The New England Patriots still have a lot to play for in Week 17 despite wrapping up the AFC East title on Saturday.
The Patriots enter the final weekend of the regular season as the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff picture, but their margin for error is quite slim. New England has a one-game lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the race for the No. 2 seed. If the Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday and the Dolphins beat the Patriots, Kansas City would earn the No. 2 seed because it beat New England in Week 15 and therefore owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Oddsmakers unsurprisingly don't like the chances of that scenario coming to fruition. The Patriots have opened as massive 15.5-point favorites in the opening Week 17 betting lines at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
The Patriots and Dolphins played in Miami back in Week 2, and the defending Super Bowl champs earned an impressive 43-0 victory. It was the only game wide receiver Antonio Brown played for the Pats before the team released him a few days later.
The Dolphins have had a poor record throughout the season, but they've played very hard for first-year head coach Brian Flores. Miami has two wins and a one-point loss over its last four games (with a 16-point defeat in there, too), and you can bet Flores would love to go into Gillette Stadium and beat his former boss, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, to finish the regular season.
New England Patriots
From a betting perspective, a backdoor cover for the Dolphins could be in play here. Miami actually is 8-7 against the spread (ATS) on the season, including a 4-3 ATS mark on the road. Three of the Patriots' last five wins have come by one score or less, and only one of those wins (Week 16 vs. the 1-14 Bengals) had a margin of victory more than the 15.5-point spread for Week 17. The Patriots almost certainly will win this game, but the Dolphins might actually cover this spread since it's so large.