From the moment the Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Ryan Fitzpatrick held the title of Miami’s “interim QB.”
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Tagovailoa was getting promoted – as he will serve as the team’s new starting quarterback.
Fitzpatrick did a tremendous job of warming up the Dolphins’ bus for Tagovailoa, as through six weeks in 2020 the Dolphins are one of the surprise stories in the NFL at 3-3. They look up only at the 4-2 Buffalo Bills in the AFC East standings and are currently ahead of the 2-3 New England Patriots.
The Dolphins have a bye week in Week 7, but Tagovailoa will make his first career start in Week 8 at home against the LA Rams. Tagovailoa saw his first NFL action this past Sunday against the Jets with the Dolphins comfortably ahead. He played just five snaps but did the most he could with limited time, completing both of the passes he threw for a total of nine yards.
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Super Bowl odds
Just prior to the start of the 2020 season, the Dolphins were +8000 to win the Super Bowl at FanDuel Sportsbook. They are now +14000 to win it all at FD, though it will be interesting to see if those futures odds change in the coming days based on Tuesday’s news.
Miami is currently +10000 to raise the Lombardi Trophy at DraftKings Sportsbook and is +15000 to win it all at BetMGM. Teams with similar title odds at FanDuel include the Detroit Lions (+12000), LA Chargers (+15000) and Minnesota Vikings (+15000) – though none of those teams are on the upward trajectory that the Dolphins are currently on.
Miami is fresh off a 24-0 blanking of the lowly New York Jets, and they blasted the defending NFC champion 49ers in Santa Clara the week prior, 43-17.
All three of the Dolphins’ losses were far from embarrassments, too. They hung with the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Week 1 (21-11 loss), nearly beat the division-leading Bills in Week 2 (31-28 loss), and kept it relatively close against one of the NFL’s elite teams in the Seahawks in Week 4 (31-23 loss).
The Dolphins’ conference odds have not yet budged either, sitting at +5000 at DraftKings. They are +7500 at FanDuel and are +8000 at BetMGM to win the AFC for the first time since 1984.
After their Week 8 game against the 4-2 Rams and their Week 9 meeting with the 4-2 Cardinals, the Dolphins’ schedule lightens up a bit. They then have the 1-4 Chargers, the 0-6 Jets and the 1-4 Bengals.
Another thing to keep in mind when assessing whether or not to wager on the Dolphins to make a run this season is to factor in that the AFC will have one extra playoff slot this year thanks to playoff expansion. If the Dolphins can be at or around .500, like they currently are, in late December then they could very well sneak into the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season.
The Dolphins were +700 to win the AFC East at DraftKings Sportsbook Tuesday afternoon. New England, despite having a worse record than Miami at the moment, is +225. The Bills are the favorite at -200.
Miami is halfway through its division schedule as it has already played the Patriots, Bills and Jets once. There are late-season games against the Patriots (Dec. 20) and Bills (Jan. 3, 2021) on Miami’s schedule that could have major implications in who captures the division crown.
Above all else, Tagovailoa is a winner. He was introduced to the world in the 2018 CFB National Championship game when he replaced Jalen Hurts at quarterback for Alabama, and he led the Crimson Tide to a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Georgia to win the title.
A devastating hip injury in his final season at Alabama last year made Tagovailoa an iffy NFL prospect in the minds of some, but the Dolphins did not hesitate in drafting him with the No. 5 pick this past spring.
Tagovailoa was +800 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at FanDuel prior to the start of the season. Only Joe Burrow (+230) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (+360) had lower odds.
Tagovailoa is now a longshot at +1400 to win the award given that many other top rookies have had a sizable head start. Justin Herbert (+155), Joe Burrow (+260) and Justin Jefferson (+750) are the current favorites to win the award at FD.