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Patriots vs. Dolphins and lessons from the biggest road favorites in NFL history | Sporting News

The Patriots and the Dolphins don’t just look like they are a game apart in the standings; after Week 1, the two teams looked leagues apart. 

New England steamrolled the AFC North favorite Steelers in Foxborough by a final score of 33-3. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson, a quarterback who’s generated much skepticism, looked more than serviceable under center in the Ravens’ 56-14 shellacking of Miami on Sunday. 

This Sunday, the two teams will meet in South Florida — and New England is poised for a heavy win, at least according to Vegas. The Patriots are 18.5-point favorites, according to Sportsbook Review, which would be the largest spread for a road team since 2007 when the Patriots were favored by 18.5 against the Ravens. It also would be tied for the second-largest spread for a road favorite all time.

Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, only 10 road teams have entered a game as at least 15-point road favorites, not including this year’s Patriots at Dolphins. Do teams cover?

MORE: Get the latest NFL odds at Sportsbook Review

Biggest road betting favorites in NFL history

Rank Date Away Home Spread Result Cover?
1 10/11/1987 San Francisco 49ers Atlanta Falcons -23.0 W 25-17 No
2 12/03/2007 New England Patriots Baltimore Ravens -18.5 W 27-24 No
3 10/11/1992 San Francisco 49ers New England Patriots -17.5 W 24-12 No
4 11/29/1992 Buffalo Bills Indianapolis Colts -16.5 L 16-13 No
5 12/17/2000 Tennessee Titans Cleveland Browns -16 W 24-0 Yes
6 11/18/2007 New England Patriots Buffalo Bills -16 W 56-10 Yes
7 10/21/2007 New England Patriots Miami Dolphins -15.5 W 49-28 Yes
8 10/25/2009 New England Patriots Tampa Bay Buccaneers -15.5 W 35-7 Yes
9 10/30/1994 Dallas Cowboys Cincinnati Bengals -15 W 23-20 No
10 12/17/2000 Baltimore Ravens Arizona Cardinals -15 W 13-7 No

Not very often. 

Teams favored by at least 15 points on the road are 4-6 against the spread, and one of those teams even took a loss. However, if there is any team to count on covering the spread, the Patriots seem to be that team.

New England has been a 15-point road heavy road favorite four times, twice as many as the next closest team, the 49ers. And of the four times a team covered, three of them were from New England. That includes a matchup in 2007 when the Patriots were favored by 15.5 points in Miami and won 49-28.

That 2007 campaign for New England saw the Patriots as road favorites of more than 15 points three times, and the Pats gave Vegas every reason to believe in them. New England finished the season undefeated in the regular season and did not take a loss until the Super Bowl against the Giants. 

UPSET ALERTS: Underdog picks with good odds to beat the books

There’s a lot of reasons to expect the Patriots to be able to cover that spread once again. For one, Dolphins’ players are not exactly excited to be playing in Miami right now, though Brian Flores is denying that report. Miami also traded away its best offensive lineman in Laremy Tunsil to the Texans, along with one of its top receivers in Kenny Stills.

And as previously mentioned, this is a defense that made Jackson look like one of the best passing quarterbacks in the league. He threw for 324 yards, completing 17 of 20 passes with five going for touchdowns. Then Robert Griffin III came in for a cleanup role and completed all six passes he attempted — one for a touchdown — for 55 yards. 

Now imagine instead of Jackson throwing passes, it’s Tom Brady. And instead of Marquise Brown, Willie Snead IV and Mark Andrews catching passes, it’s Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett. Perhaps Antonio Brown will be there, as well, though Brown has been accused of rape in a lawsuit filed this week and might not play Sunday.

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New England entered 2019 as the reigning Super Bowl champions, viewed by some as the favorite to win once again. Miami, meanwhile, is viewed as the favorite to win the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

This could in theory be a trap game for New England. The Patriots are favored heavily, the Dolphins just got embarrassed and might want redemption, Flores is a longtime Patriot assistant coach and Miami pulled off a wild upset against the Pats in the teams’ last meeting in Hard Rock Stadium.

But on paper, this should be a blowout by all accounts.

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