New York Jets (3-3) at Miami Dolphins (3-2)
These two teams both have decent records, but neither one is good. The Jets’ wins have come over the Dolphins, the Browns, and the Jaguars, with the latter two victories coming by just a field goal. They rank just 29th in first down rate differential at -5.04% and still rank dead last in my roster rankings. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have wins over the Chargers, Titans, and Falcons, but their win over the Chargers was only because the Chargers missed two makeable field goals and their win over the Titans was because of a return touchdown and because Matt Cassel was starting. Their victory in Atlanta was impressive, but they still lost the first down battle and they rank dead last on the season in first down rate differential at -6.44%. They also rank near the bottom in my roster rankings, though their defense has been a lot better since linebacker Lawrence Timmons returned to the team.
Timmons played a big role in the Dolphins’ victory in Atlanta last week, by far the Dolphins’ best team performance of the season. You’d expect a victory like that to shift this line in Miami’s favor, especially with the Jets losing at home to the Patriots, but this line has actually moved from -4.5 in favor of Miami to -3 in the past week, pretty significant line movement. Neither one of these teams is good, but the Dolphins are about 2 points better, so we’re getting some line value with the host at -3. This line suggests these two teams are about even, which isn’t quite accurate.
The Dolphins are in a tough spot with a Thursday night game against the Ravens on deck, as favorites are 59-92 ATS before Thursday Night Football since 2008, but the Jets aren’t in an easy spot either, as they host the Falcons next week. The early line has them as 7 point home underdogs and teams are 30-70 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 6 or more, as it’s tough for teams to be completely focused throughout the week when there’s a tough home game on deck the following week. The Dolphins should be the right pick here, but there’s not enough to bet on them confidently here unless this line drops below 3.
Miami Dolphins 17 New York Jets 13
Pick against the spread: Miami -3