We had a bit of a downer Thursday Night Football game last week between the Steelers and Browns, but we’ll look to get back on track this week with a clash of two high-powered offenses doing battle. We’ll break down the game and give you our predictions and favorite bets to help make the game more enjoyable for you.
Miami Dolphins (3-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)
@ Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, OH
How to Watch:
- Day: Thursday, September 15th
- Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
- Channel: Amazon Prime
- Live Stream: fuboTV (only available in Cincinnati and Miami markets)
Top Sportsbook Promos:
The Miami Dolphins come into Thursday night as the last remaining undefeated team in the AFC. They have experienced success under first-year head coach Mike McDaniel’s offensive scheme, which has been more aggressive vertically down the field and allowed Miami to flourish.
Tua Tagovailoa has been great so far this season, completing 71.3% of his passes for 925 yards and eight touchdowns. He also leads the NFL in air yards per pass attempt, and while he has been intercepted twice and sacked five times, he has clearly taken his game to another level while throwing to Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill.
However, there is an injury concern for Tua. The back of his head slammed to the turf after being pushed by Matt Milano. Even though the Dolphins claim that Tua suffered a back injury and not a head injury, the quarterback staggered and almost fell when trying to walk, so there is clearly a concern that Tua suffered more than a back injury on Sunday.
You can also get a hint that something wasn’t right when you look at how the Dolphins used Tua in the second half. Despite the Bills being down their entire starting secondary and then also losing replacement cornerback Christian Benford to a fractured hand, Tua was just 5-for-8 for 110 yards in the second half, with 77 of those yards coming on two fourth-quarter plays. While the Dolphins’ offense didn’t run a lot of plays overall, they still threw the ball just 18 times and ran it 17, which is curious given all of the Bills’ injuries in the secondary.
If Tua can’t go, the team will turn to Teddy Bridgewater, but will still likely look to push the ball down the field since the Bengals have the eighth-ranked rushing defense so far this season, and Miami has had little success running the ball.
When Cincinnati has the ball, we’ll see just how much of a toll Miami’s brutal matchup against the Bills will take on this team. The game was played in nearly 100-degree temperatures that Stefon Diggs said led him to have full body cramps. The Miami defense was on the field for 90 plays, and also played a ton of snaps the week before against Baltimore. Now they’ll have just three days to rest and recover before they take on the Bengals.
Even with this Cincinnati team not firing on all cylinders, this Thursday Night Football matchup could be a perfect situation for the Bengals after they cruised to a relatively easy win against the Jets last week.
Additionally, Miami’s blitzing defense plays into what Joe Burrow does well. The signal-caller had a terrible game in Week 1 against the Steelers but got back on track a bit last week. The Dolphins’ defense ranks 31st overall in total yards and, despite their victory, did give up 400 yards passing to Josh Allen last week. The Bills quarterback even completed his first 11 consecutive passes. If you pair that with the fatigue mentioned earlier, this could be a sneaky good spot for the Bengals’ passing attack.
An attack led by wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who recorded his 15th career touchdown reception in Week 3, which is tied for the second-most among all players since he entered the league. On the season, Chase leads the team with 212 receiving yards on 21 receptions and has added two touchdowns. However, the Bengals also have talented receivers in Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, who had a great game last week, which means they could give Miami fits.
A concern for the Bengals has been their supposedly revamped offensive line which has simply not been good so far this season. Burrow has been sacked an AFC-high 15 times, and Miami will certainly try to put push and take advantage of that early weakness.
There is some concern about the consistency of both offenses. Miami did most of their damage in one quarter against the Ravens, and the Bengals needed to face the Jets. We know that both offenses have clear talent, but on a short week, which version of these units are we going to see? It could make sense then to take the under, especially with a banged-up Tua and the trend that most prime-time games have been going under so far in 2022.
Top Player Props:
If you’re going to be betting on action besides the moneyline, here are three player props we like from Thursday night’s game:
We mentioned above that the Dolphins have major problems in the secondary. There are many metrics that all point to the same conclusion. They’re 29th in Pro Football Focus’ pass coverage grade, 28th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA, and have given up the second-most passing yards in the league. Additionally, safety Brandon Jones, cornerback Xavien Howard, and cornerback Kader Kohou are all listed as questionable after that really long game last Sunday. As a result, I think Joe Burrow over 272.5 passing yards seems like a pretty good bet, especially with how bad Cincinnati has been at running the ball.
But if the Bengals are going to have success passing the ball, then we need to focus on some of their receivers. Many may gravitate towards Ja’Marr Chase, but I like focusing on Tee Higgins over 64.5 receiving yards. Higgins has gone over this in 11 of his last 16 games and both games that he completed this season. The only game so far in 2022 he hasn’t surpassed this is in Week 1 when he suffered a concussion in the first half of the game.
I also think that the Miami fatigue is going to impact this run game up against the Bengals’ 8th-ranked run defense. Chase Edmonds had the big touchdown game on Sunday, but he played only snaps to Raheem Mostert’s 24. Mostert also ran 13 routes and had eight carries while Edmonds ran just eight routes and had six carries. Mostert still leads this committee, so I think Chase Edmonds will go under 33.5 rushing yards in a tough matchup.