Thursday Night Football: Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals
The Dolphins head north to take on the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium to kick off Week 4. Both teams look to get back to a .500 record after a rough start to the year. The game will be broadcasted in primetime on NFL Network at 8:25 EST.
At BetOnline.ag, the current odds are Dolphins +7.5 (-115) and Bengals -7.5 (-105) and the total is at 44.5 with -110 vig on both sides. So far, about 70 percent of wagers have been placed on the Bengals. The over is seeing even more lopsided action. About 80 percent of bettors think this one will go over the 44.5 point total.
Miami Dolphins: Road Game Weakness
Miami started the season with back-to-back road losses against the Seahawks and Patriots. They finally got their first win at home against the visiting Browns which improved their record to 1-2. However, Cleveland missed a chip shot field goal late in the game to send it to overtime. Both teams punted on their first possession of the extra time period, but the Dolphins scored a touchdown on their second possession to win the game 30-24.
The most notable injury news for the Dolphins surrounds running back Arian Foster. Foster is notoriously injury-prone and has spent most of the past few seasons dinged up. He was operating in a bell cow role until he went down with injury. Foster will be a game-time decision and is 50-50 to suit up, at best. The Dolphins will likely continue their four-man committee at running back, with Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake as the lead backs.
Cincinnati Bengals: Back-to-Back Losses
Coming off an AFC North Title last season, Cincinnati has not started off the season the way they envisioned. The Bengals won narrowly in Week 1 against the Jets, but have lost their last two games against the Steelers and Broncos.
Their normally stout pass defense has been shaky to start the year. Cincy couldn’t get much going offensively last week against Denver, but the Broncos perhaps boast the best defense in the NFL. However, their defense allowed Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian to throw for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
Tight end Tyler Eifert still has not played a down this season. Although there was talk of him playing this week, it appears he will not suit up for Thursday’s contest. He does look to be on track for a Week 5 return and has begun practicing on a limited basis.
The Bengals will get back linebacker Vontaze Burfict back this week from his three-game suspension, which gives the entire defense a boost. However, they will likely be without cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who is listed as doubtful with a hamstring injury. Kirkpatrick has been one of the better corners in the league, so his loss is a big hit to what appears to be an inconsistent secondary.
NFL Betting Prediction
Neither of these teams are playing well, but I must say that I am impressed by Miami so far even though the Browns just took them to overtime and they have just a 1-2 record. The Dolphins nearly beat Seattle in Week 1 and almost completed a comeback attempt against the Patriots in Week 2.
Miami should go to the air early and often in this one, an area where the Bengals have been especially weak. The injury to Kirkpatrick is should open up an already leaky secondary. The Dolphins receivers are a highly underrated group. Perhaps this one is a trap, but it’s tough to lay off the Fins getting more than a touchdown in this spot.
Pick: Dolphins +7.5