The Miami Dolphins opened the 2021 NFL season with a 1-7 record. They then proceeded to go 8-1 over their final nine games to get to nine wins on the season. They just narrowly missed the playoffs after suffering the same feat in 2020, when ten wins wasn't enough to get them into the dance. Miami has been competitive these past few seasons, but it hasn't been enough.
The team fired head coach Brian Flores in a highly controversial move early in the offseason. However, new head coach Mike McDaniel brings some excitement as a disciple of the Mike Shanahan coaching tree, a tree that has helped influence his son Kyle as well as Sean McVay, Zac Taylor, Matt LaFleur, Robert Saleh, Kevin Stefanski, Kevin O'Connell and others. In addition to a new coach, the Dolphins bought in Tyreek Hill in what was one of the biggest splashes of the offseason. They improved their running back room, improved their offensive line and added Melvin Ingram on defense.
With all of these moves, the clock begins ticking on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Despite this being his third season, it's fair to say it's still too early to make a definitive judgement on him. He has dealt with some injuries, he's had to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jacoby Brissett take too many snaps over the last two seasons and the talent around him wasn't great. It was also rather obvious that Flores didn't trust his young quarterback. Now, with an improved team around him and an offensive-minded young coach supporting him, Tagovailoa needs to take a big step forward. The Dolphins' season likely rests on whether he can do just that. If he can't, the Dolphins might be in the market for a new franchise quarterback next offseason.
Yahoo's Frank Schwab has the Dolphins ranked 20th in his preseason power rankings. The betting market seems to be a little higher on the Dolphins. After losing their 2023 first round pick due to tampering, the pressure to win now is there.
Dolphins expected to compete for the playoffs
The Miami Dolphins won nine games last year and ten games the season prior to that. Despite a more talented roster entering the season this year, their preseason win total is set at just 8.5 wins. A lot of people believe that Brian Flores helped this team to overachieve the last few seasons, so that's part of the reason. In addition, the AFC is loaded with teams that can compete for a playoff spot. Unless you're a Texans fan, there's hope entering the season if you're a fan of an AFC team.
Bettors aren't buying the idea that this improved Dolphins' roster is going to take a step backwards, though. Currently at BetMGM, 77% of bets and 93% of the money is backing Miami to go over 8.5 wins and secure a winning season. The Dolphins are the fifth most popular over bet amongst all win totals.
The Dolphins are -165 favorites to miss the playoffs in the AFC this season, odds which suggest they miss the playoffs over 62% of the time. This is another area where bettors disagree with the market as 83% of bets and 93% of the money is on Miami to make the playoffs at +135 odds.
Miami is +475 to win the AFC East this season, a feat they last accomplished in 2008 when Tom Brady tore his ACL in Week 1. Those odds are tied for second best in the division with the Patriots, well behind the Bills who are -225 favorites to win the division. Miami is currently the second most popular bet to win the division behind the Bills. The Dolphins are getting 27.6% of bets. However, the oddsmakers still view the Dolphins and Patriots as equals. Both teams are -115 to finish top-2 in the division. Both teams are also +175 to finish in second place and +135 to finish in third place.
If you're not as bullish on Miami as the majority of bettors, an interesting way to fade them would be to bet the Dolphins to start the season 0-4. There's +500 odds available on that happening. They face a tough start to their schedule as they host the Patriots and Bills and visit the Bengals and Ravens in the first four weeks. The Week 1 game against New England might be the most winnable of the bunch.
Miami is a Super Bowl long shot
Miami hasn't won a Super Bowl since 1973 and the oddsmakers don't expect that to change this season. The Dolphins are currently 40-to-1 to win the Super Bowl. Those odds are tied for 16th best with five other teams: the Raiders, Patriots, Vikings, Saints and Titans. The Dolphins are currently the 12th most popular Super Bowl bet at BetMGM, getting 2.6% of the betting action. That's slightly less than the Ravens and slightly more than the Eagles.
The Dolphins are similar long shots to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Miami is 22-to-1 to win the conference. Those odds are tied for 10th best with the Patriots and Raiders. Miami is receiving 5.1% of the betting action in this market, making them the ninth most popular bet in the conference.
