Miami Dolphins NFL Betting Preview: It’s Tua Tagovailoa Time

Posted on: August 27, 2020, 05:28h. 

Last updated on: August 27, 2020, 10:50h.

Last season, as the rebuilding Miami Dolphins lost one game after another, “Tank for Tua” became a slogan among both fans hungry to draft Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and NFL observers dubious of the Dolphins’ intent to win games.

Tua Tagovailoa
After qualifying for the playoffs twice in 18 years, the Dolphins hope Tua Tagovailoa can turn around the fate of the franchise. (Image; Rhona Wise/USA TODAY Sports)

Then, a funny thing happened. After an 0-7 start, the Dolphins, under first-year coach Brian Flores, started winning.

At the same time, a not-so-funny thing happened. Tagovailoa suffered a hideous hip injury against Mississippi. At the time, doctors weren’t sure if Tagovailoa would ever play again.

While Miami finished 5-11 to earn the fifth pick of the draft, successful surgery saved Tagovailoa’s career. With the stars in alignment, the Dolphins selected what they hope is the franchise quarterback they’ve lacked since Dan Marino retired two decades ago.

With just one winning record over the past decade, the turnaround won’t happen overnight. Miami is +8,000 to win the Super Bowl at DraftKings and FanDuel and +10,000 elsewhere.

Over/Under: 6 Wins

Tagovailoa is battling veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job. While he’s a journeyman on his eighth team, Fitzpatrick isn’t going to fade quietly into the background. He went 5-8 as the starter last season with 3,529 passing yards. With Tampa Bay in 2018, he led the NFL in yards per passing attempt.

The Dolphins have been viewed by the general public (average gambler) as a team that’s on the rise this year. I don’t see much here,” Ed Salmons, the vice president of risk management and oddsmaking at Westgate SuperBook, told

“I don’t think Tua will play unless they start the year out really bad on offense, or they are losing lots of games. Right now, the Dolphins would play to a higher power rating number with Fitzpatrick than Tua.”

In the AFC East, Buffalo is a slight favorite as New England adapts to life without Tom Brady. As is the case for the division crown, sportsbooks see a two-horse race for last place.

The shortest odds on Miami winning the East can be found at William Hill, where it’s +750 vs. +800 for the Jets. The longest odds are at PointsBook, where the Dolphins and Jets are +875 to win the division.

The consensus over/under for wins is 6.0; SuperBook is -135 on the over and +115 on the under. DraftKings is the outlier, with an over/under of 6.5 wins (-150 on the over; +123 on the under).

Miami’s Mediocrity

The Dolphins are a long way away from being a playoff contender. The past three seasons, they’ve finished 25th or worse in points scored and 27th or worse in points allowed.

Enter Tagovailoa, who threw 87 touchdowns vs. just 11 interceptions in three seasons at Alabama. He is +800 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at most sportsbooks; BetMGM is the outlier at +1,400.

Whoever earns the job at quarterback, the only legit weapon is receiver DeVante Parker, who caught 72 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns last season. The running game might have been the worst in NFL history. The 37-year-old Fitzpatrick led the team with 243 rushing yards. Enter Jordan Howard (3,895 yards in four seasons) and Matt Breida (5.0 average in three seasons).

There could be six new starters on defense. Cornerback Byron Jones, pass rusher Shaq Lawson, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy signed in free agency, and the first three draft picks were used on cornerback Noah Igbinoghene (first round), defensive lineman Raekwon Davis (second round), and safety Brandon Jones (third round).

Editor’s Note: This is the 15th of 32 NFL team previews and the third of four on the AFC East.