Will the Miami Dolphins Pull Off an NFL Week 1 Upset Against the Los Angeles Chargers?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Will the Miami Dolphins Pull Off an NFL Week 1 Upset Against the Los Angeles Chargers?

Upset talk is in the air entering the NFL’s Week 1 matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, September 10, at 4:25 p.m. eastern standard time, on the field inside SoFi Stadium, in Inglewood, California.

How can we be sure people are talking about an upset? Because we’re the ones prepared to speak it into existence. But before we spoil too much about our Dolphins vs. Chargers prediction, here’s a look at the latest NFL online betting odds

Los Angeles Chargers-152+128Miami Dolphins

As ever, please remember to double-check these online NFL betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Chargers vs. Dolphins betting odds are accurate as of Sunday, September 3. That gives the best online sportsbooks in the United States plenty of time to make adjustments prior to the opening kick-off on Sunday afternoon. To that end, you’ll want to expect more (and larger) changes than usual. Both the betting markets and linemakers are at something of a knowledge deficit earlier in the year. They don’t have extensive samples from this season off which to base insight. That will change by Week 3 or Week 4, but for now, you’ll want to stay on top of the Dolphins vs. Chargers betting lines, because they will be moving.

As you probably know by now, we’re pretty smitten with the Dolphins here, even though oddsmakers clearly favor the Chargers. Are we actually brave enough to pick Miami? Read on to find out.

The Miami Dolphins Could be a Sleeper Contend This Year

So much about the Dolphins performance during the 2022 NFL season was muddied by injuries to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Miami was rolling before he needed to miss a few games, and they never fully recovered following his return.

Still, even with all the setbacks, the Dolphins sported one of the most effective downfield attacks in the league. Miami ranked fourth in both total passing yards and total passing touchdowns, and they were also second in net yards per passing attempt. 

With a healthy Tua under center, this year’s offense could be even more dangerous. The Dolphins have beefed up their protection on the offensive line, adding a handful of prized tackles, and wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill continue to excel at eluding defenders more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage.

This isn’t to say the Dolphins’ are without concerns. Waddle remains questionable for Week 1, though we expect him to play, and their passing defense figures to be among the NFL’s absolute worst. The latter could get them into trouble against the Chargers. Quarterback Justin Herbert is once again generating preseason MVP buzz, and Los Angeles’ defense improved a great deal last season—especially when it came to getting at the quarterback and forcing interceptions.

Many also won’t want to touch the Dolphins while they’re playing outside Miami. We’re not so scared. The Chargers actually had a negative point differential at home last year. Their minus-0.9 margin of victory ranked in the bottom 10, and their against-the-spread differential placed inside the bottom four.

Road victories are tough to pick up, period. This won’t be an easy game for the Dolphins to steal. They’ll invariably need to get fourth quarter defensive stops and fare better than last season at stopping passing plays in third down. We believe they’ll pull out a win anyway, if only because we have that much faith in their offense compared to Los Angeles’ attack. 

OSB Prediction: Miami Dolphins (+128)

Miami Dolphins To beat the Los Angeles Chargers

Is Miami’s Week 1 Point Spread a Safer Bet Than Their Moneyline?

Here is the latest NFL point spread betting lines for the matchups between Miami and Los Angeles:

  • Los Angeles Chargers, -2.5 (-122)
  • Miami Dolphins, +2.5 (+100)

The Dolphins’ point spread is the rare one that pays out better than even money. So, if you can’t stomach the risk of a +128 moneyline, we’d recommend going this route. 

At the same time, spreads smaller than a field goal are always rough for underdogs. If you cover it, there’s a good chance you’ve picked up the victory. And relative to how often both teams should throw the ball, we’re not so sure we’d count on a scoring differential south of five points. 

For us, the Dolphins moneyline makes more sense. But if you’d like, you can try parlaying the both. The resulting wager would pay out better than 3.5-to-1 if it’s successful.

OSB Prediction: Miami Dolphins, +2.5 (+100)

Miami Dolphins To cover the point spread against the Los Angeles Chargers

Will Offense Take Center Stage in Dolphins vs. Chargers?

Below you can see the latest over/under betting odds for Chargers vs. Dolphins:

  • Over 50.5 (-110)
  • Under 50.5 (-110)

Betting the “over” in Dolphins and Chargers games didn’t work out too well last year. The two combined to hit the “over” in fewer than 50 percent of their contests. Of course, this is in part because oddsmakers set their scoring totals aggressively high as the year wore on. Many metrics suggested these were two top-10 offenses, and for Miami, specifically, they were no stranger to clearing 30 points when Tua was healthy.

Truth be told, this is a coin toss. In the end, we slightly favor the “over.” The Dolphins hit the “over” in 80 percent of their road games last year. Granted, the Chargers hit the “over” in just 37.5 percent of their home contests. But given how opponent-friendly Miami’s secondary can be, we’re confident Herbert should lead Los Angeles to 25-plus points in Week 1.

OSB Prediction: Over 50.5 (-110)

Chargers and Dolphins To score over 50.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your 2023 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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