The Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints will wrap up Week 16 in the NFL with a head-to-head matchup on "Monday Night Football." COVID-19 has hit the league particularly hard over these last few weeks and the Saints were no exception. In this game, Sean Payton will be starting rookie quarterback Ian Book after both Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. This comes at a particularly inopportune time as New Orleans is still fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the NFC. As for the Dolphins, they are still in the hunt in the AFC and are coming into Week 16 with six straight wins.
In this space, we'll specifically be looking at the different betting angles that this matchup has on deck for us. We'll be taking a look at how the lines have shifted throughout the week leading into Monday night and, of course, give you our picks for this game along with a handful of our favorite player props.
All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
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New Orleans initially opened as a 3.5 point favorite, but that number did go down following the results of Week 15 to Saints -3. Once the COVID-19 news started to surface, however, this line essentially flipped. It quickly turned to Dolphins -1.5 on Thursday and has since grown to a full field-goal advantage for Miami.
The pick: Dolphins -3. Miami's six-game winning streak is admittedly not as impressive as it is at first glance, especially when you look at the teams they were beating up on. That said, the Saints are starting a rookie quarterback on relatively short notice who has never played a meaningful NFL snap in his life. The Dolphins defense is No. 12 in the NFL in DVOA, so this won't exactly be smooth sledding for Ian Book as he makes his debut. Over the last six weeks, Miami is allowing the second-fewest yards per play (4.4) and the fifth-lowest passing yards per game (184). The Dolphins also have an ATS win under their belt this season as a road favorite.
Key trend: Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games.
The total was already pretty low to begin with as it opened at 41, but it has since taken a nosedive with a rookie quarterback set to be under center for New Orleans. This number fell as low as 36.5 before recovering slightly on Monday where it sits at 37.
The pick: Under 37. This is a remarkably low number, but it makes sense when you factor in New Orleans starting a virtual unknown at quarterback. The Dolphins will likely sell out to stop Alvin Kamara and force Ian Book to make some plays. If he can't, there are really no other avenues for the Saints to put up points. Meanwhile, Miami also hasn't lit up the scoreboard on the road this season either, averaging 19.5 points per game. When you have those nuggets on each offense in mind along with the Saints and Dolphins defenses raking No. 4 and No. 12 in DVOA, points will likely be hard to come by on Monday night.
Key trend: Under is 4-0 in Saints last four games.
Tua Tagovailoa props
- Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over +105, Under -135)
- Passing yards: 231.5 (Over -115, Under -115)
- Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -110, Under -120)
Even with all the Saints issues, this secondary has been able to keep quarterbacks from throwing the football all around the field. Dating back to Week 10, New Orleans has only allowed opposing quarterbacks to pass over this current yardage prop for Tagovailoa once (Josh Allen, Week 12). Over this stretch, the Saints are giving up roughly 196 passing yards per game. Meanwhile, Tagovailoa has gone under this total in two of his last three games played.
Ian Book props
- Passing touchdowns: 0.5 (Over -190, Under +155)
- Passing yards: 182.5 (Over -105, Under -125)
- Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -180, Under +150)
- Longest passing completion: 31.5 (Over -120, Under -110)
- Rushing yards: 25.5 (Over -115, Under -115)
When you're looking at a fourth-string quarterback making his NFL debut under hectic circumstances, betting the Over on whether or not he'll throw a pick is always worth a look. Miami isn't the most opportunistic group in terms of interceptions this season, but they do have 11 of them on the year, which is enough to feel confident in this bet.
Player props to consider
Alvin Kamara total receiving yards: Over 24.5 (-115). With Book under center, the Saints will look to get the ball out of the rookie's hands quickly and into the arms of their best-skill position player. Kamara should see plenty of work in the passing game and has gone over this number in six of his 10 games played this season. Miami has defended receiving backs well as of late, but the amount of volume and talent that Kamara possesses has me leaning Over.
Jason Sanders total field goals made: Over 1.5 (-120). New Orleans holds opponents out of the end zone better than any team in the NFL. They are allowing opponents to score a touchdown on just 43.5% of their red-zone trips (lowest in the NFL). That number is even lower (20%) over their last three games. So while Miami may be able to move the ball some, this could be a game where they're kicking with Sanders, who has hit multiple field goals in three of his last five games.