As a stacked week 15 in the NFL regular season kicked off in Seattle last night, crunch time is approaching for many teams in the AFC and NFC.
This weekend features a showdown triple-header on Saturday, headlined by a monster AFC East clash as the Buffalo Bills welcome the Miami Dolphins to Highmark Stadium in a frigid Orchard Park.
A clash of the top two sides in the division, it’s Josh Allen versus Tua Tagovailoa and whilst the current top-seeded Bills are seeking a fifth win on the spin, the Dolphins come into this with successive road defeats in California to the 49ers and the Chargers.
With the Bills two wins ahead in the standings, a Miami win would still keep their own quest for the AFC East title alive, but this looks a tough assignment against the ever-improving Allen. And then there’s the matter of freezing temperatures and snow. Lots of it.
As much as four feet is forecast in the Buffalo area through the weekend, with kick-off conditions expected around -1 (30F) at 8.15pm ET (1.15am GMT).
The Bills are overwhelming favourites at a best price of 1/3 with QuinnBet and Betway. Why? The wintry conditions will surely impact an already inconsistent Tagovailoa. Despite throwing 260+ yards for six weeks in a row, the Alabaman collegiate struggled at Sofi on Sunday night with just 175 and will not be aided by the freezing conditions in the Empire State.
In the three years he has been with Miami, Tagovailoa – of Hawaiian birth and Samoan descent – has, unsurprisingly, not enjoyed the cold. Indeed, the four coldest games of his career with the Dolphins have all ended in defeat, with losses in Denver, twice here in Buffalo and a thumping loss in Nashville to the Titans. Extenuating team issues aside in those games, this weekend’s game looks set to his chilliest outing yet; Tua may be looking at a third away loss on the spin.
Nevertheless, this is a marquee, potential Championship warm-up and Tagovailoa will want to take a bite from the Orchard. For Both Allen and Tua to throw 275+ yards, a 6/1 bet is on with SkyBet.
If we’re looking at a handicap bet, Miami have lost by six and 10 in the last two, and their previous trip to New York saw defeat in week 5 by a sizeable 23 points at the Jets. Pundits are predicting a smash-up here so going -10.5 Bills at 7/5 with BoyleSports could be a nice earner.
Dolphin hopes have however, been given a huge boost with Tyreek Hill being given a clean bill of health. Having picked up an ankle at the weekend, Hill hobbled through but still managed 81 receiving yds and away from Hard Rock has 80+ in the last four outings.
Opposite number Stefon Diggs had his least receptions and least yards in a game against the Jets and also only recorded 48 to the Browns in his previous home game, however Diggs has over 100 receiving yards in the prior four games in Buffalo before that. For both to get 80+ receiving yards therefore, a 3/1 shot with SkyBet looks a decent play.
Miami may look to their rushing game and Raheem Mostert looks a prime candidate to test the Bills’ defence. The Dolphins’ RB is nicely priced at 7/4 with Betfred to score a TD.
Finally, from a points view, a snow game could go either way. Over 47.5 points at 3/2 with SkyBet might appeal, but with less than 35 points coming in Buffalo’s last two games, playing it a bit safer – if an unlikely outcome – under 41 points with Ladbrokes at 11/8 is another option.