Miami Dolphins (3-1) at New York Jets (2-2)
The Dolphins are 3-1, with their only loss coming on a short week last week in Cincinnati after beginning the year as the last undefeated AFC team, but they haven’t been as good as that suggests, as one of their wins came in a game against the Patriots in which they won the turnover battle by 3, but were become even in first down rate and yards per play, which are more predictive, while their other two wins came against teams in the Ravens and Bills who were dealing with significant injury problems. Even not taking those injury problems into account, the Dolphins rank just 15th in schedule adjusted efficiency, less than one point above average.
The Jets, meanwhile, are 2-2 and, while they’re not as good as their record, they may be underrated, as their decent record is widely regarded as not indicative of their level of play. They do rank just 26th in schedule adjusted overall efficiency, but that’s mostly because of an offense that ranks 29th in schedule adjusted efficiency, which I expect to improve with quarterback Zach Wilson returning from injury last week and left tackle Duane Brown returning this week. Their defense is significantly improved over last year’s dead last ranked unit, ranking 16th in schedule adjusted defensive efficiency this season, as a result of off-season additions and key players returning from injury, while their special teams remain dominant, ranking 2nd in schedule adjusted efficiency, after ranking 2nd last season as well.
The Jets shouldn’t be getting more than a field goal at home against a middling Dolphins team that is starting a backup quarterback, even if Teddy Bridgewater is unlikely to be a significant dropoff from injured Tua Tagovailoa. This line might not seem that high at 3.5, but about 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less, with 1 in 6 games decided by exactly a field goal, and, largely as a result of that, 3.5-point underdogs cover the spread more than any other number, covering at a 53.0% rate all-time, which is actually profitable by itself. My calculated line is Jets -1, so we’re getting great line value with the host. This is one of my highest confidence picks of the week and I like the money line as well.
New York Jets 20 Miami Dolphins 19 Upset Pick +150
Pick against the spread: NY Jets +3.5