The Miami Dolphins whupped the Oakland Raiders in the first of three London games this season but this week, the Fish face a much higher caliber of opponent. Our handicapping team charts the NFL International history with SDQL notes and betting trends to consider
For a five-year stretch from 2007-11, close games were the order in four of five NFL matchups played overseas but this year the Dolphins became the third-straight team to win at Wembley by double-digits:
– 2012, the Pats won 45-7 over Tampa Bay (OV 47)
– 2013, San Francisco handled the Jaguars 42-10 (OV 40)
– 2014, Miami wins 38-14 over Oakland (OV 40.5)
New England over Tampa Bay, 35-7 in 2009 was the other blowout and there is clearly a separation between what the good and bad teams do with their seasons, post-London. Note: Every team gets a bye week following their trip across the pond
Pats, Wk 7, 2009, won 35-7 over Tampa Bay
After their bye, NE beat the Dolphins 27-17 (divisional home game) and scored 27-plus points for three-straight games post-London (2-1 SU/ATS). Two of those three games stayed under and from Wk 9 out, the Pats’ record was 3-7 O/U. Scoring avg’s were 24-22 in favor of the Pats and they made the playoffs, losing in the WC round to Baltimore.
Notable Trends: NE was 4-1 SU at home and 1-4 SU on the road after London. Four of five home games stayed under and the “Over” was the PO loss to BAL. NE trailed 24-0 after the first quarter. The Pats’ four regular season home games post-London they did not allow a single opponent to score more than 17 points.
WDWL: NE was a talented team. With home field, the offense could control football games and part of the strategy was to make life easier on their D. Longer drives gave the Patriot defenders plenty of time to rest up and maybe Belichick felt they needed the support following the long trip to London. The UN and the opponent TT UN were both solid bets in all Pat home games.
Pats, Wk 8, 2012, won 45-7 over St. Louis
After their bye, NE beat the Bills 37-31 (divisional home game) and they won five-straight, scoring 37-plus points in four of five. The only lower scoring Pats win during that run was a 23-16 divisional road win at Miami. NE had played five-straight overs before London and it went OV, too. After that, NE played three more overs before settling into a 3-3 O/U run.
Notable Trends: NE was 3-0 SU in road games after London (1-1-1 ATS) and during their seven home games (POs included), NE went 5-2 SU and 5-2 O/U. This was a really good Pats team. Before the playoff home loss to BAL, NE scored 28-plus points in six consecutive home games but they also gave up a lot of points.
WDWL: The best play for this high octane offense was to bet them “Over” at home (5-2 O/U). Games finished over by an avg of 9.7 PPG.
Niners, Wk 8, 2013, won 42-10 over the Jags
The win in London was San Fran’s fifth in a row SU/ATS but after their bye, San Fran lost two-straight. The first was a 10-9 home loss to Carolina and then they went to New Orleans, getting beat 23-20. Both those games stayed under and so did the next three. San Fran went 3-7-1 O/U after London overall.
Notable Trends: The Niners tried to lean on their defense in 2013 and although it wasn’t quite as intense as the 2011-12 versions, they were now getting more consistency from their offense. Following the loss to Carolina, SF scored between 19-27 points seven of nine times up until the playoff loss at Seattle. The two games they didn’t score in that range were blowout wins over the Bucs (4-12 SU) and Falcons (4-12 SU). San Fran did not allow a single opponent to score more than 24 points the last 11 games of the season (16.4 PPG).
WDWL: San Francisco were strong straight-up winners at home and away (3-1 and 5-2) but they were not a good bet at home. Harbaugh only played his games to win straight-up and he was confident in his D. If his team scored in the 20’s, they felt they had a good chance to win. On the road, they were a good bet because the lines were giving the opponent too much credit for home field. Note that since Jim Harbaugh took over (2011), the Niners have the best road record in football (21-9 SU, 70-percent) and 18-9-3 ATS (67-percent). Only six other teams have a winning straight-up record on the road since 2011.
San Fran’s scoring average on the entire season was 24-18 (42 points). The best possible post-London strategy was to wait for Niners games with a total greater than 41 and bet the under (3-7 O/U). Check this SDQL trend from SportsDatabase.com! And remember, the Niners two highest scoring games were against hapless NFC South teams. Against opponents with a WP greater than .333 the Niners went 1-6 O/U when the total was 41.5 or more.
The lesson we’re learning from these three teams, NE (2009 and 2012) and SF (2013) is that they played to their strengths. NE was a ball control team in 2009 and that led to unders and opponent TT unders. They weren’t a good bet ATS because the Pats are all too often overpriced. In 2012, NE fired up its offensive cannons every week. They were still overpriced but books couldn’t put a high enough number on this team, especially at home. San Fran was a model of consistency last year. You could pick your ATS spots on the road but home lines were too large. And when books gave the opposing team too much credit via a high total, the winning bet was on the under six of seven times.
Dolphins, Wk 4, 2014, won 38-14 over the Raiders
Miami does not look like a very good team so far in 2014. They scored 33, 10 and 15 points and had allowed 27.7 PPG on avg before Oakland. In Wk’s 2-3, Miami was held scoreless in the first quarter and their first three games, went to the break with 10, 0 and 3 points. Miami had not held a lead at half-time before London, getting outscored 14.3 to 4.3. The defenses Miami faced in Wk’s 1-3 were around average, factoring injuries and location into the mix, and the next two opponents are similar (Wk 6 vs. GB and Wk 7 at CHI).
Miami’s scoring average through four weeks is 24-24, a total of 48. If the opening line vs. GB was 47 or less, the “Over” would be considered a Best Bet. The NFL odds for this contest are actually Green Bay -2 and O/U 48, surprising drops from an opening line of -3 and O/U 49.
Green Bay is playing with extra rest off a Thursday nighter and teams in this spot at on a 38-17-2 O/U run (69-percent). The first-half line is Packers -.5 and O/U 24.5 and so far this season, the Pack has scored 16.4 first-half points through the first five weeks and they have a TD in four of five games. GB is coming off three-straight divisional games and teams in that spot are in the midst of a 7-0 SU/ATS run since mid-2012. It’s a situation that favors the over, even more so on the road (57-percent), and when the road team is favored they are a 58-percent play ATS.
We booked the Packers -3 for one unit early in the week and the softer line could be due to RB Knowshon Moreno’s status. He is likely to play. We also have a smaller play booked on the total going OVER 48 points and are adding a play on Green Bay -.5 in the first-half. Miami could end up making a statement in this game but with Mike McCarthy’s game planning and the Packers ability to execute on offense, look for the Green Team to be out front through 30 minutes.