Week 4 of the NFL season kicks off Thursday night time with a showdown between the undefeated Miami Dolphins, recent off hanging on for a 21-19 win over the beforehand unbeaten Buffalo Payments, and the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, who lastly bought their first win final week, 27-12, in opposition to the New York Jets. With the season now in full swing, there are many alternatives to wager on the sport in case you so select. So what performs do our analysts like for this matchup?
Betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Tyler Fulghum, Joe Fortenbaugh, Anita Marks and Erin Dolan; fantasy and sports activities betting analysts Eric Moody and Andre Snellings; and ESPN Stats & Info’s Seth Walder, ESPN analyst Jason Fitz and Soccer Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz present their prime performs for Thursday’s tilt.
Be aware: Strains from Caesars Sportsbook until in any other case indicated.
Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-4, 47)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET, Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati
It is a matchup of two shock storylines this season, because the Dolphins (3-0) are the AFC’s solely unbeaten staff, and the defending AFC champion Bengals (1-2) have struggled to begin the season, beating solely the Jets. Do you imagine the Dolphins (16-1 to win the Tremendous Bowl, 8-1 to win the AFC) are pretty much as good as their file signifies, the Bengals (30-1 Tremendous Bowl, 15-1 AFC) are as dangerous as they’ve performed, each or neither? Is there a future on the market to take?
Fortenbaugh: Miami is nice however not so good as its file signifies. The Dolphins made up a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit in Week 2 in opposition to the Ravens and one way or the other bought previous Buffalo regardless of holding the ball for simply 19 minutes whereas getting outgained by 285 whole yards. It is simple to think about a world through which the Dolphins are 1-2 after three weeks, through which case we aren’t even having this dialog. Once more, this staff is nice. And the Dolphins are actually enjoyable to look at. However they are not pretty much as good as their file signifies.
Kezirian: All of it relies upon the way you consider a 3-0 file. Are the Dolphins a respectable playoff contender and able to a Tremendous Bowl run, if sure issues broke their means? Sure, I do imagine they’re. Sarcastically, they sort of remind me of final 12 months’s Bengals. In no way have they got a better energy ranking than Buffalo, however the Dolphins additionally shouldn’t be penalized a lot for beating them, which is kind of what’s occurring due to the statistics. For his or her first landing, the Dolphins possessed the ball after a strip sack of Josh Allen and restoration on Buffalo’s 6-yard line. Issues like that occur. Nevertheless, whereas I do imagine the Payments ought to have received the sport, additionally they squandered key conditions. Sooner or later, we’ve got to acknowledge that as a signature weak spot and never only a statistical outlier.
Schatz: No, I don’t imagine that the Dolphins are pretty much as good as their file signifies, particularly since they’re getting much more consideration on condition that there are solely two undefeated groups. Miami is just eleventh in defense-adjusted worth over common (DVOA) after three video games, though a few of that’s as a result of we do not add in opponent changes till after Week 4 and the Dolphins have performed a troublesome schedule up to now. A small worth guess proper now could be Miami to overlook the playoffs, which is presently at +310. Our Soccer Outsiders playoff odds simulation nonetheless leaves the Dolphins out of the postseason 29.5% of the time.
Snellings: I believe the Bengals are higher than their file signifies, for a couple of causes. Their huge offseason strikes had been to herald a completely new offensive line; however they did not play the starters within the preseason, and Joe Burrow had appendix surgical procedure throughout that point, so that they weren’t even training collectively. Then, to begin the season, they confronted the groups with final season’s Defensive Participant of the 12 months and final season’s runner-up, and maybe predictably, the opposing defenses dominated. Even so, the Bengals are solely a sport out of first within the division and a few particular groups flukes away from being 3-0. For futures, I nonetheless just like the Bengals to win the AFC North with extra juice than when the season opened (+325).
For the Dolphins, I am undecided they’re pretty much as good as their begin, however their begin may be adequate for them to do nicely in regular-season futures. Examine their schedule: After this sport, they play the Jets, the Vikings at dwelling, the Steelers at dwelling, the Lions, the Bears, the Browns (nonetheless pre-Deshaun Watson) at dwelling and the Texans at dwelling. The Dolphins are adequate to have 9 or extra wins via 11 video games, which might put Miami in a powerful place to doubtlessly win the AFC East (+230).
