NFL Football Betting: Will the Miami Dolphins Go 0-16 in 2019?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

Among the many interesting NFL regular season props at BetOnline.ag is this beauty:  Will the Miami Dolphins go 0-16 in the 2019 NFL regular season?  Sure, the Dolphins are bad but are they bad enough to lose every game this year?  Let’s take a look:

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YES:  +400
NO:     -700


It’s extremely rare for a NFL football team to lose every game.  Since the NFL schedule expanded from 14 to 16 games in 1978 only two teams have managed to lose every game.  The 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns both finished the season 0-16.  A couple of teams deserve ‘honorable mention’--most significantly, the 1976 and 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Bucs went 0-14 in 1976 and then lost their first 12 games of the 1977 season before winning their final two contests.  Had the schedule been 16 games long at the time the Bucs would have easily gone 0-16 in their first season.  The only other team to finish with zero wins since 1960 were the 1982 Baltimore Colts who went 0-8-1 in a lockout shortened season.

A look at the statistical metrics beyond the W/L records for these four teams helps make a case for the Dolphins to ‘run the table’ to 0-16.  3 games into the season and Miami is losing games by a downright historic margin.  The 1976 Bucs lost by an average of 20.5 PPG though they improved to an average loss of 8.5 PPG in 1977.  The 2008 Lions lost by an average of 15.5 PPG and the 2017 Browns lost by an average of 11 PPG.  The 1982 Colts had an average losing margin of 17.88 (we’re throwing out a 20-20 tie against Green Bay).

Three games into the 2019 season and the Dolphins are losing by an average of 39 points per game.  They can’t score averaging 5.3 PPG on offense and they can’t stop their opponents from scoring allowing an average of 44.3 PPG against.  They’re 0-3 against the spread failing to cover as a +7 home dog against Baltimore in Week 1, a +18 home dog against New England in Week 2 and a 22.5 road dog at Dallas in Week 3.  They’re a +16.5 home dog against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4.  Failing to cover big numbers is becoming a long term trend for the Dolphins who are now 1-5 SU/ATS as an underdog of 10+ points over the past three seasons.


It doesn’t really help the Dolphins playing in a ‘top heavy’ division.  The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots are 3-0 to this point of the season while the Dolphins and New York Jets are 0-3.  The Jets should improve when they get a number of key players back in the lineup, not the least of which is starting quarterback Sam Darnold.  The Jets are not a particularly good team with or without Darnold but they’re light years ahead of Miami.

In their 13 remaining games, six are against opponents that finished the 2018 season with a winning record.  Two of the teams that finished with a losing record last year among the Dolphins 2019 opponents will likely finish over .500 this year—the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.  Assuming that is the case, that will take it to 9 games against opponents that will likely end the season with a winning record.  Working in their favor—they have five games against opponents that are currently 0-3 on the season facing the NY Jets twice, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins.

‘On paper’ their best chance for a win might be on October 13 at home against the Washington Redskins.  Miami will enter the game off of a bye week while the Redskins will be in a classic ‘sandwich spot’ coming off of an October 6 game against New England and looking ahead to an October 20 against San Francisco.  The only problem is that even with a bye week to prepare the Dolphins don’t look capable of beating anyone at this point even facing a team in a challenging schedule spot.

Assuming they reach December with a record of 0-11 they’ll likely go to 0-12 when they play Philadelphia at home on December 1.  After that, they have several good chances to win a game playing at the NY Jets, at the NY Giants before hosting Cincinnati on December 22 in their penultimate game of the season.  If they lose all of those games their final shot to avoid an 0-16 season will be at new England on December 29.  Keep in mind that New England might be in a position where the final regular season game is meaningless in terms of playoff seeding and might rest starters.


There are two big issues that should keep Miami winless this season and one is ‘self inflicted’.  It was known entering the season that this would be a year in which Miami cleaned house in terms of their personnel.  They can’t come out and say they are ‘tanking’ but the roster moves they’ve made suggest little interest in competing in the short term.  The other teams that finished their seasons without a win at least wanted to be competitive every week.  That can’t be said about the Dolphins to this juncture and they’ve got come compelling reasons to look toward getting the top pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Finally, the Dolphins are perceived as being such a bad team that facing them will become a ‘litmus test’ for opponents with losing records.  Other bad teams like Cleveland and Cincinnati could ‘circle’ the game against Miami as a rare opportunity to get a win.  There’s also the negative motivation of not wanting to lose to a team perceived as ‘historically bad’.

At the prices being offered we’ll take a shot on the Dolphins going 0-16.  At +400 that has a 20% implied probability and Miami almost certainly has a better shot than that at finishing winless.  The other side forces you to lay a lot to win a little and do you want to lay a big chunk of change on Miami doing something ‘right’?  I didn’t think so…


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