NFL action in 2022 has been fantastic through the first three weeks, perhaps the best its ever been. And there is no reason that this Thursday night’s game between the upstart Miami Dolphins (3-0) and the Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) can’t get another week off on the right foot even if they have two of the most overrated signal callers in the game.
Don’t get me wrong, Tua Tagolovailova is off to a fantastic start for the Dolphins, and he has shown tremendous improvement in year three of his development. But it is not that he has faced a murderous row of defenses this year, except for this week against Buffalo, who had five starters out injured. Tagliovailova did complete 72.2% of his passes in the 21-19 victory over the Bill though he finished with just 186 yards, with 45 yards coming on one play.
Meanwhile, Joe Burrow can sling the ball around like few others. However, the success of the Bengals (1-2) over the last year-plus has had more to with their defense than his sterling play. Burrow is off to a slow start in 2022 as he has completed 64% of his passes and has six touchdowns compared to four interceptions.
The Bengals are favored by -4.0 points (-110), and the over/under is set at 47 points. Meanwhile, the money line lists the Bengals at -200 and the Dolphins at +170.
Bengals -4.0 Points (-110)
I believe that Miami is in a tough spot. The Dolphins are coming off a physically and emotionally draining victory over the Bills on Sunday. They are also on the road coming off a short week.
The Dolphins really struggled on offense on Sunday, managing a meager 212 total yards of offense, and were just 3 of 8 on third down. They also have no running game, ranking 29th in rushing attempts and 31st in yards.
Cincinnati returns home for the first time since opening weekend and is coming off its first victory. I believe Burrow – like Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson – will be able to pick apart the Dolphins’ pass defense. The key for the Bengals will be offensive line play, in both pass protection and run blocking.
But perhaps even more importantly, I like the Bengals’ defense here. Cincinnati has not given up more than 20 points in regulation, and they rank ninth in the league in total defense, including 14th against the pass. Plus, the Bengals have created five turnovers over the last two games.
Joe Burrow Over 271.5 Passing Yards (-110)
I expect that Burrow will be slinging the ball around. Maybe not like Allen did last week when he attempted 63 passes, but it wouldn’t surprise if Burrow hits the 40-pass mark.
Burrow has thrown the ball at least 36 times in the first three games. He went for 275 yards last week against the Jets and accumulated 333 yards via the air in Week 1. The 3rd-year pro completes 64% of his passes for 270 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions on the season.
Moreover, Burrow has played pretty well at Paycor Stadium in his career – averaging over 319 passing yards at home. He has an outstanding matchup against a Dolphins defense that ranks 31st against the pass, and the Bengals have yet to get their running game going.
Miami allowed a combined 700 net passing yards to Buffalo and Baltimore over the last two weeks. Overall, the Dolphins allow 310 yards a game thru the air, with opposing quarterbacks completing nearly 69% of their passes. Plus, they have several players on the defensive side dealing with injuries and who are questionable for the game.
Tyler Boyd Over 37.5 Receiving Yards (-120)
Boyd is clearly the Bengals’ No. 3 receiver. While that means that Ja’Mar Chase and Tee Higgins are ahead of him on the pecking order, he is still very involved in the offense. However, his 14 targets put him fifth on the squad thru the first three games – behind Hayden Hurst and Joe Mixon as well.
Boyd is coming off his best game of the season against the Jets, hauling in four of five targets for 105 yards and a score. He has 10 receptions on the season and averages a career-high in average depth per target (11.1), air yards before catch (8.3), and yards after catch (7.3).
Miami’s secondary ranks in the middle of the league against opposing wide receivers. The Dolphins allow wideouts to average 13.3 receptions (64.5% completion percentage) and 178 yards per game.
Seven wide receivers have totaled at least 37 receiving yards against the Dolphins this year, including the Bills’ No. 3 receiver Isaiah McKenzie. Miami has also been susceptible to the big play as they have allowed six passes of 20+ yards to wide receivers this year and are allowing 5.3 yards after the catch/per reception. Moreover, Boyd has averaged 3.8 catches for 63.5 yards in four career games versus the Dolphins.
Other Best Bets
Bengals Moneyline First Half (-170)
Jason Sanders Over 1.5 field goals (+105)
Joe Burrow Over 1.5 Touchdowns (-166)