The Miami Dolphins finally get their 2017 season underway when they visit the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2. Kickoff is set for 4:05 EST on Sunday, September 17 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The game will be available on CBS in local markets.
The 0-1 Chargers are 4.5-point favorites in their Los Angeles debut. That line has moved up slightly after the Chargers opened as 2.5-point favorites. The over/under for the game is listed at 45 points. Click here for a full list of Week 2 betting odds and links to game previews.
Dolphins vs Chargers Game Betting Preview & Vegas Odds
The Chargers made a valiant 4th quarter comeback Monday night against the Broncos, helped along by a pair of Denver turnovers. But Los Angeles came up a little short, having a field goal that could have sent the game to overtime blocked. Unfortunately for the Chargers, they couldn’t get anything going in the first half and struggled to run the ball all night, putting them in a tough position in the second half.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins will be glad just to be on the field after seeing their Week 1 matchup with the Bucs postponed due to Hurricane Irma. While their heads and hearts may be back in South Florida, the Dolphins are physically in California and ready to begin their season. That means the much-anticipated return of Jay Cutler is finally upon us.
Despite being in different divisions and nearly 3,000 miles away, these two teams have met in each of the last four years. Miami has won three of those matchups, including a 31-24 win last November. However, the Chargers have made a head coach change since then, so it’s tough to put too much stock in past results.
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Dolphins +4.5
This is a tough call because the Dolphins are yet to play a game and how Cutler will perform is a bit of a mystery. But I think both oddsmakers and betters are overreacting to the Chargers playing one good quarter of football on Monday and not paying enough attention to three lackluster quarters. That’s why I lean in favor of Miami in this matchup.
Under new head coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers are going to be committed to running the ball. The problem is they weren’t that effective on the ground against the Broncos. Denver’s defense was gashed against the running game last season, but on Monday the Chargers averaged less than 3 yards per rush.
Miami improved the talent at linebacker over the offseason. The Dolphins also have Ndamukong Suh up front to create problems for the Los Angeles offensive line. Miami may not have a dominant rush defense, but they should do well enough on Sunday to take the Chargers out of their comfort zone.
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Of course, the most important question is how Cutler will play after coming out of retirement. We all know that he’s been turnover prone in the past. Turnovers are what gave the Chargers the opportunity to come back against the Broncos last week. If Cutler turns the ball over and gives Los Angeles a short field, the Dolphins could be in trouble.
However, Cutler deserves the benefit of the doubt. He had one of his best seasons in Chicago while working with current Miami head coach Adam Gase. The Dolphins also have a nice collection of weapons around him, including Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills. Miami can also lean on Jay Ajayi and the running game if necessary.
Barring a disastrous outing by Cutler, it’s hard to view the Chargers as the better team in this matchup. It’s also unclear how much of a home-field advantage they’ll have at the StubHub Center. As 4.5-point underdogs, I’ll take the Dolphins without hesitation.