These two teams came into the season in very different situations. Atlanta was coming off a “bad season” that they lost 5 games they were leading at half, and essentially needed to wait on a rebuild given the contract situation with their veteran QB, Matt Ryan. Miami, on the other side of the spectrum, was (ideally) heading into year 2 of a legit rebuild behind QB Tua Tagovailoa, unfortunately riding some negative regression in the form of being the 28th ranked team in terms of 3rd down rebound and 31st in yards/point. The Falcons are off a needed BYE week, and hope to get some key offensive contributors back, while the Dolphins are off a game they easily could have lost, yet found a way to win.
Ryan’s Season Totals
Assigned Games: 6-5 (with 2 Underdogs winning outright)
Best Bets: 13-4, Up 1058%
- Opening Line: Atlanta – 2.5
- Current Line: Atlanta – 2.5
- Over/Under: 47.5
- Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
- Start Time: 1:00 PM EST, SUN 10/24
- Last Meeting: Dolphins 20, Falcons 17 in Atlanta Week 5, 2017
The hope for Matt Ryan and the Falcons was that new OC Arthur Smith would come in and offer some tactical advantages, such as bringing Ryan’s Play-Action (PA) rate back up, and ideally use more 12-personnel. As you can see from Sharp Football Stats, Ryan and the Falcons have been very successful in 12 personnel the last two years. Both variables have been addressed, as the Falcons have gone from a 26% PA Rate to a 29% PA Rate, and bumped up their usage of 12 from 15% to 37%. Additionally, Ryan should have the benefit of returning WRs Calvin Ridley and Russel Gage. However, the issue may lay with how poorly Ryan has handled pressure this season and the Dolphins proclivity to bring more than 4 rushers. Based on PFF, Ryan grades out this season as a 84 when not blitzed (91 when kept clean in general!), yet a 71 when blitzed. All QBs fare worse under pressure, but unlike some in the NFL (Mahomes and Brady for example) it’s clear that you can disrupt Ryan with the Blitz. Miami currently blitzes the QB at the 25th highest rate.
On the flip side, Miami comes in fresh off a “meh win” vs. the hapless Jaguars that they almost gave away. The story of the offseason for this squad from a tactical standpoint was would the new OC(s) help scheme open WRs, as the team has been hopeless in this effect the past couple seasons, typically finishing in the bottom of Next Gen Stats “Average Separation by WRs”. Regardless of the so-so offensive start to the season, the good news is it seems the offense has figured out a way to get WRs open, as they have gone from an expected competition percentage of 65.5% to 67.2.
There are a couple additional factors that could come in to play in this game. For starters there likely will be bad weather, which could compound Matt Ryan’s already suspect Home vs Away splits. Additionally, although the Dolphins are not sure if they will get their 2 best CBs back in Byron Jones and Xavien Howard, it may not really matter vs the Falcons. Matt Ryan and co. have the lowest ADOT in the league BY FAR, meaning much of the heavy lifting in pass coverage may not be in the hands of the DBs anyway. And lastly, and this may be the key for our decision, The Falcons Pass Protection ratings are skewed by a heavy “Outside Performance”. Meaning they protect better with their LT and RT. And given the Dolphins are considerably better at getting interior pressure based on SIS Points Saved metric, this will likely lead to a HEAVIER than expected pressure rate for Matt Ryan.
- As a 2.5-point favorite or more, the Dolphins have two wins ATS (2-2).
- The Falcons have one win ATS (1-1) as a 2.5-point favorite or greater this season.
- Atlanta has seen three of its five games gone over the point total.
Until you have more info (weather, and the status of the Dolphin starting CBs) you should probably hold off on betting ANYTHING here. But, if the weather is bad, and or at least one of the CBs can play, we think the interior pass rush of the Falcons will be too much for Matt Ryan to overcome.
Prediction: Miami 24, Atlanta 13
Picks: Miami +2.5 / UNDER 47.5
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Ryan Newman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Ryan, check out his archive.