Dolphins vs. Bengals Odds, Picks, and Prediction for Thursday Night Football
Dolphins vs. Bengals Odds
|Date||Thursday, Sept. 29|
This week on Thursday Night Football, NFL fans will be treated to a marquee matchup between the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals. Miami is fresh off of a thrilling 21-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills, and will be seeking the organization’s first 4-0 start to a campaign since 1995. The Bengals are the defending AFC Champions, but have experienced a slow start to the new season, with their only victory thus far coming against the lowly New York Jets. Oddsmakers are expecting Cincinnati to be the second NFL team from Ohio to win on Thursday this fall, pricing the Bengals as 3.5-point home favorites on the spread.
After scoring 42 points in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens, Miami scored only 21 points in Week 3 at home against the Buffalo Bills. Following a low scoring output, it is tempting to think that the media may have prematurely crowned Head Coach Mike McDaniel an offensive genius. Yet, a deeper dive into their Week 3 matchup only further strengthens the case that McDaniel is one of the premier offensive minds in the NFL. Despite his offense only possessing the ball for 19 minutes and 20 seconds, and despite only running 39 total offensive plays for the afternoon – Miami still managed to score 21 points. In a normal week, with a more typical game script, the Dolphins will likely run closer to 60 plays. McDaniel is scheming-open wide receivers and using pre-snap motion, arguably, more intelligently than any other coach in the league so far in 2022. Assuming Tua Tagovailoa is healthy and ready to go for this contest, the Dolphins should once again have numerous scoring opportunities.
Defensively, the outlook is less optimistic for Miami on Thursday Night Football. In Week 3, the Dolphins defense was on the field for 90 plays against a tough Buffalo offense, which possessed the ball for 40 minutes and 40 seconds. Jevon Holland played every single defensive snap in the contest, with multiple players succumbing to cramps and exhaustion in the extreme heat. On a short week, Miami’s individual player stamina and their depth will be put to the test against a Cincinnait offense that has more talent at the skill positions than nearly every other roster in the league.
Despite having gone to the Super Bowl this past February, Cincinnati has been far from formidable to begin the new campaign – having lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys during the first two weeks of the season before taking care of business against the New York Jets in Week 3. A significant portion of the blame for the slow start can appropriately be assigned to the continued struggles of the offensive line. Following a 2021 season in which Joe Burrow was sacked an incredulous 51 times, the front office invested heavily in the line during the offseason – bringing in Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, and La’el Collins to fortify this group. Yet, the investments have yet to prove valuable, with Burrow having been sacked a league-worst 15 times through three contests. Stalled drives and an inability to protect Burrow have led to Cincinnati ranking 20th in EPA/play through three weeks. The big men up front will need to play well in this matchup if the Bengals want to have a strong day on the offensive side of the ball.
Fortunately for Bengals’ fans, the early portion of the season has not been all doom-and-gloom. After playing the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Jets – Cincinnati ranks 5th in defensive EPA/play. The secondary unit has been particularly strong, with Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton both having excellent starts to the year. The main weakness for this unit continues to be Eli Apple, who has consistently graded as one of the worst players at his position since entering the league as a first round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2016. If the Bengals can manage to hide the deficiencies of Apple in this one, they should be able to turn-in another solid defensive performance.
Dolphins vs. Bengals Picks & Predictions
Per Clevta, there have been only two instances since 2000 in which a defense has played 90-plus snaps in a game on Sunday, then been forced to play again on a Thursday or Friday. In 2016, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers allowed 43 points to the Atlanta Falcons. In 2020, the New Orleans Saints allowed 33 points to the Minnesota Vikings. This past weekend, the Buffalo Bills ran 90 offensive plays against Miami’s defense on a day when the temperature approached 100 degrees. The Dolphins do not lack talent, and they even have a healthy amount of depth on the defensive side of the ball. Still, they are likely to find it difficult to keep points off of the board this evening at Paycor Stadium.
PICK: Bengals Team Total over 26.5 points @ -110, DraftKings
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