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Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins Point Spread - Pick

Buffalo Bills (8-7 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (6-9 SU, 5-8-2 ATS)
Week 17 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: BUF -3/MIA +3
Over/Under Total: 43

The Buffalo Bills come to Hard Rock Stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins in a key week 17 AFC East battle. On Sunday, the Bills fell to the Patriots, putting themselves behind the eight-ball as far as getting into the playoffs in concerned. Miami, meanwhile, fell on the road to Kansas City on Sunday, 29-13. After two straight road games, they get their finale at home, with their best-case scenario being a 7-9 season. One of those road games was at Buffalo, where the Bills posted a 24-16 win. Midway through the 4th quarter, the Bills were up 24-6 before Miami added a few late scores to make it look less like the butt-kicking it really was. Miami hopes for better in this matchup, with turnovers, penalties, and a lackadaisical offense contributing to the loss a few weeks ago.

Buffalo needs to win this game and get some help. Basically there are two different scenarios where the Bills can get in and they both involve them beating Miami. Either the Chargers and the Titans need to lose. Or the Ravens need to lose. It's not a great path to the postseason, but it shows that Buffalo has hung in there well this season. A promising 5-2 start evaporated into a bad run of games. But in winning three of four entering last week's game against the Pats, they were able to keep from free-falling, as they enter week 17 with something to still fight for. They've been pelted with injuries and different personnel issues and are still fighting under first-year head coach Sean McDermott.

On Sunday, Buffalo had a TD reversed in controversial fashion that could have thrown a new light on the game. Tyrod Taylor wasn't bad with 281 yards through the air. He worked well with Deonte Thompson and Kelvin Benjamin, who had the overruled TD. This week, they hope to get a good showing from LeSean McCoy, who has shown he hasn't petered-out late in the season after rushing for 71 yards and having 76 receiving yards against New England. While a nice rushing-game was sprung this season for the Bills, their lack of a cohesive aerial game has been costly, as they're ranked dead-last in the league in that area.

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Buffalo's defense has melted a bit over the course of the season. What started as a stout defense became shakier over the year. In the second-half of the season, a handful of teams have been able to have offensive frenzies against this bunch. Last week was one of those cases, but two weeks ago, they were good enough to keep Miami's offense in knots for most of the game. Still, their run-defense has been really awful and likely as a result, the secondary has had to pick up the slack. They can still make a lot of plays, as Tre'Davious White, Jordan Poyer, and Micah Hyde have combined for 13 picks. They can score and make big things happen, though their stoutness hasn't been tip-top. They have a plus-8 in turnover ratio.

The Dolphins just couldn't make it click this season. While it seemed they made a good move in getting Jay Cutler, the loss of Ryan Tannehill hurt more than we suspected. And with their first game getting postponed, they seem to be weary having not had a break since week 1, which was hardly restful. With the injuries, natural disasters, and other personnel issues, things just never lined up well for the 'Fins this season in what was supposed to be a good season. Can they play the role of spoiler in this matchup? Seven losses in their last 9 games is not a ringing endorsement.

The Miami offense has not taken flight. Jay Cutler has not had a good year with his 19/14 TD-to-INT ratio. Making it really hard is the lack of a run-game. While Kenyan Drake has been doing well after being thrust into the starting RB role, it's a part of the game that has failed to really register. Through the air, it's been more disappointment. Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills are unquestionably good receivers, but DeVante Parker hasn't been very effective. All in all, it's been a pretty pedestrian group this season.

From a yardage standpoint, the Miami defense has been pretty average. But they are still 28th in the league in points allowed. The number of big plays from this group has been fairly minimal. They can't really generate a steady pass-rush and haven't gotten much in that area outside of DE Cameron Wake. They have difference-makers on this side of the ball, with DT Ndamukong Suh, LB Kiko Alonso, and S Reshad Jones and CB Xavien Howard, but they haven't been a team-asset this season for the most part.

While Buffalo is still vaguely in the playoff mix, this could still be a tough divisional game this week. Buffalo is nowhere near being bankable enough to the point where you can count on them romping in this spot. By the same token, I sense that Miami might be a bit eager in awaiting that finish line to a season that has served up nothing but helping after helping of disappointment. I see the Bills getting the win and cover at Hard Rock on Sunday.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Buffalo Bills minus 3 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and bet the Buffalo vs. Miami game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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