Jacoby Brissett’s status means less to point spread due to Dolphins’ ineptitude, oddsmaker says

Colts quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jacoby Brissett, November 2019
Colts quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jacoby Brissett (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Coming off a sprained MCL suffered in last week’s loss to the Steelers, Colts QB Jacoby Brissett is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. If he can’t play, the point spread won’t change much, which is more of a knock against Miami then it is to Brissett.

Editor’s note: Brissett was ruled out on Saturday, dropping consensus line to 10.5 and total to 43.5.

The Colts (5-3 straight up, 4-3-1 against the spread) have spent much of the week as a 10- to 10.5-point home favorite, but with Brissett practicing on a limited basis entering the game, the point spread has crept up to 11.5 in some shops as of Friday’s writing.

“Brissett is worth a point or two in this spot,” CG Technology risk analyst Will Bernanke told BetChicago in an email. “The line could close 12 if he plays, 10.5 range if he sits.”

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Despite Brissett being questionable, the Colts are better in nearly every aspect of the game, even at wide receiver with T.Y. Hilton (calf) being held out. Miami recently placed breakout WR Preston Williams (knee) on IR, leaving DeVante Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s top options in the passing game against a Colts defense ranked 11th in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) for total passing defense.

After four straight non-covers to begin the season, the Dolphins have rattled off four straight covers of the spread, culminating with their first win of the season in last week’s 26-18 victory over the Jets. Finally showing signs of fight, the Dolphins have earned some respect from public bettors with 60% of tickets and 58% of money wagered at FanDuel backing the road dog catching double-digits.

While Miami earned its first win of the season last week, its defense still ranks worst in DVOA for total defense and second-worst in total team offense. The past four games for the Dolphins have come against quarterbacks consisting of Case Keenum, Josh Allen, Mason Rudolph and Sam Darnold. Brissett is a clear upgrade over those QBs and it could be argued that Hoyer is too.

Hoyer completed 17-of-26 passes for 168 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the Colts’ Week 9 loss to the Steelers after Brissett was ruled out. A 105.9 quarterback rating against Pittsburgh’s No. 6 ranked passing DVOA defense is more impressive considering Hoyer had almost no reps with the first team offense in practice and was signed to a three-year, $12 million contract after training camp concluded.

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If Brissett or Hoyer is under center on Sunday, Dolphins coach Brian Flores knows what he’s getting after spending time with both during his time as New England’s defensive coordinator.

“Hoyer is as smart as they come at the quarterback position,” Flores told reporters this past week. “(He) understands defense, has been in a few different systems and understands different ways to protect, to schematically put together different concepts. This guy’s very, very bright. He’s another guy who, he and I would go back and forth, talk about defense, talk about offense, talk about protections, talk about route concepts – again, another impressive guy.”

Sunday’s total opened at 44, dropped to 43 with Brissett’s status in jeopardy mid-week, but bounced back to the opening number as of Friday’s writing. Miami is 5-3 to the UNDER this season, but the majority of tickets (65%) and money (92%) across the market are backing the OVER, according to Sports Insights.

• UNDER is 13-3 in Dolphins’ last 16 games as an underdog of 10.5 or greater.
• Dolphins are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games as a road underdog.
• Colts are 0-5-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
• UNDER is 9-4 in Colts last 13 games following an ATS loss.

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