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Oakland Raiders vs. Miami Dolphins Point Spread - Pick

Oakland Raiders (3-5 SU, 3-5 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (4-3 SU, 3-3-1 ATS)
Week 9 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, November 5, 2017 at 8:30PM EDT
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida
TV: NBC

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: OAK -2.5/MIA +2.5
Over/Under Total: 44

The Oakland Raiders come to Hard Rock Stadium to face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football. Miami is 4-3, with a strange trajectory over their last handful of games. After two comeback wins, they fell to the Ravens, 40-0, on Thursday Night Football. They look to get things turned around this week against a Raiders team that had a rough time of it on Sunday. After pulling a rabbit out of the hat against the Chiefs, they fell flat in a bad 34-14 loss to Buffalo. Their leash is tightening and on the road against another team badly in need of a win, it's not going to be easy this week.

Granted, they were without their starting quarterback, but after two games where Miami rallied back from deficits, to see them lay down to Baltimore on Thursday was disconcerting. Matt Moore was not able to get this offense moving, with the offense and defense dominated across all areas. And they ended the game looking a bit nasty with Kiko Alonso's hit on Joe Flacco and some antics from Ndamukong Suh. In their last 19 games, they are still 14-5, but Thursday showed a lot of issues on both sides of the ball. Getting back home should help, as it's already week 9 and the Dolphins have had only two games at home. And when you throw in a week one postponement and all the hurricane drama, along with a game in London, maybe asking Miami to come off the short week was too much last week.

Heading into week 9, the Dolphins offense is really in the dumps. They average 252 yards per game and have yet to score a rushing touchdown this season. Jay Cutler's return should help, only because Matt Moore was so awful in relief. Head coach Adam Gase says Cutler will be a go on Sunday. The receiving crew has to come together and with Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, and DeVante Parker, they should be getting more out of this group. TE Julius Thomas could be a factor down the stretch. With no touchdowns and just 3.4 yards a carry, Jay Ajayi was apparently expendable, with Miami trading their top back to Philly for a fourth round pick. No other back on the team has more than 12 carries this season. And while there have been some injury issues up-front, they are now healthy enough to start protecting their quarterback better than they have the last few games and start opening up more holes for whatever running back might be in there.

Over the past few weeks, the Miami defense has not been up-to-snuff. And giving up 40 to the Ravens, even with two of those scores being provided by the Baltimore defense, is not a great sign. They weren't very good against the run, though they have been for much of the season with Suh and others up-front. They have gotten a pass-rush from guys like Cameron Wake, though others need to step up in that department. Linebacker has been a bright spot with Alonso, along with Lawrence Timmons in the mix. And their secondary has been decent, playing pretty stoutly at times, though more turnovers would go a long way. Still, after receding some the past two weeks, we'll see how they do this week at home.

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The reasons for the Raiders having already surpassed their loss-total from last season are multifold. Derek Carr has been injured and missed time. Their offensive line started well in a 2-0 start, but are a big part of the reason they have lost five of their last six games. The addition of Marshawn Lynch and Cordarrelle Patterson, while having provided some spark, has generally been underwhelming. The 1-2 receiver package of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper has been inconsistent, at best. Other than Khalil Mack, no one on defense is really making an impression and they have still failed to get a single interception on the season. They showed so much moxie against Kansas City, fighting like wild dogs to get the hard-earned win. For them to fold like that on Sunday was really upsetting for Oakland supporters and those of us unfortunate to have believed in them this past week.

Carr has been prolific since coming back, but he has also been turnover-prone and threw two more picks on Sunday. The top guys on this offense have not really been delivering. Crabtree and Cooper had some production on Sunday, but they've also played with a wide variance this season—and usually not on the high end of the spectrum. Also not helping is how they went from a team that could be counted on to play their best late in games to a team that can't get much right in the fourth quarter this season. In a role-reversal, they have generally gotten worse over the course of games this season. The run-game looked to be an area of strength heading into the season, but it just hasn't taken hold. Guys like Carr, Lynch, Crabtree, Cooper, and others are proven producers and it's time they start showcasing their wares more consistently this season. By in large, they just haven't been able to make it happen.

The Oakland defense has allowed 64 comined points in their last two games. It's still hard to believe that they haven't gotten a pick this whole season. It underlines their lack of playmaking through eight games. Last season, they weren't a particularly stout defense perhaps, but they were aggressive, made a lot of plays, and registered key stops late when they needed to. This season, they're just disconnected from the offense, not playing in concert, and not having a very positive affect on the overall team effort.

In terms of urgency, both teams have a lot to play for this week. Oakland is almost in a must-win scenario if they have any hopes of getting on a run and salvaging the season. Miami can ill-afford another setback, especially at home. Miami can't be feeling that great coming off a 40-0 loss, but they get a little healthier this week. Oakland faces a tough road test, their second game away from home in a row. I see Miami getting it done as the home dog this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Miami Dolphins plus 2.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Oakland vs. Miami game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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