With the Patriots coming off a 33-3 blowout win over the Steelers and the Dolphins coming off a 49-point loss to the Ravens, oddsmakers in Las Vegas are basically expecting Sunday's game to turn into a bloodbath, and the betting public seems to agree.
When the early odds for this game were released on Sept. 8, the Patriots. Over the past five days though, the public has been hammering the Patriots, which has led the point spread to shoot up to 18.5 points at most sports books. If that's where the line ends up closing, it would make the Patriots tied as the third biggest road favorite in NFL history.
In a weird coincidence, the Patriots have actually been the favored team in three of the four games where a road team was favored by 18.5 or more points.
Here's a look at three largest point spreads in NFL history where the road team was favored. (One thing to keep in mind here is that due to variances in points spreads at the different sports books in Vegas, there's no "official" record, but these are believed to be the highest points spreads where a road team is favored in the Super bowl era.)
T-3. Patriots at Dolphins (2019)
T-3. Patriots at Ravens (2007)
Point spread: Patriots, -18.5 in both games
NE-MIA: The Dolphins sound open to trading away all of their players and the Patriots are trying to win a Super Bowl, so it's no surprise that Sunday's game has such a monstrous point spread.
NE-BAL: This game was played in 2007 when the Patriots finished 16-0, which was a year where they were basically favored to win big every game that they played, including this Week 13 matchup against the Ravens.
Although the Patriots went into this game with an 11-0 record, it was somewhat surprising that they were favored by 18.5 points, and that's because the game was being played in Baltimore on a Monday night. The 3-8 Ravens led for most of the game and almost pulled off a monumental upset before Tom Brady stepped in to keep New England's undefeated season alive.
With just 44 seconds left to play, Brady hit Jabar Gaffney with an eight-yard touchdown pass that gave New England a 27-24 win, but that wasn't even where the drama ended. Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller actually hit Mark Clayton with a 52-yard Hail Mary on the final play of the game. The only problem for the Ravens is that they needed 55 yards to get to the end zone, and since they didn't have a timeout, the game ended with Clayton being tackled at the 3-yard line.
Verdict: Patriots win, but don't cover.
2. Patriots at Buccaneers (1976)
Point spread: Patriots, -21
Before the 0-16 Browns of 2017 and the 0-16 Lions of 2008, there was the 1976 Buccaneers, who will likely go down as the worst team in NFL history. In their regular season finale against the Patriots, not only did the Bucs go into the game with an 0-13 record, but no one on the team really wanted to be playing football anymore, at least according to defensive end Pat Toomay.
"By the time we got to the last game of the season, we had so many injuries that we didn't feel we had much of a chance," Toomay said, via NFL.com. "Everybody was so sick of the season that they showed up packed and ready to get out of town. It looked like a bunch of Okies fleeing the Dust Bowl. ... I was living in Dallas at the time, and I know my goal was to be out of the state by midnight."
The Patriots were 10-3 at the time and headed for the postseason, which is a big reason why they were a 21-point favorite. Early in this game, it actually looked like the Bucs were going to pull off a huge upset as they shot out to a 14-7 halftime lead. However, they didn't end up scoring any points for the rest of the game and they ended up losing 31-14.
Verdict: Patriots win, but don't cover.
Point spread: 49ers, -23
This point spread record might not ever be broken, and that's because there were special circumstances involved when the 49ers traveled to Atlanta for this Week 4 game that pretty much everyone expected to be a blowout. The reason no one thought the Falcons had a chance of winning is because this game was played during the strike year of 1987.
The NFL season started with replacement players, and by the time Week 4 rolled around, the Falcons roster still basically consisted only of replacement players. On the other hand, multiple 49ers starters -- including Joe Montana, Roger Craig and Dwight Clark -- decided they were going to cross the picket line and play in this game. Basically you had the Super Bowl-winning nucleus of the 49ers going up against scabs.
The 49ers ended up shooting out to a 20-0 lead in this game, before hanging on for a 25-17 win in a game that was played in front of less than 9,000 fans.
Verdict: 49ers win, but don't cover.
If you're gambling on Sunday's game, one thing to keep in mind here is that road teams are 0-3 against the spread when favored by 18.5 points or more.
(Wink of the CBS Eye to Pro-Football-Reference for the point spreads)