When the Dolphins (7-7) travel to play the Saints (7-7) in New Orleans to close NFL Week 16 on “Monday Night Football” (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN), it’s a critical inter-conference battle to help decide the AFC and NFC wild-card races.
Miami would get into the No. 7 seed position in the AFC at 8-7, which would mean a remarkable seventh consecutive victory after a dismal 1-7 start. New Orleans can’t jump San Francisco or Philadelphia with a win, but it would go to No. 8 right behind both teams in the battle for the final NFC wild-card spot.
The Dolphins are rolling because of much improved defense under Brian Flores and efficient QB play from Tua Tagovailoa. The Saints have been fading, but rallied with two consecutive wins after a five-game midseason losing streak. Because of COVID-19 and injuries, rookie fourth-rounder Ian Book will get the call at quarterback, but the defense is red-hot after shutting out Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 15.
Here’s everything to know about betting on Saints vs. Dolphins in Week 16, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for “Monday Night Football.”
Saints vs. Dolphins odds for Monday Night Football
- Spread: Dolphins by 3
- Over/under: 36.5
- Moneyline: Dolphins -164, Saints +138
The Saints started the week as three-point favorites themselves, until they were hit with a big COVID-19 outbreak that affected both their offense and defense big time. The Dolphins are much healthier overall going into the game.
(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)
Saints vs. Dolphins all-time series
The teams have met a dozen times over the years. The Dolphins have won six times. The Saints also have won six times. The Saints have won three consecutive games in the series, all in the Drew Brees era. The Dolphins will try to turn the tide on the road facing Book.
Three trends to know
—59 percent of spread bettors like the Dolphins to take care of their small number given the state of the Saints’ entire team.
—55 percent of over/under bettors think the point total is too microscope being below 40 points given the two defenses.
—The Dolphins are only 5-4-1 against the spread as they’ve gone 6-4 in the past 10 games. Only four of those games have gone over. The Saints are 5-5 ATS and 5-5 SU in their past 10 games with only half going over.
Three things to watch
Who saves the Saints?
The Saints don’t have much at wide receiver and the passing game is less reliable without Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill. So this figures to be a busy game for running back Alvin Kamara. Last Christmas, he posted a six-TD game on the Vikings and should be in the spirit to carry his team again. The Saints also will need more big plays from the defense and turn this into a low-scoring affair.
Who delivers for the Dolphins?
Tagovailoa can’t expect much from the running game against the Saints’ defense, so he must be sharp spreading the ball around to wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki. New Orleans did a number on Tampa Bay’s receiving corps, but got a major break from midgame injuries. The Dolphins need to throw to win.
Who wants it more at 7-7?
The defenses are well coached and like to get physical and play hard. With the points and big plays hard to come by, it will be about what team is consistently motivated in prime time to emotionally be up to the task. The Saints are helped by their home-field advantage, but the Dolphins have been getting it done everywhere since their slow start.
Stat that matters
43.6 percent and 51 percent. The first number represents how often opponents score TDs in red zone opportunities against the Saints’ defense, No. 1 in the NFL. The second number belongs to the Dolphins’ defense in the same stat, also strong. This game will be about which team can better convert chances near the goal line to avoid winning a defensive-minded battle of attrition turned field-goal fest.
Saints vs. Dolphins prediction
Miami is mostly healthy and has a versatile and multiple offense around Tagovailoa. it won’t be shy passing to move the ball on a team that stops the run well. They have dangerous downfield weapons to cause matchup problems. Book will do his best to grind home a win for the Saints with a lot of help from Kamara, but they don’t have enough firepower beyond their dynamic feature back to win.
Dolphins 17, Saints 13