winning the division is pretty good for any team, especially one that won 10 games last year. With little faith in the Dolphins winning the division, it’s not surprising that Vegas doesn’t think highly of them winning the AFC altogether. Tied with Cincinnati at 25/1 odds, the Dolphins are only projected ahead of five other teams in the conference.
It all relates back to the harsh reality of sharing the same division with New England. The road is simply much more difficult if you’re not winning your division. So again, these odds make sense even if we are to believe that the Dolphins are better than some of the teams projected ahead of them.
More from Dolphins News
- 4 offensive tackles Miami Dolphins could draft at 51
- Miami Dolphins don’t need CB help but these 5 could be available at 51
- 4 players that could replace Wilkins if Miami Dolphins don’t re-sign him
- Miami Dolphins have a starting point with Wilkins after Simmons deal
- The Miami Dolphins should not take a running back in the draft
Where I feel Vegas has it wrong, however, is their projected overall win total for Miami. According to their prediction of 7.5 wins, Vegas thinks a sophomore slump is in order for the Dolphins in Gase’s second year. They are simply not believing that they can build off of their 10-win season, and first playoff appearance in eight years.
The idea behind the oddsmakers prediction is that Miami exceeded their expectations in 2016. That with a tougher schedule the team will regress. I myself, admit that initially after their season was over, believed that the Dolphins could be in for a sophomore slump next year. However, I’ve retracted that belief after what I believe to be one of Miami’s strongest offseasons in quite some time.
First, they focused on retaining their own players. Sure, they may have overpaid for some but welcome to the new NFL. It’s not like the salary cap is getting any smaller. The moves they made showed that the Dolphins are starting to care about their own, and are not simply focused on throwing money at big time free agents. In addition, they used free agency to address some key areas of need.
Miami followed the first wave of free agency with what I believe to be an excellent draft class. With five of seven selections coming on the defensive side of the ball, the Dolphins understand that this side of the ball is where they need to drastically improve. Charles Harris was a home run pick in the first round, and Isaac Asiata in the fifth was a tremendous steal. Guard is the primary position on offense that Miami needs to improve, and they may have just selected a day one starter in the fifth round.
The Dolphins, of course, are not finished this offseason. They could still use some additional help at guard, and more importantly, must find a way to extend Jarvis Landry before the season begins. Work may still need to be done, but I’m not listening to some random ESPN grade. I’m giving the Dolphins an A grade thus far.
That’s why I think the 7.5 win total that Vegas has projected is fairly low. Worse Dolphins teams in the past have gone 8-8 so it’s easy to think that this team can at least accomplish that. If we are relating the toughness of the schedule to how teams performed last year, it does get tougher for Miami down the stretch. However, the start of the season could then be considered pretty favorable for the Dolphins.
With only a trip to Atlanta glaring out within the first seven games, Miami very well could start the season 6-1. The Dolphins would only need to win two more games the rest of the year in that case. I hate the term “easy money” because that’s never the case going against Vegas, but the risk is worth the reward here.