There’s likely to be a lot of public money backing the visitors heading into the Dolphins at Broncos pick. That’s with good reason, Miami is on a 5-game win streak while Denver is just 1-3 at Mile High Stadium this season. The Dolphins have two big road wins during this stretch (43-17 at SF, 34-31 at ARZ), can they make it three in a row?
Denver is a +4 home underdog on Sunday, up from a +1 open, the line climbing because Broncos starting QB Drew Lock will play through a rib injury suffered last week. The Broncos have lost 3 of 4 either way, and their only victory over that span required a big comeback vs. the Chargers.
Miami Finding Their Groove
The Dolphins are aiming to go to 4-0 with Tua Tagovailoa as their starting QB. The rookie out of Alabama seems to get better every week, throwing for just 93 yards against the Rams, but having 4 TD to 0 INT the last two games.
Miami should be able to find some offensive success in the Dolphins at Broncos pick since Denver is leaking on defense lately. Vic Fangio was supposedly brought over as a guru on that side of the ball but the Broncos have allowed 43, 30, 34, and 37 points the last four games. The Miami offense isn’t especially dynamic though, ranking 26th in passing and 28th in rushing. The betting total of 45.5 would give a lean towards the ‘under.’
The x-factor in Sunday’s contest is the Dolphins defense and special teams. If Lock does go for the Broncos, he’s coming off a 4-INT game vs. the Raiders. Miami beat the Rams by forcing 4 turnovers and returning a punt for a TD. The Broncos are last in the entire NFL with 21 giveaways.
How Can Denver Deliver the Upset?
Lock has thrown 10 INT over the last 5 games, so playing Sunday through an injury isn’t ideal for Denver. To make matters worse, the Broncos are likely without two major playmakers in Noah Fant (ankle) and Jerry Jeudy (ankle), or if they do play they’ll be at less than 100%.
Lock doesn’t get much help with his running game either, as Melvin Gordon had just 46 yards on 11 carries last week vs. the Raiders. Gordon had just 44 yards total on the ground in the two games prior and the Broncos backfield looks to be too jammed with Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman both struggling to get carries as well.
Of course it won’t matter much what the Broncos offense does against Miami if their defense doesn’t show improvement. Denver has allowed at least 30 points in four straight games, which has plummeted them to the 27th ranked scoring defense in the NFL.
Free Dolphins at Broncos Pick
Denver does have the edge of being at home on Sunday, but Miami missed any snow in what will be a perfect 49 degree day at Mile High Stadium. In their last two games the Broncos have fallen down 37-9 to the Chiefs and were trailing the Chargers 24-10 heading into the 4th quarter before a big comeback win.
The experienced Fangio will draw up a way to limit Tagovailoa’s effectiveness on Sunday, but at the same time Denver is going to struggle to put up points regardless of who is at QB. That ultimately leads to a lower scoring meeting.
Dolphins 20 – Broncos 17
Free Pick: Under 46