Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST.
LAS VEGAS +119 over Miami
8:00 PM EST. The Raiders' chances to make the playoffs all but disappeared after a ridiculous overtime loss to the Chargers last week. Las Vegas' FPI chances are now 0.8%. They can be eliminated with a loss to the Dolphins or a Ravens win.
The Dolphins can't clinch in Week 16, but they'll need a win in Las Vegas to ensure an advantageous position heading into Week 17. Miami is ahead at the moment because of a half-game lead in the conference-record tiebreaker. The Dolphins finish the season with two road games and it's very possible the Bills (next week’s opponent) will have nothing to play for in Week 17. Regardless, FPI doesn't like Miami's chances of holding off the Ravens and is putting the Fins' playoff chances at 35.9%.
Until a team is officially eliminated, motivation is high. The Raiders are not going to lie down but there are several reasons why they are worthy of a play here. First, there is an over-reaction to the loss of Derek Carr. Marcus Mariota steps in as the backup QB but we do not see that as a downgrade. Jon Gruden always liked Carr and publicly said so many times when he was on the air so he was not going to play Mariota over Carr at any point. Mariota came in last week and actually offered some confidence that the quarterback position is not going to be the reason that they lose games. He passed for 226 yards and ran for 88 more last week and was on target with most of his passes.
The narrative over the past three weeks in the NFL is, “What the fuck happened to the Steelers? Allow us to explain what happened to the Steelers. Fumbled balls stopped bouncing into their laps. Three weeks ago the Steelers led the NFL in turnover margin. When they lost to Washington to start their regression, The Football team didn’t turn it over. Pittsburgh fumbled twice v Washington and recovered twice. Luck was still on their side. One week later, the Steelers would turn it over twice against Buffalo in a 26-15 loss and last week they turned it over three times in a loss to Cincinnati. Enter the Miami Dolphins, who are now your league leader in turnover margin, which is precisely the reason they are winning football games. When Miami’s luck goes south, so, too, will their winning performances.
The Dolphins offense is garbage. The media will try and convince you that it is Miami’s defense that is winning them games but we’ll reiterate that there’s no such thing as a good defense anymore. There are only inept offenses. Miami’s “great” defense is predicated on them getting an extraordinary amount of balls bouncing in their favor (turnovers).
The last time Tua Tagovailoa played in a road game was when he was b̶e̶n̶c̶h̶e̶d̶ injured against Denver. He only threw 11-of-20 for 83 yards and the Dolphins lost that game 20-13 to a team that is currently 5-9. We could go through the Miami schedule and break down each win but that would be an exercise in futility. The Dolphins do not destroy or convincingly beat anyone, much like the Steelers were doing when they were winning frequently. They were down 30-10 to K.C. two weeks ago going to the fourth quarter. When they beat the Rams, Tua Tagovailoa passed for 93 yards while Jared Goff passed for 355 yards. When the Fish beat the Bolts, Tua Tagovailoa passed for 169 yards. The list of lucky wins and unimpressive performances goes on and on for the Dolphins and that puts us in a great position here to take back some great value against their misleading record. Raiders outright is the call.
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LAS VEGAS +119 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.38)