Fitz: Each groups have had their seasons outlined by shut calls. The Bengals have discovered wild methods to lose, and the Dolphins have discovered wild methods to win. I believe we’re overvaluing Miami’s fourth quarter in opposition to the Ravens and easily forgetting the defensive struggles and accuracy points we noticed at occasions for the primary three quarters. Sure, beating Buffalo was big, however I am nonetheless in wait-and-see mode for Miami and lean towards a drop-off. As for the Bengals, their offensive line remains to be a difficulty. We will excuse all of it day, however the actuality is the cash spent has finished no good up to now. I’ve to imagine expertise prevails sooner or later, so I believe the Bengals will find yourself higher than their file proper now signifies.
Walder: I really feel extra assured within the Bengals being higher than their file signifies, and FPI sees mild worth on Cincinnati to succeed in the playoffs proper now. The mannequin places the Bengals’ possibilities at 56%, whereas Caesars Sportsbook gives +118. FPI finally hasn’t misplaced a lot religion in Cincinnati; from its perspective, having Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the identical offense means it is extremely more likely to be an environment friendly group going ahead, even after the struggles within the first two weeks. Plus, catching the Dolphins with both a banged-up Tua Tagovailoa or Teddy Bridgewater beneath heart is a bit break.
Moody: The Dolphins’ momentum from the tip of final season has carried over to this season (7-2 in opposition to the unfold of their final 9 video games). The addition of recent head coach Mike McDaniel and Tyreek Hill has elevated the Dolphins’ offense. Miami is pretty much as good as its file signifies, however the protection must be mounted rapidly. A positive schedule awaits the Dolphins after Thursday night time’s sport, with video games in opposition to the Jets, Vikings, Steelers, Lions, Bears and Browns earlier than their bye week. Tua Tagovailoa has reworked from a commerce candidate to a respectable MVP candidate. For futures, I might take a look at the Dolphins as a division winner (+230), contemplating the Jets and Patriots should not respectable contenders. The AFC East will come all the way down to the Payments and Dolphins. The Bengals aren’t as dangerous as their file suggests. They should jell rapidly with their revamped offensive line, which has some new faces. As quickly as that occurs, we’ll see the Cincinnati staff we noticed final 12 months.
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The Bengals are favored by 4 factors in a line that has climbed from 1.5 final week. The overall is at 47. Do you want both aspect or whole on this matchup?
Fulghum: I love the Bengals on this spot. They’re most likely a bit underrated because of their 1-2 begin, and the Dolphins — whereas legitimately good — are most likely a bit overrated due to their 3-0 begin. The principle factor I need to level out is that Miami is touring to Cincinnati on brief relaxation after the Dolphins performed one of the crucial bodily exhausting video games we have seen in latest reminiscence. It was brutally sizzling and humid on the sector of their win over the Payments, and gamers on either side had been visibly and bodily drained. Miami’s protection was on the sector for 90(!) snaps in opposition to Buffalo’s offense … and the sport did not even go to time beyond regulation. The Bengals’ offense can be clever to check the conditioning of the Dolphins’ protection with deep pictures to Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. I might play the over for that reason, as nicely.
Fortenbaugh: I am not enjoying the aspect or the whole, however I do just like the Bengals staff whole over 26.5 factors. Miami’s protection was on the sector in brutal warmth for over 40 minutes on Sunday in opposition to the Payments, and now it must journey to Cincinnati for a Thursday street date 4 days later. That is a troublesome spot to beat. Additional, this unit is allowing a median of 6.3 yards per play this season, which ranks twenty seventh within the NFL. Cincy should not have any downside transferring the ball up and down the sector.
Kezirian: I agree with Joe’s Bengals staff whole. For me, there are too many unknowns with Miami. Tua Tagovailoa’s harm, Hurricane Ian’s implications and the Dolphins’ general energy ranking have made me reluctant to put the factors now that the road has climbed over a discipline purpose. I do believe that Cincy can mild up a protection that has been torched at occasions this season. The Bengals haven’t precisely exploded out of the gate, however I believe the situational spot is favorable on the brief week.
Snellings: I am tempted to play the beneath for this sport. First, it is a Thursday night time sport, and people are usually decrease scoring matchups with the fast turnaround week. Second, each defenses have quietly performed nicely all season, and the offenses have usually been simply OK. The Dolphins’ sport in opposition to Baltimore was the one outlier so far, the place their protection bought torched and their offense pulled that 28-point fourth quarter out of nowhere. Exterior of that tilt, the Dolphins have allowed three whole touchdowns in two video games in opposition to the Payments and Patriots, whereas the Bengals’ protection has allowed solely three whole touchdowns via three video games. Put one other means, within the six mixed video games these two groups have performed, 5 of them have been beneath 47 whole factors. There’s offensive expertise galore on this sport, however the stout defenses and fast turnaround might result in this being one other lower-scoring contest.
