After a Week 4 loss in Cleveland, a lot of people felt that the Cincinnati Bengals were again a close, but no cigar-type of team. At that point, the Miami Dolphins were 3-1. However, a lot has changed since then. The Dolphins enter Thursday’s game on a four-game losing streak while the Bengals, who currently sit as the second-best team in the AFC, are riding a four-game winning streak. We’ll see if momentum continues to carry both teams in their opposite directions.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins
Odds: Bengals -3
The Bengals can win because…
They are rolling right now. Remember when people were questioning quarterback Andy Dalton’s production after he started the season with just five touchdowns and five interceptions in the first four games? Those who had faith in him and kept the Bengals in their weekly sports picks have been rewarded as Dalton has thrown for 11 touchdowns and just one interception in the last three games. He’s led the team to wins over the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and New York Jets.
The Dolphins are playing with no confidence right now. All of the enthusiasm of their 3-0 start has dissipated and young quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been an absolute gong show. He has 10 turnovers (seven interceptions and three fumbles) in his last four games and that’s because the offensive line can’t protect him. He’s been sacked 18 times in the last four games. That figures to play well into the hands of the Bengals, who are seventh in the AFC in takeaways and 12th in the NFL in sacks.
The Dolphins can win because…
The Bengals are on the road. Those who make their NFL picks should be wary laying points with the Bengals. As you might recall, they lost in Chicago, they lost in Cleveland, they needed overtime to outlast the Thad Lewis-led Buffalo Bills and escaped Detroit with a 27-24 win. In other words, this team hasn’t won by more than three on the road this season, so why would you lay that much with them?
It’s desperation time for the Dolphins and we should see one of their best efforts of the season. Yes, they are a flawed team and probably not a playoff team, but that doesn’t mean they can’t win this game. They have a stout defense that should be able to keep Dalton under wraps. The Bengals have struggled to run the ball this season, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry (26th in the NFL). If they can’t severely improve that number on Thursday, they’ll be in for a dog fight.
Outlook & NFL Football Betting Prediction:
This is it for the Dolphins. They can’t afford to fall to 3-5 and hope to make the playoffs. However, remember that “must-win” doesn’t mean “will win”.
The Bengals haven’t covered three points on the road at any point this season and they’ve looked pretty weak playing away from home. Without a running game to rely upon, it will be tough for them to get control of this game. With two good defenses on the field, I like the under on the NFL odds in this game and I also like Miami plus the points.
NFL Picks: Dolphins +3 & Under at Bovada