MIAMI (3-0) AT CINCINNATI (1-2)
TV: Amazon Prime, 8:15 p.m.
Line: Cincinnati by 3.5; O/U: 46.5
When it was time to make predictions for this year’s NFL Preview Section, last year’s surprise Bengals run is what inspired my Dolphins-Eagles Super Bowl pick. Big offseason? Check, check. Offensive-minded coach? Check, check. Young quarterback who could have a breakout year? Check, check. Now that both are the only 3-0 teams in the NFL, everyone has taken notice and Miami gets a big test on a short week after its thrilling win over AFC favorite Buffalo.
Speaking of the Bengals, the 2021 AFC darlings play host in what should be a fun, back-and-forth, bet-the-over Thursday Night matchup. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase on one side, Tua Tagovailoa with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on the other. Tagovailoa is dealing with back and ankle injuries but is expected to play.
Keep an eye on Hill and Bengals cornerback Eli Apple, the former Giant who last year offered Hill tickets to the Super Bowl after Cincinnati’s comeback in the AFC title game. After Sunday’s win, Hill brought up Apple on his own and said, “I owe you!”
I thought this spread would be closer to Bengals -1. Miami (3-0 ATS) is still being underrated, though some could argue this is the perfect scenario for a letdown with a short week after a huge win over a division rival. I’m not buying that Cincinnati (1-2 ATS) is back just because it beat the Jets. Burrow has been sacked 15 times already. Miami likes to blitz, but it leaves the chance for big gains downfield (Baltimore and Buffalo both had nearly 500 yards of offense in Week 2 and Week 3).
This will be a close, entertaining game. The Dolphins are the pick not only because of the great line value, but I believed this would be a special year for first-year coach Mike McDaniel, Tagovailoa and his weapons, so why stop now?
The pick: Miami
Tom Rock: Cincinnati
Al Iannazzone: Miami