MIAMI DOLPHINS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Rare that a Week 1 game having playoff implications, but in a game where both teams appear to be battling for 2nd place in the AFC East, getting an early advantage could be hugely important. 

The Patriots have seemingly taken their breakup with Tom Brady pretty hard whilst he and his new beau got to celebrate under the confetti in February, Bill Belichick and his team were on the outside looking in on the post-season dance. They reacted with a spending spree in FA, giving the most guaranteed money to Free Agents in NFL history. And after spending all that money, they then went out and got themselves a new model. Mac Jones became the first QB Bill Belichick has ever taken in the first round and the former Alabama passer beat out former MVP Cam Newton for the starting job, leading to Newton becoming a FA. I expect the offense to be better this year with the new additions, but this is still a team predicated on a strong defense with returning talent in Dont’a Hightower & Kyle Van Noy adding experience to the defense, whilst new Patriot, Matthew Judon is a perfect fit for a Belichick defense. 

Miami were unlucky to miss out on a playoff spot last year, winning 10 games and finishing 2nd in the division. Tua Tagovailoa will take the reigns solely this year after a complicated year 1 with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting the year before being benched in the bye week to then be used as Tua’s relief pitcher through the rest of the year. The additions of speedsters Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller tell you that Brian Flores wasn’t happy with his pass-catchers big-play ability in 2020, whilst first-round pick, Jaelan Phillips from Miami should help an already impressive defense get to the passer. 

I can see this game being a defensive struggle, both HC’s are defensive coaches and know each other very well. Both games last year were low scoring affairs and I like Total Match Points to be under 40 again. 

Spread: Patriots -3.5

Total Match Points line: O/U 43.0

Game Prediction: Patriots 24 – 14 Dolphins

Best Bet: Under 39.5 Total Points @ 6/4 with SkyBet. [0.5]

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