It may not be the most exciting Thursday Night Football Game, but all tickets cash the same. The Miami Dolphins travel up to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars as small underdogs.
Handicappers Drew Dinsick and Dave Tuley give their takes on the game.
Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3, 48)
Dinsick: The market has flipped on these teams since the preseason, as the lookahead line was Miami -1.5. This reaction isn't surprising as the Jaguars have been competitive in both games this season -- 1-1 against two divisional contenders -- with Gardner Minshew leading an offense that is Top 10 in EPA per play (0.22) and Success Rate (54%).
Meanwhile the Dolphins have gotten off to an 0-2 start with lackluster defensive performances against division rivals New England and Buffalo, resulting in a league-worst EPA per play allowed (0.27) and Success Rate allowed (57%). To make matters worse, the Dolphins will be without their big-ticket free agent CB Byron Jones and have a short week to fix the systematic problems with their defensive unit. The market adjustments based on this information are fair; Jaguars are the rightful favorites in this contest and the total has been bet up to a reasonable range (from the opener of 44 to 48) making this game a pass at the current numbers.
Tuley: This line has been wavering between Jaguars -2.5 and -3 all week with most books charging extra vig (-120 instead of the standard -110) to get the side you want.
Both these teams have continued to battle hard despite low expectations from experts and NFL fans.
The Jaguars have been good to bettors so far this season as Minshew led Week 1’s biggest upset of the Indianapolis Colts as 7-point home dogs and 265 on the money line, and then covered as a 7-point ‘dog again in Week 2’s 33-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Still, there are a couple of things that put me on the Dolphins as 3-point ‘dogs. For starters, I have the Dolphins power-rated as the better overall team and I don’t think home-field advantage means that much without fans in the stands (besides, Miami to Jacksonville isn’t a taxing travel itinerary even on a short week). Also, when perennial underdogs like the Jags are then put in the role of favorite, they usually don’t fare so well.
So, the play is on the Dolphins if you can get the 3, even if you have to pay the extra juice.
I also like Miami as a potential team in a teaser. I would tease the Dolphins up to 8.5 or 9 and use them (mixing and matching with the sides you like with your own handicapping) with the Patriots down to pick ‘em vs. the Raiders, Rams up to + 8.5 at the Bills, Browns down to -1 vs. Washington, Chargers down to pick ‘em vs. Panthers, Cardinals down to pick ‘em vs. Lions and/or the Buccaneers down to pick ‘em at the Broncos.
Pick: Dolphins + 3 (potential leg of a teaser)