Miami Dolphins (3-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)
The Dolphins are 3-0, so it may be surprising to see them as 4-point underdogs in Cincinnati against a 1-2 Bengals team, especially since about 30% of games are decided by 4 points or fewer. However, the Bengals could also easily be 3-0. They lost week 1 in a game in which they lost the turnover battle by 5, but still could have won if they had made one of two makeable game winning kicks, winning the first down rate and yards per play battle by 11.36% and 0.22 respectively, which are both much more predictive than turnovers. The Bengals then followed that up by losing by a field goal on the road in a close game in Dallas. They may have the inferior record, but they still have a two point edge in my roster rankings, so this line is about right.
The Bengals also have a huge advantage of being at home on a short week, especially in a non-divisional game. Non-divisional home favorites cover at a 63.6% rate all-time, including 64.3% as favorites of more than a field goal. We aren’t getting any real line value with the Bengals, but they should be the right side, especially with the Dolphins coming off of a huge home upset win over the Bills, a win that is not as impressive when you consider how many defensive starters the Bills were missing. Teams cover at just a 40.6% after a win as home underdogs of 4.5 points or more. This isn’t a big play because of the lack of line value, but this is worth betting based on the great spot the Bengals are in.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 Miami Dolphins 20
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati -4