The Miami Dolphins (3-0) head north to face the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) for "Thursday Night Football." Looking to get in on the action? Here’s where the line currently stands for this week’s tilt.
- Moneyline: Dolphins (+165) | Bengals (-200)
- Spread: Dolphins +4 (+110) | Bengals -4 (-110)
- Total: 47 Over (-110) | Under (-110)
The biggest storyline heading into this game is the health of Tua Tagavailoa, who has looked like a new man under the leadership of rookie head coach Mike McDaniel. Tagavailoa has thrown for the second-most yards (925) and is tied with Patrick Mahomes for the third-most passing touchdowns (8) through three contests. However, last Sunday Tagavailoa took a hard hit that appeared to be a concussion, but was instead reported to be a back and ankle injury. Ultimately, Tagavailoa returned to the game and led the Dolphins to a 21-19 victory over the Super Bowl favorite Bills, bringing the Dolphins' record to 3-0. The Dolphins along with the Eagles remain the NFL’s only two undefeated teams.
Tagavailoa has not fully practiced this week and if he cannot go, Teddy Bridgewater will get the start under center for Miami.
This line opened with the Bengals favored at -3.5. It has since moved from -5.5 before settling at -4 on Wednesday, indicating oddsmakers feel less confident in Tagavailoa on a short week. Additionally, Jaylen Waddle has also been limited in practice due to a groin injury. The second-year receiver has racked up the second-most receiving yards (342) behind only Stefon Diggs (344).
The Dolphins have covered the spread in all three games this year and won two games Straight Up as the underdog.
The Bengals got off to a rough start but looked much more like the reigning AFC champions on Sunday vs. the Jets, logging a 27-12 victory on the road and covering the spread. It’s the only game they have covered this season and despite being the favorites in all three matchups, Cincinnati has a 1-2 record.
Cincinnati’s playmakers include Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon and, of course, Joe Burrow. When he’s upright, he’s one of the best in the game. The new revamped O-line has been doing him no favors this year, but he’s still thrown for the 10th-most yards on the sixth-most passing attempts. Expect the ball to be in the air vs. a Miami defense that only brings pressure 13.3 [percent of the time and has allowed the second-most passing yards to opposing QBs (931) and six passing touchdowns. The Miami defense has allowed an average of 21.3 points per game this year.
Cincinnati’s defense, on the other hand, has been better. Cincinnati has allowed 714 yards and only two passing TDs to opposing QBs and they are top nine in rushing yards allowed. With either a limited Tagavailoa (look what happened with Justin Herbert last week) or Bridgewater under center, it makes sense that the home team is favored. The Cincinnati defense has allowed an average of only 18 points per game so far this season.
Miami has scored an average of 27.7 points per game with a healthy Tagavailoa under center, while Cincinnati has scored 21.3.
It’s tempting to take the Dolphins and the points because they have been so dominant this year, but I am going to grab the Bengals to make a statement at home. The advantage goes to Burrow for this week and the Dolphins’ win streak comes to an end on Thursday.
The Pick: Bengals -4