NFL Betting: The Miami Dolphins Go from Big Underdogs to Big Favorites

Week 3 Waiver Wire

Myles Gaskin and the Miami Dolphins are suddenly in the favorite's role (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)

The Miami Dolphins are coming off a big 43-17 road win at San Francisco, and turn around this week and are a heavy favorite against the 0-5 New York Jets. Miami’s role reversal to a big favorite is particularly notable because they haven’t even been favored in a game since December of 2018 (when current Jets coach Adam Gase was still the coach in Miami).

So you might wonder how the Dolphins will handle this change in expectations. Will they have a let down now that they are expected to win? Is the victory over San Francisco the sign of a resurgence in South Beach?

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History of Big Swings from Underdog to Favorite

To see how other teams have done when making big week-to-week swings in the type of opponents, we looked at all games since 2000 where:

  • the team was favored by 7.5 or more points in the week in question; and
  • had been an underdog of 7.5 or more points in the previous week.

As it turns out, it’s pretty rare for this to happen. It has only occurred 26 other times in the last 20 years. Here’s the list in reverse chronological order.

YearTeamWeekN-1 SpreadN SpreadWeek N MarginATS Result
2019DEN1610-9.510W
2019CAR1310-10.5-8L
2019ATL1610.5-7.512W
2018NYG1710-7.5-1L
2018LAC47.5-10.52L
2016CIN77.5-11.514W
2014DET137.5-7.517W
2013SD1610-1013W
2013IND177.5-1120W
2013IND410.5-9.534W
2012TB149.5-8-2L
2012MIA1510.5-7.521W
2009SEA910-1112W
2009PIT139-14.5-3L
2009MIA1010.5-102L
2009CHI1310-9.58L
2009CAR179-1013W
2009BUF179-923W
2009ATL911-914W
2009ARI89-10-13L
2008DEN147.5-97L
2006NO157.5-10-6L
2006JAC97.5-9.530W
2005JAC157.5-14.51L
2004MIA169-7.53L
2004IND187.5-8.525W

These teams went 20-6 SU and 14-12 ATS.

If we were to divide the teams further (and given the small sample sizes, this likely leads to no strong angles), you could differentiate between those teams that were big underdogs, lost and failed to cover, but were still big favorites the next week, versus those that covered and then were big favorites.

  • Teams favored by 7.5 or more points, after failing to cover a spread where they were +7.5 or worse the previous week, went 10-0 SU and 7-3 ATS
  • Teams favored by 7.5 or more points, after covering a spread where they were +7.5 or worse the previous week, went 10-6 SU and 7-9 ATS

First-Time Favorites After Being Underdog Every Game the Year Before

What about, not only the size of the swing, but the length of time since being a favorite? Going all the way back to 1990, there have been 14 teams that were never favored in a season. Three of those did it in consecutive seasons (Cleveland 1999-2000, St. Louis 2008-2009, and Cleveland 2016-2017). Here were the results the first time those franchises were favored after those long droughts.

TeamYearWeekPoint SpreadATS Result
Cleveland200111-4W
Arizona200414-4L
Cleveland20183-3W
Philadelphia20002-3L
Oakland20154-3L
San Francisco20065-3W
Jacksonville19962-2.5L
St. Louis20108-2.5W
Tampa Bay20101-2.5W
Cincinnati199411-1W
San Francisco20167-1L

Those teams went 6-5 ATS, so no indication, in a small sample of similar games, that the team moving to a favorite role for the first time in a long time performed differently than other favorites.

Of course, the Miami situation is an extreme example. None of those other teams were close to as large as a favorite as the Dolphins are over the Jets (currently favored by 9.5 points).

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