The red hot Miami Dolphins head to Cincinnati in Week 4 to face the slow starting Bengals in a huge clash on Thursday Night Football.
Thursday Night Football returns tonight with the 3-0 Dolphins, led by Tua Tagovailoa, heading into Cincinnati for a date with the reigning AFC Champs, the 1-2 Bengals. While Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense has looked a bit concerning through three weeks, Tua and the Dolphins have exceeded expectations, winning each of their last two games as underdogs to the Ravens and Bills.
Time will tell if this Dolphins team will show any fatigue following a heated divisional win over the Bills. On the flip side, the jury is still out on a Cincinnati offensive line that has allowed a total of 15 sacks over their first three weeks. Will we see a high-flying offensive shootout, or will the 7-3 prime time unders trend continue? Head to my Twitter and let me know your thoughts! Best of luck, and let’s have a night!
Dolphins Team Total Under 23 (-110)
This play right here is my favorite pick of tonight’s betting card. I am well aware of how hot the Dolphins have been and how strong their offense has looked through three weeks, but there are a few factors that lead me to believe it could be a slow night for Tua and company.
One of the leading factors, and if we see a similar situation in the future you will most likely see a similar play from me, is the Dolphins coming off of a very tough, intense and taxing divisional game against the Buffalo Bills. Even with a full week of recovery, this might be a solid spot to fade the Dolphins, but on a short week, I firmly believe that the Dolphins will be out of rhythm offensively.
Tua is expected to play tonight, but with any nagging injuries potentially looming, this game could be a serious struggle. The other factor that I love, and want to turn more people onto, is how strong Cincinnati is at second half defensive adjustments.
Through three weeks of 2022, and dating back to mid-season last year around the time when they turned a corner on the season, they are arguably the best second half defense in the entire NFL. To this point, they have allowed exactly three points in the second half of each of their games, and in 2021 ranked third in the NFL with an average of 9.0 points allowed in the second half, and as mentioned, the improvement ascended mid-season. Across their last 15 games, including their postseason run, they are allowing 6.4 points per game in the second half of games, including holding Kansas City to three second half points not once, but twice.
If I were forced to make a selection on the spread, I would take Cincy -3.5, but I personally have significantly higher confidence in this pick to back the Bengals’ defense. However, if this game is close at halftime, or even sees the Bengals with a deficit, I will absolutely be taking the Bengals on the spread given the right number because of how strong they are in the second half. Keep an eye on the first half to second half difference of this team on a weekly basis moving forward. Give me a 24-14 Bengals win.
Joe Burrow Over 273.5 Pass Yards (-110)
Surprisingly enough, this will mark only the third prime time regular season start for Joe Burrow, his first two appearances landing on Thursday Night Football as well. Of course it’s a small sample size, and his record stands at 1-1, but as an individual, Joe Burrow has risen to the occasion under the lights in both of those two games, but ultimately throughout his competitive football career.
His first two Thursday Night Football performances include, a 316 yard, three touchdown performance in his second career start in a 35-30 loss to the Browns, and last year, 348 yards on 25-32 throwing with two touchdowns in a win over Urban Meyer’s Jaguars.
The concern with the 2022 Bengals and Joe Burrow’s week to week performance, is of course the struggles of the offensive line. Those issues have not necessarily been solved, but as we watched last week, when the opposing team does not show a high level of success in the pass rush department, Burrow and this offense look significantly better. Following a seven and six sack performance in weeks’ one and two to open the season, Burrow took only two sacks last week en route to a 275 yard, three touchdown outing.
In tonight’s case, Burrow will face a Miami defense that currently ranks 26th in sack percentage, just south of the Jets’ 23rd ranking, and far below Pittsburgh at 11, and Dallas at 1, Cincy’s first two opponents. I expect Miami to improve on that number in 2022 and ultimately rank in the middle of the pack, but at the end of the day, this defense just doesn’t have the same firepower as Dallas, or Pittsburgh, who still had a healthy TJ Watt during the length of that game.
Though this Bengals’ offense has not quite looked like a well-oiled machine in 2022, I do expect them to elevate to another level tonight against a defense that should be gassed. Weeks’ two and three saw Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen fly over 300 yards against this Miami defense, I’m expecting a third straight to hit the books tonight with Joe Burrow. I’ll go with 325 and three touchdown passes to improve his Thursday Night Football record to 2-1.
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Giants 2H -0.5 L
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