Thursday Night Football Primer

by Vegas Writer

Intriguing Thursday night battle between the AFC's last undefeated team and the defending conference champion, as the Miami Dolphins (3-0) visit the Cincinnati Bengals (1-2).

And it's Miami - which leads the all-time regular-season series (17-7) while the home team has won each of the past five meetings - that is catching the points from Cincy.

The Bengals are -4 with a total of 47 points.

Miami arrives after beating Buffalo, 21-19, in Week 3 to advance to 3-0 for the first time since 2018 and looks for its first 4-0 start to a season since 1995. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 296 yards with one touchdown in the teams' last meeting against Cincinnati. Tagovailoa comes in ranked second in the NFL this season in passing yards (925) and tied for third in touchdown passes (eight). Now he aims for his third straight start with a completion percentage of 70 or higher and a passer rating of 120 or higher.

His targets have done a good job in making this passing attack dangerous, as wide receivers Jaylen Waddle (342 receiving yards) and Tyreek Hill (317) rank second and third, respectively, in receiving yards this season. Last week, Waddle hauled in four passes and his third-career game with at least 100 receiving yards. He has 123 receptions in 19 career games, second-most by a player in his first 20 career games in league history. Hill had seven receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown the last time he faced the Bengals, which was the 2021 AFC Championship while he was with Kansas City, and happens to have a receiving touchdown in six of his seven career games on Thursday Night Football.

On the other side of the ball, linebacker Melvin Ingram had two sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery last week, and registered a sack the last time he played Cincinnati, also in the 2021 AFC Championship when he was K.C. Ingram has 4 1/2 sacks and seven tackles for loss in eight career Thursday games.

Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard had two pass defenses on Sunday and will gun for his sixth straight with a pass defensed. He hauled in an interception in the teams' last meeting and has 27 interceptions since 2016, the most among all players. Also from the secondary, safety Jevon Holland set career highs in tackles (10) and sacks (1.5) and added two passes defensed and his first career forced fumble.

The defending AFC champion Bengals got their first win of the season last Sunday when quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 275 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 114.9 rating. Burrow has 4,467 passing yards (319.1 per game) and 30 total touchdowns (26 passing, four rushing) in 14 career home starts and will aim to become the first quarterback since Drew Brees with at least 300 passing yards and two touchdown passes in five consecutive home games. Burrow is also looking for his third straight on Thursday Night Football with at least 300 passing yards and two touchdown passes.

From the same backfield, running back Joe Mixon has 13 touchdowns (11 rushing, two receiving) in his past 12 home games and tallied 115 scrimmage yards (93 rushing, 22 receiving) and a touchdown catch the last time he played at home against the Dolphins. Burrow's top target, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, recorded his 15th-career touchdown reception last week, tying for the second-most among all players since entering the league last season. Fellow wideout Tyler Boyd led the team with 105 receiving yards. Boyd registered a 72-yard touchdown reception the last time these teams played and he's gunning for his third in a row against Miami with a touchdown.

From the stop unit, Miami defensive end Trey Hendrickson registered his first 2 1/2 sacks of the season and a career-high two forced fumbles against the Bills on Sunday. He is one of three AFC players - joining pretty good company in Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt - with at least 16 sacks (16 1/2) since 2021. Linebacker Logan Wilson has been a menace as he recorded his seventh-career interception last week, the most among linebackers since he entered the NFL in 2020. Safety Jessie Bates will be a ball hawk to watch after he registered his 11th-career interception against the Bills and recorded an interception against Miami in the teams’ last home game in Cincinnati/ Since 2018, Bates is one of two defensive backs with at least 400 tackles (414) and 10 interceptions (11).

From a betting perspective:

Miami has covered four straight since last season, and have also covered four in a row in the month of September.

The Dolphins are on an 8-2 ATS win streak after notching a straight-up win. Be aware, however, Miami has stumbled at the window in Week 4 the past 17 years with a 3-14 ATS mark.

The Bengals - who are on a 9-2 ATS roll since last season, including a cover in the Super Bowl - have covered seven in a row against winning teams, and are on an 8-1 ATS run against AFC foes.

Unlike the Fins, the Bengals have found their footing in the fourth week of the campaign, having covered five of seven in Week 4.

Miami has stayed Under in eight of 11 against AFC foes, and is on a 9-3 Under run in its last 12 September contests.

The Bengals have stayed Under in six straight against AFC foes, and are on an 8-0 overall run in staying south of the total.

These two have stayed under in five straight meetings in Cincinnati.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2022 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.