One Side, Total, and a Trio of Player Accessories
The undefeated Miami Dolphins travel to Cincinnati in a short week to face the Bengals, who are coming off their first win of the season. Miami beat the Super Bowl favorites Buffalo Bills and is looking to continue its dominance over the AFC on Thursday night.
Prime-time unders reigned supreme, but is this the perfect place to tone down the trend and return to a high-scoring game between two effective attacks? Can Joe Burrow and the Bengals continue to right the ship at home?
I address these questions and more in the Week 4 edition of the same Thursday Night Football game:
The Bengals offense took a huge step forward against the New York Jets last week and is starting to play faster and harder. After an easy and blowout victory, the Bengals face the Dolphins in a short week and have a clear advantage.
Besides being at home, Miami is fresh off a grueling fight in the Florida heat. It was obvious the offense slowed down in the second half and with Tua Tagovailoa nursing both a back and ankle injury, I like Cincinnati there.
This is a great place to buy low and sell high. The Dolphins are undefeated and now face a struggling Bengals team in the public eye. But Xavien Howard is nursing a groin injury and this Miami secondary will be outmatched by Cincinnati’s receiving trio.
The Bengals also rank in the top five in passing and covering, per PFF, and are seventh in rushing defense. This is a sleepy defense that should continue to roll into Thursday night’s game.
Following the narrative that the Dolphins will lose on Thursday, the offense will be forced into a negative play scenario. This benefits Tyreek Hill, who has been watching his game against Eli Apple and the Bengals all week.
Even with the focus on Hill, I think his usage will see a huge increase from last week. After rushing for 184 yards in the first two weeks, Hill had just 33 yards on two receptions against the Bills. But, as I mentioned before, it was in the Miami heat and the offense was barely on the ground.
Buffalo had 63 pass attempts and 23 carries to Miami’s 20 and 17 respectively. The Dolphins won the home run with Stefon Diggs over the top and forced Josh Allen to dink and dunk around the field, which led to few offensive possessions.
This week, I think the Bengals will move the ball with ease. Joe Mixon and Cincinnati’s trio of wide receivers should carve out a place in Miami’s defense. This will lead to more offensive plays and pass attempts, which should benefit Hill.
In the first two weeks, Hill was targeted 25 times. I would expect another double-digit outing on Thursday, giving Hill a good shot at eclipsing his prop over. Of course, he’s also a deep threat and could reach that number in a single game.
This builds on my reasoning about Cincinnati’s Moneyline game. I think this is the perfect game for the Bengals offense to break out and go for more than four touchdowns on their own. The Bengals have the perfect game on Thursday night, facing a defense that struggles with the pass.
It’s no secret that primetime unders have been hitting the past few weeks, but this is the perfect opportunity to fade the early season trend.
The Dolphins offense is averaging nearly 28 points per game and has two of the most explosive receivers in Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Tagovailoa took a big step forward in the opening weeks of the season and I expect Miami to eclipse the 20-point mark themselves, especially given the fast pace of play in the foul weather.
It comes down to finishing practice and I trust both teams to get the job done on Thursday night. They are two of the most powerful offenses in football and both are capable of hitting a big play at any time. Dim the unders trend and expect some offensive fireworks in Cincinnati.
While Mixon struggled to establish the run, he proved to be a versatile running back thanks to his pass-catching abilities.
In three weeks, Mixon has 13 receptions for 103 yards. He’s eclipsed that number twice and should have no problem against a Dolphins defense that just gave up 78 yards on nine receptions to Devin Singletary.
We could see a similar style defensively from the Dolphins on Thursday, where they try to bracket Ja’Marr Chase and force Burrow to look for his side reads.
The Bengals have ranked in the bottom 10 in pass blocking, per PFF, so far and right tackle La’el Collins is questionable with an injury. This could lead to even more checks for Mixon, who has been targeted 20 times in three games.
That number is just 20.5 right now and Mixon could easily eclipse that number in one take, although I expect more than three or four receptions for the 26-year-old. I think we’re seeing some rebounding play from Chase, but I’d rather support Mixon, who will benefit from the defensive attention given to Chase, Tee Higgins and co.
It’s the home run to close the loop on the same play. Yes, it’s easy to go with Chase or Higgins, the two best receivers on this offense, or Mixon, whose odds are well into the negative.
But I’m going with Hurst, the big tight end. Hurst was limited as a starter last week against the Jets, but was fully involved in Tuesday’s practice and is expected to play his full workload Thursday.
In the first two weeks of the year, Hurst played the third most snaps and was targeted 7.5 times per game. He’s tied for the second most targets of any Bengals receiver in the end zone, and in a game where I expect a lot of offense, he should have plenty of chances to score his first touchdown in as Bengal.
The focus in the red zone will be on Chase, which opens up plenty of opportunities for other receivers. The odds are so short on Mixon, Chase and Higgins that I love trying Hurst to complete this bet.
He’s already proven to be a red-zone target for Burrow and should have a few passing passes against a Dolphins defense that has struggled on tight ends.
Le Parlay (+2078)
- Cincinnati Bengals ML (-198)
- Tyreek Hill 70+ receiving yards (-158)
- More than 47.5 (-114)
- Joe Mixon o20.5 receiving yards (-113)
- Hayden Hurst Anytime TD (+260)