Who will Win the Week 18 Battle for the AFC East Title: Miami Dolphins or Buffalo Bills?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Who will Win the Week 18 Battle for the AFC East Title: Miami Dolphins or Buffalo Bills?

The Week 18 matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football represents the peak of NFL scheduling. It is the final game of the season—for the entire league. It will be on national television, without any other games taking place. And above all, it features two teams with viable odds to win Super Bowl 58 jockeying not only for a win, but the 2023 AFC East Division title.

  • What: Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
  • Date: Sunday, January 7, 2024
  • Time: 8:25 p.m. eastern standard time
  • Where: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida
  • Point Spread: Bills (-3), Dolphins (+3)

Few could have envisioned this matchup meaning so much just a few weeks ago. The Bills were floundering. But they have since gone on a tear, winning four straight games. And now, as you can see from the latest NFL online betting odds, Buffalo is actually favored to beat Miami despite playing on the road:

Buffalo Bills-162+136Miami Dolphins

Please continue double-checking these online NFL betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Dolphins vs. Bills betting odds are accurate entering Tuesday, January 2. That gives the best NFL online betting sites plenty of time to make adjustments leading into opening kick-off on January 7.

For what it’s worth, nothing on either team’s preliminary injury report suggests that we will see serious movement. The Dolphins will be without superstar linebacker Bradley Chubb, who will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL last week. But his absence is already caked into the Miami vs. Buffalo betting lines. And with the division title on the line, we know neither of these teams will be resting key players just because.

So which team will emerge from NFL Week 18 as the 2023 AFC East champion? Let’s find out.

Are the Buffalo Bills Officially Back?

Talk about a roller coaster season. The Bills opened the year with a Week 1 loss to the New York Jets. Then, they rattled off three straight victories, including a 28-point shellacking of the Dolphins themselves. Over the next four weeks, though, they alternated wins and losses against largely underwhelming competition. After that, they dropped three of four games, a stretch that sent their Super Bowl 58 betting odds spiraling out of control. 

That brings us to most recently. The Bills have since won four straight, a span that has included victories over both the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys. This streak has also coincided with the return of elite defense. Buffalo is allowing just 17.5 points per game during their last four outings. What’s more, they limited top-tier offenses from Kansas City and Dallas to 27 points…COMBINED.

Facing the Dolphins will be yet another true test of whether the Bills are for real. Miami has the best offense in the league, and they have lost at home just once all season. On the flip side, though, the Dolphins have struggled against tough competition. Not only did they get thumped by the Bills themselves earlier this year, but they’ve won just a single game against opponents with winning records all season. And that victory didn’t come until their Week 16 squeaker against Dallas.

To the Dolphins’ credit, their defense has come a long way. And they continue to have one of the highest-octane offenses in existence. But given their relative struggles to put up points against top-shelf defenses, we find ourselves ever so slightly favoring the Bills.

OSB Prediction: Buffalo Bills (-162)

Buffalo Bills To beat the Miami Dolphins

Oddsmakers are Bracing for a Close Fight Between Miami and Buffalo

The first time these two teams met earlier in the season, the Bills exited Buffalo with a 28-point victor. The latest point spread betting odds for Week 18 are projecting this game to be much closer:

  • Buffalo Bills, -3 (-110)
  • Miami Dolphins, +3 (-110)

This point spread is small enough that you should just default to whichever team you think will emerge victorious. If that’s Buffalo, then you’ll get superior value by betting on the Bills to cover against the Dolphins.

Risk-takers are free to throw some dough on the Dolphins. Five of their games this season have been determined by five or fewer points. And it wouldn’t shock us if this game mirrors Miami’s performance against Dallas in Week 16. Arguably the two best offenses in the league combined for just 42 points in a 22-20 victory for the Dolphins

With that said, Chubb’s absence from Miami’s defense looms large here. The middle of the field will be easier for the Bills and Josh Allen to navigate. That leads us to believe the margin of victory will be on the larger end.

OSB Prediction: Buffalo Bills, -3 (-110)

Buffalo Bills To cover the point spread against the Miami Dolphins

Will Dolphins vs. Bills Clear the 50-Point Threshold?

Sometimes, big games from division rivals can lend themselves to more conservative score totals. But according to where the latest Bills vs. Dolphins over/under betting odds are set, this will not be one of those times:

  • Over 49.5 (-110)
  • Under 49.5 (-110)

No score total should feel too ambitious when a (mostly) healthy Dolphins squad is involved. And yet, this one somehow does.

It hasn’t been discussed at length, but Miami’s offense is showing cracks. They are averaging “just” 24.5 points over their last four games. Star wideout Tyreek Hill missed some time during this stretch, but quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has seen his decision-making take a hit overall. 

Buffalo’s offense, meanwhile, remains prone to peaks and valleys. And when you factor in how well they’ve been defending the pass on the other side, this is a game in which we could see fewer points scored than the joint offensive profiles suggest.

OSB Prediction: Under 49.5 (-110)

Bills and Dolphins To score under 49.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your 2024 NFL betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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