Miami Dolphins: nfl FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
The Miami Dolphins were born into the AFL in 1966, but would not see success until the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
That year, the Miami Dolphins odds for success jumped dramatically when the team hired future HOF coach Don Shula away from the Baltimore Colts. Shula had led the Colts to tremendous regular season success that failed to carry over to the postseason, its most memorable defeat at the hands of Joe Namath and the New York Jets in Super Bowl III.
With Shula, the Dolphins blossomed into a powerful, hard-nosed football team. They featured a bruising offensive line, anchored by HOF OLs Larry Little & Jim Langer, and a running attack anchored by HOF RB Larry Csonka. In 1971, a bet on the Miami Dolphins to win Super Bowl VI would not have paid, as the team lost 24-3 to Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys.
However, in 1972, the stars aligned for Miami. At the outset of the season, a bet on the Miami Dolphins to go undefeated might not have been advisable. HOF QB Bob Griese actually got hurt five games into the season and was replaced by Earl Morrall, who ironically had played for Shula in Baltimore when Johnny Unitas had been hurt. This year, however, there would be no upset loss in the Super Bowl – in fact, there wouldn’t be any losses at all. Csonka and fellow RB Mercury Morris both rushed for 1,000 yards, becoming the first pair of teammates to do so. The defense – and the offense – ranked first in the league. Griese came back for the AFC title game against Pittsburgh and the Super Bowl against Washington, which the Dolphins would win, 14-7, to complete the first (and only) perfect NFL season.
The following year, the Miami Dolphins odds to repeat were good, and repeat they did. Led again by Pro-Bowlers Griese, Csonka, and Morris, the Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings to win their second championship in a row. A bet on the Miami Dolphins would’ve paid, as the Miami Dolphins odds in that game were -6.5. They covered the touchdown spread with ease, winning 24-7.
In 1974, the team sought to three-peat, but lost a playoff heartbreaker as a late touchdown pass from Ken Stabler gave Oakland a two-point victory. Griese would serve as the team’s QB for another five seasons, making the playoffs twice but never again advancing out of the divisional round.
Shula, in turn, kept coaching at an extremely high level. In 1981, the team won yet another AFC East crown, only to fall to San Diego in one of greatest playoff games of all time, dubbed the “Epic in Miami.” Maybe his most impressive achievement, outside of the perfect ’72 season, of course, was riding an incredible defense and mediocre offense to the Super Bowl in the strike-shortened 1982 season, where they lost to the Washington Redskins. As a result of the playoff loss, the Dolphins received the 27th pick in the draft, which they used to select QB Dan Marino, who had dropped in the draft after a poorer-than-expected senior season at Pitt.
Marino went on to break all kinds of NFL passing records. In only his second season, he set the record for touchdown passes (48) and yards (5084) in a single season. His favorite targets were known as the “Marks Brothers, Mark Clayton and Mark Duper, who made eight pro-bowls between them. The Dolphins would take the AFC’s top seed with a 14-2 record, but a bet on the Miami Dolphins to win the Super Bowl XIX would not pay, as Marino struggled and was beaten by Joe Montana and the 49ers, 38-16.
That would turn out to be Marino’s only Super Bowl appearance. Even though the Miami Dolphins odds would be good just by virtue of Marino being their quarterback, the team would advance as far as the conference championship only twice more in Marino’s career. In 1985, they were upset by the Patriots (the Miami Dolphins odds were -5.5), and in 1992, they would be blown out by Jim Kelly’s Bills.
All in all, Marino would play seventeen seasons as the Dolphins’ signal caller, winning five division titles and making the playoffs ten times. When he retired after the 1999 season, Marino held an incredible forty NFL single-season and career passing records. If he is not the greatest QB of all time, he is certainly the greatest QB never to win a Super Bowl.
Jimmy Johnson, newly inducted HOF coach who won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys, coached Marino’s last four years with the team. Upon Marion’s departure, Johnson also left, causing a complete culture change for the franchise. As such, the Miami Dolphins odds of returning to the playoffs were not good, but new head coach Dave Wannstedt took the team back to the playoffs in his first two seasons, riding a strong defense anchored by feared HOF DE Jason Taylor.
After that, however, a futures bet on the Miami Dolphins would not have been a good idea. Miami would have five different head coaches until Tony Sparano led them back to the playoffs in 2008, winning the division after Patriots QB Tom Brady injured his knee in the first week of the season. That would be an aberration, however, as the Dolphins would make the playoffs only once more, in 2016 as a wildcard team, when they would be dismissed by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Recently, the team has struggled, and some even bet on the Miami Dolphins to lose all of their games in the 2019 campaign. But the team showed toughness under new coach Brian Flores, and a record of 5-11 felt like an accomplishment. The team improved to 10-6 in 2020 with a combination of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, but they narrowly missed the playoffs. It's now Tagovailoa's team in 2021, so we'll see how they contend with a strong Bills team and an improved New England squad.