Dolphins player props for 2022
What does the betting market think of Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and some other key Dolphins' players?
Tua Tagovailoa is 50-to-1 to take a massive step forward this season and be named NFL MVP. Those odds are the same odds as Kirk Cousins, Mac Jones and Jonathan Taylor. Tua is receiving 1.9% of bets, making him the 13th most popular MVP bet in the league.
Tagovailoa is 25-to-1 to lead the NFL in passing yards this season. Those odds are 12th best and just behind Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. If that feels a little high for Tua, that's because it probably is. He finished 27th in yards last season. The Dolphins quarterback is 40-to-1 to lead the league in passing touchdowns. Those odds are tied for 13th best with Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson. He finished 23rd in the category last season.
Tagovailoa's passing props for the upcoming season are set at 3949.5 yards, 25.5 passing touchdowns and 12.5 interceptions. Tua might be one of the more volatile quarterbacks to project as he's never played a full season, has never had weapons this good and has never had an offensive coach who seems to trust him. These totals are much higher than anything he's ever reached, but there's certainly reason to believe he can hit them.
While Tua might be hard to predict this upcoming season, his new weapon in Tyreek Hill might be even harder to gauge. Hill is projected to suffer a serious downgrade at quarterback, and while he was solid before Patrick Mahomes' arrival in Kansas City, he didn't take off as an elite weapon until he linked up with Mahomes.
Hill is currently 18-to-1 to lead the NFL in receiving, 20-to-1 to lead the NFL in receptions and 22-to-1 to lead the NFL in touchdowns. Those odds are all in the top 10 amongst receivers across the league. Hill finished top-10 in all three categories last season, but we'll see how his talents translate to his new team.
Hill's props for the upcoming season are set at 80.5 receptions, 999.5 receiving yards and 8.5 receiving touchdowns. He had 111 receptions, 1239 yards and nine touchdowns last season. His career averages over six seasons are 80 receptions, 1105 yards and 9.3 touchdowns. Four of those seasons were with Mahomes, but two were prior to his arrival.
Jaylen Waddle was outshined by Ja'Marr Chase, but Waddle had a tremendous rookie season in his own right. However, with Hill's acquisition, he's no longer the No. 1 option on this team and oddsmakers are projecting a bit of stagnation from Waddle. His props for the upcoming season are set at 85.5 receptions, 904.5 receiving yards and 5.5 receiving touchdowns. He had 104 grabs for 1015 yards and 6 scores last season. Waddle is 25-to-1 to lead the NFL in receptions, a category he finished 8th in last season.
The running backs
As a disciple of Kyle Shanahan, it should be no surprise that Mike McDaniels is employing a committee of running backs that appears impossible to figure out for betting and fantasy football purposes. Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds and Sony Michel were bought in during the offseason. Myles Gaskin, who was the No. 1 back in Miami last season, is still on the roster as well.
Oddsmakers aren't sure what to do either. There are no season long props available for any of them. However, if you want to take a stab in the dark, both Edmonds and Mostert are 80-to-1 to lead the NFL in rushing this upcoming season. Michel is 100-to-1. It's usually a very running back friendly system, but it's impossible to predict.
Other Dolphins' players
Mike Gesicki posted 73 receptions for 780 yards and two touchdowns last season. His props for the upcoming season are set at 55.5 receptions, 574.5 receiving yards and 4.5 touchdowns. While some positive touchdown regression is expected, these totals suggest that the increase in competition for targets will negatively impact Gesicki. He's also had a very quiet training camp.
Xavien Howard has led the league in interceptions twice and posted five picks last season. His season-long prop for interceptions is set at 4.5 picks.
Mike McDaniel is 20-to-1 to win NFL Coach of the Year. Those are tied for the 8th best odds with Nick Sirriani, Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur and Frank Reich.
Dolphins are favored in Week 1
Miami opens the season at home with a divisional matchup against the New England Patriots. Miami is a 2.5-point favorite to open the season. The Dolphins are -145 on the moneyline if you don't want to deal with the points.
These two teams met twice last season with the Dolphins winning both times. Miami went into Foxboro Week 1 of last season and pulled off the win as an underdog. The venue and roles are reversed this time, but Miami is hoping for a similar result.