Game: Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Odds: Dolphins -1.5, Saints +1.5
It’s been a tale of two seasons for both the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints, who meet tonight at the Caesars Superdome. The Saints entered the 2021 season without QB Drew Brees who retired in the offseason. Jameis Winston stepped in and led New Orleans to a 5-2 start. Then, he got hurt in a huge win over Tampa Bay and was lost for the season. Winston’s injury combined with injuries to several other starters including RB Alvin Kamara have led to New Orleans current 7-7 record.
The Dolphins have a different story. They started the season with a win but proceeded to lose seven straight. After a 1-7 start, Miami has not lost a game since and still has an outside shot at making the AFC playoffs. It has been the defense that has really kept the Dolphins alive. Prior to last week’s 31-24 win over the Jets, Miami had not allowed more than 17 points for five games in a row. Last week, the Dolphins gave up a meaningless pick-six for a Jets touchdown in the second half of their win.
Now, as bad as the Saints have been over the past several weeks, they put together a beauty of a game last week and beat Tampa Bay again 9-0. New Orleans held Tom Brady scoreless for the first time in 15 years in the NFL. Brady had gone 304 games without being shut out until last week. The New Orleans defense was outstanding, but the offense left much to be desired.
QB Taysom Hill managed rather pedestrian numbers – 154 passing yards, 33 rushing – and the Saints were not all that effective. The problem tonight is that New Orleans will play without Hill. They will also play without backup Trevor Siemian. Both are among 16 Saints on the Reserve/COVID list. Rookie Ian Book will make his NFL debut at quarterback for New Orleans.
In addition to the 16 rostered players, the Saints have three practice squad players, a suspended player, and four assistant coaches who will all miss tonight’s game. It will be a challenge for the Saints and Book to get a win tonight. Remember, Book is used to winning. He went 30-5 as a starter at Notre Dame where he was the winningest quarterback in school history.
Miami has not only won its last six games in a row, but the Dolphins have also covered the spread in five of those six games. As stated, they have done it with defense and that is why the Under is 5-2 in Miami’s last seven games. The Saints have covered each of their last two games, but they are just 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. Like Miami, the Saints trend toward the Under. Four of the last five New Orleans games have seen the Under hit. The Saints defense has given up just nine points combined in its last two games.