Marks: Bengals all the best way, child! I will play Cincy at -3 (for -140). In Week 3, the Bengals lastly seemed just like the cats we noticed make a run to the Tremendous Bowl final season. They got here out firing away within the passing sport and went up early in opposition to the Jets. Cincy shall be enjoying of their Queen Metropolis, with smoking-hot white uniforms. The Dolphins should not what their file signifies. That they had the nice fortune of dealing with an injury-riddled Ravens secondary within the fourth quarter of their matchup and a Payments protection that was lacking 5 starters and enjoying in 100-degree climate in Miami. The Fish now should cope with the logistic problems with Hurricane Ian, journey to Cincinnati early, an injured Tua Tagovailoa (again and ankle) and an exhausted protection that performed 90 snaps in opposition to the Payments. Meow!
Dolan: If you happen to did not seize the Bengals at -2.5, I believe you misplaced out. I’m staying away from the aspect and the whole to concentrate on participant props for this sport. The Bengals may need discovered their rhythm in week three. (It was only a win over the Jets.) In the meantime, the Dolphins won’t be as nice as their 3-0 file displays.
Fitz: It is a defensive matchup, for positive. The beneath is smart right here, and given the best way each defenses are enjoying and the way inconsistent the offenses have been, I do not love both quarterback to have an enormous night time. That being mentioned, the Bengals cannot afford an off night time given their begin. Desperation issues, so I am going Bengals.
Moody: One of the simplest ways to guess on this sport is on the whole. I just like the beneath on this matchup. With Tua Tagovailoa lower than 100% and taking a look at betting tendencies, we could possibly be in for a low-scoring sport. The beneath has hit in every of the Bengals’ previous eight dwelling video games and in 4 of the previous 5 contests for Miami away from dwelling. The Dolphins’ secondary is clearly a weak spot, however their propensity to blitz shouldn’t be missed. Joe Burrow won’t be protected sufficient by the Bengals’ offensive line to assault the Dolphins down the sector.
Tua Tagovailoa leads the NFL in QBR, is second in passing yards and yards per try and is now 14-1 to win MVP. There have been many doubters throughout his temporary three-year profession. The place do you stand on Tagovailoa?
Fulghum: Think about if the Dolphins had the very same 52 gamers round Tagovailoa and the identical teaching workers — however drafted Justin Herbert as an alternative. Herbert can be 2-1 to win league MVP, and the Dolphins can be the Tremendous Bowl favourite. Tagovailoa is ok — particularly when the infrastructure round him is pretty much as good because it seems via three video games — however the Dolphins can improve at QB. I put Tagovailoa within the tier of Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo and Matt Ryan. He can most likely get you to a Tremendous Bowl as soon as, if issues break proper, however the QB on the opposite aspect is probably going vastly superior. That is the QB you need, not Tagovailoa. I am not saying Tagovailoa cannot do it, however his (and the staff’s) margin for error is considerably smaller with him at QB as in comparison with different elite signal-callers.
Schatz: There are three sorts of beginning quarterbacks within the NFL: win as a result of of, win with and win regardless of. Tagovailoa isn’t going to be in that prime class; he simply does not have the arm energy. However he could be close to the highest of the win with class, and his efficiency this 12 months up to now certainly suggests he’s climbing these ranks. However truthfully, Tagovailoa’s previous efficiency was all the time a bit underrated. His numbers for his first and second years are firmly in the course of expectations for a first-round quarterback. Individuals had been upset he did not grow to be Herbert, however Tagovailoa additionally wasn’t anyplace close to the underside of the league.
Fitz: Tagovailoa is fairly good. I do know that does not make for a enjoyable sizzling take, nevertheless it’s most lifelike. Some weeks, he’ll mild it up; some weeks, he’ll merely take what the protection offers him. The issue right here is that the minute we see a younger quarterback begin to ascend, we apply the Patrick Mahomes customary to him. Barring accidents in all places, I do not see any probability Tagovailoa finally ends up being the MVP. In any respect. It might take a transparent Tremendous Bowl season from the Dolphins through which Tagovailoa turns into unstoppable. That is not how I believe their offense is constructed or how their season will play out.
