In this primer, we set up the betting for the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of their Thursday Night Football showdown, which is set to raise the curtain on Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season.
Miami Dolphins (0-2-0) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1-0)
Thursday, September 24, 2020 – 8:20 PM EST at TIAA Bank Field
Jaguars Open As Home Faves
The Jacksonville Jaguars open as the nominal -1 home favorites to the Miami Dolphins with Bovada, but the NFL line has moved since open doors. Currently, the Jaguars are laying -3 (+100) at Bovada. Several top-rated sports betting sites have the Jaguars laying a half-point less (-2.5) but with a much higher vig instead.
The Jaguars are 1-1-0 SU to start the 2020 NFL season, losing to the Tennessee Titans 33-30 on Sunday but, at the same time, covering as the closing 7-point underdogs on the road. Overall, the Titans are 2-0-0 ATS with a 2-point winning margin on average and a +9 differential versus the spread.
Miami Dolphins are 0-2 SU on the season, losing to the Buffalo Bills 31-28, but covering as the closing 6-point underdogs thanks to a last-gasp touchdown. Overall, the Dolphins are 1-1-0 ATS with an 8.5 losing margin on average and a 0-point differential versus the spread.
Jaguars Gave Titans A Run For Their Money
In Week 1, the Jaguars defied the NFL odds and beat the highly-fancied Indianapolis Colts 27-20 to come through with the straight-up win as the 7-point home underdogs. In Week 2, Gardner Minshew and Co. came tantalizingly close to pulling off a second straight upset, but instead, they came away with merely a cover for their backers as the 7-point road underdogs.
The Jags were in the lead late in the game before Stephen Gostowski sailed a game-winning, 49-yard field goal through the posts to snatch the win for Tennessee. Minshew, who is trying to make a case for himself as the Jaguars’ starter, went 30 of 45 for 339 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. It marked the second straight game in which the second-year quarterback threw three touchdown passes.
Dolphins Made a Fist Of It Against The Bills
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Fins played the Bills tough and even enjoyed a lead in the game before the Bills clawed their way back to a narrow 31-28 victory. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a decent showing, going for 31 of 47 and 328 yards and 2 TDs, including a late-game touchdown that delivered the backdoor cover for NFL bettors banking on the Dolphins.
Fitzpatrick certainly upped his game in Week 2, bouncing back from a horrendous opening account against the New England Patriots in which he went 20 of 30 for 191 yards and 3 INTs.
Dolphins vs. Jaguars Preview and Predictions
Miami’s improved account in Week 2 bodes well ahead of Thursday’s clash with the Jaguars, as the Dolphins pursue their first win of the season. Not only did Fitzpatrick play better in the second week, but so did the offense. Miami’s TE Mike Gesicki totted up 130 receiving yards and a touchdown on eight receptions against Buffalo. DeVante Parker and Isaiah Ford each enjoyed 53 and 76 receiving yards, respectively, on 12 receptions together.
If Fitzpatrick can continue that level of play and continue to hit his targets downfield, the Dolphins may well take advantage of a Jaguars pass defense that’s coughing up an average of 294 passing yards per game and ranks 30th in the league. Against the Titans, the Jags allowed them to score 33 points and rack up a total of 354 yards of offense.
The Jags are playing better than most expected they would in 2020. There was talk of the Jaguars tanking in 2020, not going 1-1 SU to start the season and playing competitively. What makes the Jags legitimately intriguing is the fact that they played up to their opponents, taking on both the Colts and Titans – two sides that carry playoff expectations in 2020 – most effectively.
Not unlike the Jags, the Dolphins defense leaves much to be desired. Miami ranks 27th against the pass with an average of 276.5 yards per game allowed. They’re 29th against the run with 164 yards per game allowed. Against the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins allowed them to score 31 points and rack up a total of 524 yards of offense.
NFL Betting Verdict
Neither team is predictable or reliable, and that makes the betting on this game rather challenging. Not to mention the fact that few would really be surprised if either Miami or Jacksonville take the win when all is said and done, it’s a right tossup. However, push comes to shove, the Jaguars as the field-goal home faves is the choice NFL pick here.
Finally, with both defenses looking more porous than Swiss cheese, this game could very well be a back-and-forth, wide-open affair that’ll crack the 47.5 point total currently trading across the best sportsbooks.