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Playing through the turmoil of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito scandal, The Miami Dolphins (4-5, 2-2 home, 4-5 ATS) return home to face the San Diego Chargers (4-5, 2-3 away, 5-3-1 ATS) at 4:25 EST on Sunday. Miami has lost 5 of their last 6 games and is exiting a 22-19 loss to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. San Diego ran into the buzz saw that is Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last week, losing at home 28-20.
The line on this game opened at 1 with the visiting Chargers as a slight favorite at 5 dimes sportsbook. They have taken 92% of the action at the time of this writing. The total on this game opened at 45.5 points and has yet to move. The public is favoring the OVER at 74%. The total has gone OVER in 16 of San Diego's last 23 games on the road. The total has gone OVER in 6 of Miami's last 8 games. The betting percentages are from sportsbook.com, which you can view on all sports by opening an account there.
Injuries are hurting the Dolphins and the team could be without CB Dimitri Patterson (4 INTs) and LB Koa Misi (32 COMB). LB Dannell Ellerbe (66 COMB, 1 INT) is probable for Sunday's game. Chargers LB Larry English (18 COMB) was placed on the Injured-Reserve list after sustaining a bicep injury against the Broncos one week ago.
The Miami Dolphins need second year QB Ryan Tannehill (2,206 YDs, 13 TDs, 10 INTs) to kick start his play and lead this offense to better production. He has looked very good at times and only mediocre at others. He has hit seven different targets to find the end zone this year. WRs Brian Hartline (534 YDs, 2 TDs) and Charles Clay (384 YDs, 3 TDs) are among his favorite options.
RB Lamar Miller (450 YDs, 4.5 AVG, 2 TDs) figures to have a better game after being stifled in Tampa Bay for 2 YDs on 7 carries. Before that, he got 105 YDs while taking the ball 16 times against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Miami defense allows 238 YPG through the air, which makes them 16th best in the NFL against the pass. They are giving up 119.1 YPG on the ground, which ranks them 25th in the NFL against the run.
The Chargers will look to QB Philip Rivers (105.9 RAT, 2,691 YDs, 18 TDs, 7 INTs) to get the ball rolling on offense. The 10 year NFL veteran from North Carolina State leads the NFL in completion percentage at 71.6% and makes few mistakes. However, he has only one multi-TD game in his last five. He will have to start executing better in the red zone with targets like TE Antonio Gates (612 YDs, 2 TDs), WR Eddie Royal (377 YDs, 7 TDs) and WR Keenan Allen (568 YDs, 3 TDs). Rivers keys this team's offensive attack, which is the 4th best in the league and they are capable of scoring many more points.
RBs Ryan Matthews (539 YDs, 4.1 AVG, 2 TDs) and Danny Woodhead (220 YDs, 1 TD) will key the Chargers running attack. Woodhead is a double threat as he also has 53 catches for 408 YDs and 4 TDs. RB Ronnie Brown (119 YDs, 1 TD) is also available.
The Chargers defense has been exposed at times. They are susceptible to a good passing team, giving up 279.6 YPG through the air. That makes their pass defense 28th in the NFL. It doesn't get much better against the run; they rank 20th at 114.6 YPG.
When taking into account season to date stats, this game comes up as a toss up. But one of the things we do with our score prediction model, is we run it with not only season to date stats, but more recent parameters as well. For example, when we run this game using season to date stats, it comes up a 23-23 tie. However when running it using only the last 4 games, it comes up 22-17 Chargers. The prediction using the last 4 games obviously reflects the recent turmoil surrounding the Dolphins.
We really don't like this game, but if we had to pick a side, we'd go with the Chargers. San Diego -1
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