Kezirian: I’ve been a fan of Tagovailoa, although my massive wagers ended up within the rubbish can when he misplaced the Heisman Trophy to Kyler Murray after underperforming within the SEC Championship sport. I solely deliver that up as a result of that efficiency, amongst comparable huge video games, has caught with him. To Aaron’s level, he has by no means actually acquired the correct validation past his first 12 months as Alabama’s starter. That’s what makes 14-1 powerful to play. It might take an infinite season, and I simply really feel there shall be different quarterbacks of prime seeds that voters will favor to again.
Walder: He has performed nicely, however I am not shopping for his MVP possibilities at that worth. It is a narrative award to a point, and Tagovailoa goes to be penalized for what’s round him. Credit score shall be distributed to Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and the brand new offense beneath Mike McDaniel — significantly as a result of Tagovailoa is producing at a stage he hadn’t beforehand.
Moody: I’ve watched the NFL lengthy sufficient to see Tagovailoa have higher MVP odds than Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. Below McDaniel and with a plethora of receiving playmakers and an improved offensive line, Tagovailoa has made vital strides in his third season. It is unlikely Tagovailoa will be capable of preserve the extent of statistical excellence that may make him MVP. Peaks and valleys are inevitable.
Each groups have star energy on their rosters, with Joe Burrow, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon, to call a couple of. Are there any play props that soar out to you?
Fulghum: Any over you need to guess associated to the Bengals’ passing sport vs. the Dolphins’ protection, I am all aboard. For the explanations talked about above, I am anticipating Miami’s protection goes to be feeling some residual results from the hassle required within the Week 3 win in opposition to Josh Allen and the Payments. I believe an enormous field rating sport is coming for Burrow and the Bengals’ offense on Thursday night time at dwelling. Plus, they’re gonna be rockin’ these tremendous clear all-white Bengals uniforms.
Schatz: Give me the over on Joe Mixon receptions at 3.5 with some juice (+123). The Dolphins have one of many highest defensive strain charges within the league, and Burrow goes to should be dumping the ball off beneath when he is not taking his standard excessive variety of sacks. Miami is presently twenty seventh in DVOA in opposition to working backs as pass-catchers, and opponents have thrown to working backs practically 10 occasions per sport in opposition to the Fins within the first three weeks.
Marks: First, give me Joe Burrow over 36.5 makes an attempt (-110) and over 273.5 passing yards (-115). Final week, the Bengals went again to what they do greatest: throwing the soccer. Seventeen of their first 21 performs had been cross performs; the Fins allowed 715 mixed passing yards to Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. Miami cornerback Xavien Howard remains to be coping with a groin harm and is permitting a 140.7 QB ranking on throws his means. I am additionally taking Tyler Boyd’s longest reception over 17.5 yards (-105). Miami’s cross protection is weak. Boyd is the receiver that stretches the sector for the Bengals. He has three catches of 20-plus yards and Cincy’s longest reception this season (56 yards).
Moody: Tyler Boyd over 41.5 receiving yards (-115) jumps out to me. The Bengals rank twenty ninth in cross block win charge. The Dolphins rank third in cross rush win charge. Coming into Week 4, Miami has blitzed on the fourth-highest charge within the league. It should not be an issue to get the ball out rapidly for Burrow, who’s the quickest within the league at releasing the ball in opposition to the blitz up to now this season. Over the previous two weeks, Miami’s protection has allowed 715 mixed passing yards to Allen and Jackson. Operating brief to quick routes, Boyd ought to be capable of feast over the center of the sector whereas Howard and his defensive teammates attempt to include Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
Snellings: I am going to play the over on Jaylen Waddle over 68.5 receiving yards (-117) as a result of (A) he is quietly the most effective receivers within the NFL proper now and does not get a lot consideration, and (B) Tyreek Hill has initiated a confrontation with the whole Bengals secondary that ought to draw him much more consideration … and make it even simpler for Waddle to get his.
I additionally like Ja’Marr Chase over 72.5 yards (-115). He’s due for an enormous one after battling via two comparatively quiet video games in opposition to Trevon Diggs and Sauce Gardner. Given Howard’s bodily limitations in the mean time and the Dolphins’ fast turnaround after their defensive conflict on Sunday, I believe Chase breaks free for a minimum of one big gainer on this sport.
Dolan: Ja’Marr Chase anytime landing (-103). I applaud the Dolphins’ 3-0 file, however they’ve surrendered 485 yards per play previously two video games in opposition to the Ravens and Payments, rating thirty first in opposition to the cross with a median of 297.7 yards allowed per sport. I am in search of a Bengals vast receiver to attain for that purpose. Chase has two touchdowns this season in three video games. Keep in mind, he had 13 touchdowns in 17 video games final season as a rookie. Chase scores in prime time.