Panthers vs Dolphins Week 12 Picks and Predictions: Panthers Take Swipe at Fins' Good Fortune

The resurgent Miami Dolphins are in for a rude awakening against the defensively stout Carolina Panthers. Expect the Fins' modest three-game winning streak to come to an end in a low-scoring matchup. For more, check out our NFL betting picks.

Last Updated: Nov 26, 2021 7:11 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Christian McCaffrey Cam Newton Carolina Panthers NFL
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Week 12 is a crucial stop in the schedule for the Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins, who meet in South Florida this Sunday, with both teams holding on to postseason hopes.

The NFL betting odds paint a tight contest with the opening spread bouncing between Dolphins -1 and +1 before money showed up on the Panthers on Tuesday and pushed this line to Miami +2.5 despite the Fins riding a wave of momentum from a three-game winning streak. Carolina is coming off a tough loss at home to Washington in Cam Newton’s homecoming.

Here are our free NFL picks and predictions for Panthers at Dolphins on November 28.

Panthers vs Dolphins odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Miami hit the board as a 1-point favorite at some books, while others opened Carolina as the slim favorite. A market correction took place with most books moving to Panthers -1. That spread has since ticked up to as high as -2.5 but remains out there for as low as -1 as of Wednesday. The total opened at 43.5 and has been trimmed to 42 points. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Panthers vs Dolphins predictions

Predictions made on 11/24/2021 at 10:20 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Panthers vs Dolphins game info

Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
Date: Sunday, November 28, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Panthers at Dolphins betting preview


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Key injuries

Panthers: Matt Barkley QB (Out), Terrace Marshall WR (Out), Kamal Martin LB (Out), Rashaan Melvin CB (Out), Kenny Robinson S (Out), Colin Thompson TE (Out).
Dolphins: Brandon Jones S (Out), Darius Hodge LB (Out), John Jenkins DT (Out), Will Parks S (Out), Adam Shaheen TE (Out), Trill Williams CB (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Panthers are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games. Find more NFL betting trends for Panthers vs. Dolphins.

Panthers vs Dolphins picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

How much water does the Dolphins’ three-game winning streak hold? 

The gem of that streak is a Thursday night win over Baltimore, which was playing its first road game in almost 40 days on a short week. That upset is bookended by victories over the Texans and Jets. I’d say the Fins’ streak rivals a Dixie Cup in terms of volume.

Carolina presents the toughest test Miami has faced in terms of defensive fortitude since getting rolled by the Bills 26-11 in Week 8. The Panthers are No. 6 in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders, and despite giving up 27 points to Washington last weekend, still ranked out with the fifth-best defensive performance of Week 10.

This Panthers stop unit is built on a blitz attack bringing extra pass rushers on more than 32 percent of its opponents’ dropbacks. That aggressiveness has shaken out 30 sacks (third in the NFL) and created pressure on nearly 29 percent of passing plays, not allowing rival quarterbacks time to let big plays develop. 

Miami’s sudden surge has come with an uptick in home run shots, with QB Tua Tagovailoa erupting for three strikes of 50 or more yards during this three-game span. The Dolphins' yards per completion has jumped to 10.8 in that stretch – from 8.6 in the opening eight games (second last) – but faces a Carolina defense that has allowed only 27 passing plays of 20 or more yards and just four of 40-plus. 

The Panthers have allowed the fourth-fewest total air yards to opposing passers and will give very little time to Tua in the pocket thanks to a Miami pass protection that ranks dead last in ESPN’s pass block win rate (45%) entering Week 12 and sits 23rd in adjusted sack rate (7%). 

Carolina has split wins and losses in its last four (2-2 ATS) but it’s not because of the pass pressure, which has recorded 12 sacks and 26 QB hits in that span. Sunday could be a long day for Tagovailoa and this Miami offense.

Prediction: Panthers -1 (-117)

We’ve sung the praises of the Panthers defense, but Miami’s stop unit is starting to come around. While matchups with New York and Houston will pad your stats, the Dolphins do sit second in EPA allowed per play since Week 9 (-0.181) and, more importantly, have returned to their chaotic ways.

Miami has four interceptions and three forced fumbles recovered during this winning streak, bumping them up the takeaway rankings after a very passive start to the season. Brian Flores' defense prides itself on those game-changing plays and rode that philosophy to a league-high 29 takeaways in 2020.

The Panthers offense is still very much in flux with the resurrection of Cam Newton at quarterback. This will be just his second full game under center, and while Cam provided some pop in Week 11 - with two passing scores and a rushing touchdown – he amassed 189 yards passing and just 46 yards rushing on 10 carries with more than half of those ground gains on that 24-yard TD scamper.

Joe Brady’s offense has a West Coast base, so don’t expect too many shots over the top, especially not against this opportunistic Dolphins secondary. Seven of Newton’s 27 Week 11 completions landed in the hands of dynamic RB Christian McCaffrey, with whom he has long-standing chemistry, including his biggest throw of the day: a 27-yard touchdown strike. 

This non-conference game also falls under one of the most profitable total trends of 2021 with NFC vs. AFC matchups going 17-36-1 Over/Under (68% Unders) so far this season. To put that into perspective, all 2021 NFL games have a 71-92-2 O/U count but if you took out the non-conference results, you’re left with a 54-56-1 ATS record. 

Prediction: Under 42 (-110)

Miami has thrived on tempo and quick starts with Tagovailoa under center, running the fifth-fastest pace in the NFL (26.84 seconds per play) and averaging 5.6 points per first quarter on the season. As the Miami Herald highlighted, the Dolphins have scored a touchdown on four of their six opening drives with Tua at the wheel.

The Panthers, however, don’t get pushed around in the opening 15 minutes of action. Carolina gives up a league-low 1.7 points per 1Q on the season and has pitched a shutout in the first frame in each of its last three outings. In fact, the Panthers have allowed only one first-quarter touchdown this year (vs. Dallas in Week 4).

Offensively, Carolina is on the other end of the tempo scale, ranked 20th in seconds per play and fourth in average time of possession (31:54). The defense will slam the door early on the Fins, and the offense will sap all the energy out of this game.

Pick: Panthers -1 (-117)

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