Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) celebrates the Dolphins scoring against the New England Patriots during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)
- The Dolphins currently sit seventh in the AFC at 9-5
- Las Vegas sits ninth, trailing both Miami and the Baltimore Ravens
- With plenty of playoff implications, kickoff is set for 8:15pm EST on Saturday from Las Vegas
With just two weeks to go, the Miami Dolphins are poised to play playoff football for just the third time since 2002.
But they have some work to do.
Not only does Miami have to fend off the Baltimore Ravens who hold an identical 9-5 record, but the Las Vegas Raiders are on the outside looking in. The Raiders sit at 7-7 though, and are playing for their season.
The two square off in primetime on Saturday night at 8:15pm EST in Allegiant Stadium.
Dolphins vs Raiders Odds
|Miami Dolphins||-157||-3.0 (-113)||Over 47.5 (-108)|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+138||+3.0 (-108)||Under 47.5 (-113|
Odds as of December 24th from DraftKings
The Dolphins have been absolute monsters against the spread this year, going 11-3. They’ve been especially hot lately, going 9-1 since October 11th.
The Raiders meanwhile, are not doing their hometown proud. They’re 0-4 ATS since November 29th, and 7-7 overall.
Carr Moving Towards Playing on Saturday
The last time we got a good look at Derek Carr, he was limping off the field against the Los Angeles Chargers with a groin injury.
He was forced to sit and watch as Marcus Mariota came in and went 17-for-28 for 226 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also mixed in 88 yards on nine rushing attempts with a TD.
Derek Carr practiced full on Wednesday.
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) December 23, 2020
With that fresh in Jon Gruden’s mind, Carr could be feeling the pressure to get back to action.
Derek Carr: Primetime Stats vs Other Timeslots
Carr carries an 87.2 rating in his 18 nighttime starts. In early and afternoon games, he sits at 90.8 and 94.1 respectively. His yards/attempt fall off, and he averages a full 30 yards-pre-game fewer in primetime spots.
The Dolphins have also been especially stingy against passers lately. Over the past six games, just two passers have gone over 210 yards against them, and one was Patrick Mahomes.
That stretch has featured a handful of lower tier QBs however, so expect a more competent display from Carr.
Dolphins Hoping for Healthy Offense
Miami will get one of its ailing stars back on Saturday in running back Myles Gaskin.
After spending time on Injured Reserve with a knee injury, Gaskin returned against the Bengals and racked up 141 total yards on two catches and 21 carries. Then he landed on the Covid list, and watched Salvon Ahmed blitz the Patriots for 122 yards on 23 carries.
Dolphins activated running back Myles Gaskin off the reserve/COVID-19 list.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 23, 2020
Now the pair can run against the Raiders, a team that actually grades out worse (25th) on the ground than the Patriots (23rd). They held the Chargers to 96 yards on the ground on Thursday, but that was following up 200+ yard performances by the Jets and Colts.
G Solomon Kindley (Knee/Foot) out for Dolphins vs #Raiders. TE Mike Gesicki (shoulder), WR DeVante Parker (hamstring), WR Jakeem Grant (hamstring), DE Shaq Lawson (shoulder) and G Ereck Flowers (ankle) all questionable
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) December 24, 2020
In terms of the passing game, there’s less certainty surrounding DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki. Both were limited throughout the week, but Parker was limited throughout Week 15 and didn’t play. Gesicki may make an appearance as his shoulder continues to improve.
Just getting one back would be a huge boost to the Dolphins’ offense.
Dolphins Continue to Dominate ATS
With so many questions for either team, it’s hard to back the total one way or another. After all, Parker was expected to play against the Patriots and then was among the inactives. Carr could end up re-aggravating the injury mid-game, and there’s no guarantee Mariota is magic once again.
But Miami’s defense is trending upwards, and Vegas has given up at least 28 points in 10 of their 14 games this year.
The Pick: Dolphins -3.0 (-113), 1.0 Units
Bryan has spent the last decade working in the sports industry. He can be found conducting sideline interviews for SKY Sports and gathering post-match reactions for BBC. The sportcaster’s broadcasts stream on CBC Sports, Game TV, and Premier TV in the UK.