The Miami Dolphins are seeking their first 4-0 start since 1995 when they visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.
Miami is coming off a dramatic victory over division rival Buffalo and now takes aim at the defending AFC champions.
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Cincinnati, meanwhile, is trying to build momentum after finally getting into the win column in Week 3.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is expected to play despite back and ankle injuries, but the Bengals are still a consensus 3.5-point favorite.
The line opened at 2.5 points at BetMGM, where Miami has been backed by 55 percent of the spread bets and 56 percent of the money. The Dolphins have also drawn 59 and 58 percent of the spread action at DraftKings.
The same 3.5-point line at BetRivers has seen the Dolphins backed by 59 percent of the tickets but the large wagers have sided with the Bengals, who have been backed by 65 percent of the spread money.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is impressed with the Dolphins, who are one of two remaining unbeaten teams along with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“They’ve beaten three really good opponents — New England, Baltimore and Buffalo,” Taylor said. “They are three teams with a lot of talent, good coaches. They’re doing a lot of good things right now in all three phases. I know that our guys are really excited for the challenge.”
Under 48.5 Points (-109 at BetRivers): It’s a higher line than BetMGM (47.5) or DraftKings (48.0), with the public backing the Over with 61 percent of the bets and 64 percent of the money at BetRivers. The Dolphins are averaging 27.7 points per game, but 42 of those came in a wild game at Baltimore. Traveling on a short week with a banged-up quarterback, the offense will struggle to be as explosive and the Bengals are averaging 21.3 points per game. Each of the Bengals’ last eight games has gone under the total points line at BetRivers.
Dolphins LB Melvin Ingram Over 0.75 Sacks (+235 at DraftKings): Bengals QB Joe Burrow was only sacked twice last week after being dropped 13 total times in the two setbacks, but Cincinnati’s pass protection issues are well documented. Ingram has only 6.0 tackles through three games, but two of them went for sacks last week to go along with three tackles for loss.
Bengals RB Joe Mixon Under 64.5 Rushing Yards (-115 at BetMGM): The Dolphins are allowing an average of 116 rushing yards per game, but take out 119 by Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in Week 3 and that number dips to 76.3. The Bengals do need to establish the run to help protect Burrow, but Mixon has only totaled 163 yards on 58 carries (2.8 yards per carry) through three games.
Cincinnati: Mixon (ankle) is fit to play, according to Taylor. Defensive tackle D.J. Reader (knee) was placed on injured reserve on Thursday. Tight end Drew Sample (knee) did not practice all week, while offensive tackle La’el Collins (back) returned Wednesday.
Miami: Tagovailoa was limited in practice all week with back and ankle injuries, but is expected to play. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (groin) is among the other Dolphins dealing with injuries. Cornerback Xavien Howard (groin, glute) also is ailing but did take part in limited practice this week. Offensive tackle Terron Armstead (toe) and tight end Cethan Carter (concussion) did not practice.
The Dolphins are 9-1 in Tagovailoa’s last 10 starts and he has thrown for 925 yards with eight interceptions in the 3-0 start. Two of those wins were nailbiters and the pass defense ranks 31st in the NFL.
That should allow the Bengals to get their inconsistent passing game untracked. After not completing a pass for more than 24 yards in the first two games, Burrow threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns last week. Cincinnati desperately needs a home win to get to .500. — Bengals 24-23
–Field Level Media
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