Miami Dolphins (1-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)
The Bengals could easily be 0-3 right now, if not for a missed extra point by the Jets that could have sent the game to overtime. However, they’ve had a tough schedule so far. Both the Steelers and the Broncos (their two losses) are legitimate playoff teams, while the Jets are an at least capable opponent (when they’re not turning it over 8 times). They have a big chance to bounce back in a big way this week though, against a Dolphins team that figures to be very overmatched this week.
There are a few reasons they figure to be overmatched. For one, they’re missing a significant amount of key players. Talented center Mike Pouncey remains out, while backup center Anthony Steen will join him this week. Starting running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron are also out, though they’re not as important as Pouncey. On the defensive side, linebackers Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins are both questionable on a short week. On the other side, the Bengals get linebacker stud linebacker Vontaze Burfict back from his 3 game suspension.
On top of that, the Dolphins are in a tough spot as a visiting team on Thursday Night. Home non-divisional favorites on Thursday nights are 16-35 ATS since 1989, including 9-21 ATS as underdogs of 4 or more. Thursday night games are tough enough for players, but they’re especially tough when you have to go on the road and face a superior opponent, unless that opponent is a divisional opponent that you play twice a year. The Dolphins are unfamiliar with the Bengals as an opponent and are significantly inferior talent wise.
They finished last season 31st in rate of moving the chains differential and are only 23rd in that metric so far in this young season. They would have lost to the banged up Browns if the Browns could hit a field goal. Meanwhile, the Bengals remain a legitimate playoff contender. If anything, this line is too low at 7. Either the public doesn’t realize how bad the Dolphins are or they’re mislead by the Bengals record, or both. Making matters worse for the Dolphins, they’re are coming off of an overtime game. Predictably, teams do not do well on a Thursday Night off of an overtime game, going 4-20 ATS since 1989, including 2-13 ATS on the road. This is my Pick of the Week.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 Miami Dolphins 13
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati -7
Confidence: Pick of the Week