Patriots vs Dolphins Week 18 Picks and Predictions: Miami Closes Strong After Win Streak Stopped

The Dolphins had their seven-game win streak snapped last week but they can end the year on a high, hosting a Patriots team that routinely struggles in Miami. We highlight why New England could struggle to cover the NFL betting spread in our picks.

Rohit Ponnaiya - Betting Analyst at
Rohit Ponnaiya • Betting Analyst
Jan 9, 2022 • 15:14 ET • 5 min read
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins wrap up their season with an AFC East battle against the New England Patriots on Sunday. The Dolphins will try to head into the offseason with some momentum while Bill Belichick and the Patriots prepare for yet another trip to the playoffs.

NFL betting lines have the Pats installed as 6.5-point road favorites with the Over/Under at 40. Here are our best free Patriots vs. Dolphins NFL picks and predictions for Week 18 action on Sunday, January 9.

Patriots vs Dolphins odds

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

This line opened with the Patriots as 5.5-point road favorites with the Over/Under at 40. Early money has come in on New England, shifting that line to -6.5 while the total has stayed steady at 40.

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.

Patriots vs Dolphins predictions

Predictions made on 1/07/2022 at 6:45 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Patriots vs Dolphins game info

Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Date: Sunday, January 9, 2022
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET

Patriots at Dolphins betting preview


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Key injuries

Patriots: Dont'a Hightower LB (Out), Kyle Dugger S (Out), J.J. Taylor RB (Out), Devin Asiasi TE (Out), Jarrett Stidham QB (Out).
Dolphins: Preston Williams WR (Out), Salvon Ahmed RB (Out), Darius Hodge DE (Out), Vince Biegel OLD (Out), Hunter Long TE (Out), Jason McCourty CB (Out), Will Fuller IV WR (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Patriots are 2-7 ATS in their last nine meetings in Miami. Find more NFL betting trends for Patriots vs. Dolphins.

Patriots 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.

The Dolphins are fresh off a crushing 34-3 road loss to the Titans, which snapped a seven-game winning streak and ensured that they would miss out on the postseason for the fifth straight year.

The Patriots are coming off a 50-10 rout of the Jaguars, which allowed them to rebound from back-to-back defeats against the Colts and Bills. Prior to that Week 15 loss to the Colts, New England had reeled off seven-straight wins of its own going 7-0 ATS over that span. 

The Pats have clinched a playoff spot and have a slim chance of winning the division if they beat the Dolphins and the Bills lose as 16-point chalk to the Jets. This New England squad is the epitome of Belichick's brand of football: a conservative passing game with unheralded wide receivers, a run-heavy gameplan with multiple backs, and a hard-hitting, opportunistic defense that forces turnovers. 

The Dolphins have nobody to blame for missing the playoffs after they started the season with just one win in their first eight games. However, they've shown plenty of fight since so don't expect them to roll over just because they supposedly have "nothing to play for." 

This line looks like a bit of an overreaction to the Week 17 performances of both teams and seems a bit disrespectful to a Dolphins squad that has the league's highest-rated defense in EPA/play and success rate since Week 9.

The Phins also beat the Pats earlier this season in Foxboro and have now gone 5-3 ATS in the last eight meetings with all five of those covers resulting in upset victories. It'll be tough to beat the Patriots again but they should be able to keep things close enough to cover the 6.5-point spread. 

Prediction: Dolphins +6.5 (-110)

The Patriots are first in the league in weighted DVOA defense and scoring defense, holding opponents to just 16.9 points per game. They also play at a slower tempo and prefer to lean on their running game to control the clock. 

Despite surrendering 34 points to the Titans last week, the Dolphins have made massive strides on defense over the course of the season and are limiting foes to 14.5 ppg over their last eight games

The Under has cashed in seven of Miami's previous nine games and has also gone 22-6 in New England's previous 28 contests on grass. With these divisional rivals combining for 34 points or fewer in their last three meetings, expect another low-scoring game and take the Under.

Prediction: Under 40 (-110)

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has shown a lot of improvement in his second year in the league but he isn't airing out the ball like when he was an All-American at Alabama. Tua's passing yards total for Sunday opened at 226.5 and he has passed for 205 yards or fewer in each of his last three games. 

New England is allowing just 192.4 passing yards per game and Belichick is a mastermind at game-planning against young quarterbacks. In the Dolphins' season opener against the Patriots, Tua completed just 59.3 percent of his passes for 202 yards and he's likely to have another tough game on Sunday. 

Pick: Tua Tagovailoa Under 226.5 passing yards (-115)

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