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Miami Dolphins vs. Los Angeles Chargers Point Spread - Pick

Miami Dolphins (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Week 2 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 4:05PM EST
Where: StubHub Center, Carson, California
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: MIA +4.5/LAC -4.5
Over/Under Total: 45

The Miami Dolphins come to the south LA enclave of Carson on Sunday to face the Los Angeles Chargers in week two AFC action from the StubHub Center. This will be the Chargers' debut in this building, which will serve as an interim stadium until the big dual-team building is completed in Inglewood. For the Dolphins, this will be their 2017 regular season debut, after seeing their first game against Tampa postponed to week 11 because of Hurricane Irma concerns. San Diego is coming off the short week, following a tough road loss against Denver on MNF, 24-21. After being dominated for three quarters, the Chargers staged a big rally and only a blocked FG late prevented them from tying the game.

Miami faces a daunting task of having to play 16 straight regular season games without a break. That's something that could manifest badly, but for the purposes of this game, they might be shot out of a cannon after being held back in week one. Miami is a team that really flourished last season after a 1-4 start, ending up at 10-6. They were eager to further that momentum and after having to wait an extra week, they should be prepared to put forth a high-energy effort. It also doesn't hurt that because of the hurricane, they will spend the whole week in LA getting ready. True, they're out of their element, but they'll also be facing a less-daunting road trip under more restful conditions.

The events of week one are just another hurdle for the Dolphins. They came back from the abyss last season. They lost their QB just as the playoffs loomed, and then lost Tannehill against in August. That forced them to come up with a rabbit in the hat. And while Jay Cutler's stock isn't super-high after seeing his form depreciate in Chicago, followed by a brief retirement, they stil got a quality QB. Looking at it now, it seems they did pretty well considering the direness of their conditions. Cutler could very well leave them intact on offense and he could even serve as an upgrade if he's refreshed by being on a team on the rise.

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The Dolphins' offense has reason for optimism. They found their number-one back last season with Jay Ajayi showing flashes of being a big-time running back. In addition, they have a receiving crew that might lack star-power, but is an underrated and effective package of ball-catchers. Ajayi could use a lot more consistency. In 2016, he had a handful of huge games, sandwiched by a lot of so-so ones. Still, Cutler should be able to connect well with Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and DeVante Parker through the air. And maybe someone like Kenyan Drake can step up and provide some theatrics. TE Julius Thomas, if able to turn the clock back a few years to when he was a consistent red-zone threat, could also help Cutler and the offense shine

With Miami winning 9 of their last 11 games last season, many would assume it was due to a great defense, but they were actually a roadblock at times. They were fairly flimsy against the run. It doesn't help that entering 2017, their LB unit looks to be in a state of tatters. While Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso are assets, losing Koa Misi and rookie 2nd rounder Raekwon McMillian leaves them a bit thin in the middle. If first-round defensive end Charles Harris can deliver with Cameron Wake opposite him, the line will be tough with robust run-stopper Ndamukong Suh in the middle. Byron Maxwell got better over the course of last season at cornerback. We'll see how Xavier Howard does at the other corner, along with Nate Allen and Reshad Jones at safety. They might be better. They could get worse. We'll just have to see, with a good 4-5 X-factors that will determine their fate.

The Chargers looked flat early, as their offense languished against Denver. Against the robust Denver defense, they weren't able to get Melvin Gordon untracked, while Denver's secondary had the aerial game in knots. While the defense didn't play badly, the Broncos offense was able to do their thing at take a 24-7 fourth-quarter lead. The defense buckled down and a few Denver turnovers led to some scores, with the Chargers looking to tie the game late with a FG that was blocked. It was a tough loss, but one with enough good signs upon which to build.

The Chargers' offense struggled for much of the game and their only scoring drive in the first three quarters came due to a 40-yard pass interference call against Denver. But Philip Rivers was able to connect with Gordon, Keenan Allen, and Travis Benjamin for touchdowns. They have a nice receiver package that will likely shine brighter against secondary-play that is not up to Denver's standards. Adding even more hope was a line that yielded only one sack and protected Rivers quite well.

The Chargers' defense didn't really shine on MNF. They were pretty stout against the run. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, a growing pass-rushing duo, each had 1.5 sacks. Linebacker Jatavis Brown was all over the field. And in the fourth quarter, they shut Denver down, elicited a few turnovers, and set the stage for a comeback that almost came to fruition. And they have a secondary in Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett, Jahleel Addae, and Tre Boston, which is actually quite good and gives the Chargers the best pass-defense they've had in a while.

Still, the Chargers have a lot if issues. The line isn't going to be great, especially in springing loose the run-game. They face a tough D-line this week. The Dolphins are facing a tough spot and the start of the season has maybe disrupted their rhythm. But I see a Dolphins squad that will be fired-up and looking to build on the momentum they created last season. I'll take the points in this one.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Miami Dolphins plus 4.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Dolphins vs. Chargers game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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