The line on Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins game was at 18.5 points around here on Thursday afternoon, and it still doesn’t feel like enough.

Miami has done just about everything except throw up a white flag or sign Ish Smith to let the world -- and more discouragingly its locker room -- know that only two dates matter anymore. Day 1 of the 2020 NFL draft and Day 1 of the 2021 draft.

After a series of trades for picks, the Dolphins went out and lost to the Ravens last week, 59-10. New England dominated Pittsburgh, 33-3. Inquirer handicapper Vegas Vic spotted 19- to 19.5-point lines in Sin City for Sunday’s game. We’ll probably see it get into the 20s.

More than a dozen NFL games have gone off with spreads higher than 18.5, but only one where the favorite was on the road. The Falcons, in 1987, had a team full of roster replacement players when it faced the 49ers in Week 5. Joe Montana, Roger Craig, and Dwight Clark were among the San Fran scabs who crossed the picket line and decided to play.

The Vegas houses that booked the replacement games made the 49ers 23-point favorites. Montana started, came out when the Niners built a 13-point lead, went back in when Atlanta made it close, and walked off with an eight-point win. Less than 9,000 fans showed up. It was bizarre, but San Fran was never close to covering that big number.

“I’m sure it could have been a much higher score," wide receiver Clark said that day. “But I don’t think that’s what [head coach Bill Walsh] had in mind.”

The biggest 'dogs

Since 1978, the underdog is 9-2 against the spread when the line is 20 points or more.

Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

Date
Favorite
Underdog
Line
Score
Covered
10/13/13
at Denver
Jacksonville
26.5
Den, 35-19
Underdog
11/25/07
at New England
Eagles
24.5
N.E., 31-28
Underdog
12/5/93
at San Francisco
Cincinnati
24
SF, 21-8
Underdog
10/11/87
San Francisco
at Atlanta
23
SF, 25-17
Underdog
12/23/07
at New England
Miami
22.5
N.E., 28-7
Underdog
10/11/87
at Dallas
Eagles
21.5
Dal., 41-22
Underdog
12/4/11
at New England
Indianapolis
20.5
N.E., 31-24
Underdog
12/16/07
at New England
N.Y. Jets
20.5
N.E., 20-10
Underdog
10/13/91
at Buffalo
Indianapolis
20
Buf., 42-6
Favorite
9/22/13
at Seattle
Jacksonville
20
Sea., 45-17
Favorite
12/19/92
at San Francisco
Tampa Bay
20
S.F., 21-14
Underdog

Pay attention to history

According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, there have been 11 point spreads of 20 or more since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. Nine of the underdogs covered. We haven’t seen a 20-point spread since the Broncos laid 26.5 to Jacksonville in 2013. Denver won the game, 35-19 but did not cover.

It’s widely held that the largest line was the 27 Pittsburgh laid to visiting Tampa Bay in 1976. They crushed the winless Bucs, 42-0.

Which brings us to this week. While it’s hard to imagine Bill Belichick and the Patriots running it up on former defensive assistant and current Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, covering three touchdowns doesn’t necessarily require Tom Brady to throw bombs deep into the fourth quarter. Look at how they ground down the Steelers last week.

WEEK 2 ODDS: FanDuel | Parx | PointsBet

This is a revenge game for New England, which lost to the Dolphins in Week 14 on a fluke kickoff return touchdown at the finish. It helped cost the Patriots home-field advantage for the playoffs. Brady has lost five of his last six starts in Miami, but the Patriots’ side will see heavy betting action like they always do, especially in New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Hard to pick against New England, which is exactly what the bookies are expecting.

“Every bet is Patriots,” William Hill sportsbook’s Nick Bogdanovich told Covers.com. “Going to be a monster decision for Week 2.”

P.S. Brady is 0-5 ATS when favored by more than 18.

Eagles chatter

The Eagles are 7-4-1 in Carson Wentz’s starts on the road since 2017. Over also has hit seven times. ... PropsBet in New Jersey is offering 3-1 that Wentz will throw for 300-plus yards and the Eagles will win. ... This will be the fourth time Doug Pederson goes against Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, but the first time in Atlanta. The Eagles covered the previous three meetings, which all came out under.

This and that

The Jets line went from plus-2.5 to -plus 6 when it was announced that second-year quarterback Sam Darnold would miss the next several weeks battling mononucleosis. Trevor Siemian will make his first start since 2017. ... The Browns are coming off a dismal home opening performance against Tennessee and are still touchdown favorites for a Monday night road game. ... Penn State is 2-5-1 against the spread when laying 10 or more to Pittsburgh since 1990. The Lions are minus-17 in what could be the last Penn State-Pitt game for a while. ... William Hill put the number of receptions for Imhotep product D.J. Moore at 4.5 for Thursday night’s game against Tampa.