Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5, 44.5)
Adam Gase may be a first-time head coach, but the 38-year-old was quick to light a fire under his underachieving team after benching a former first-round pick in last week’s contest. Gase hopes his aggressive action will provide a jolt for the sputtering Miami Dolphins, who will look to prevent their third 1-3 start in five years on Thursday when they visit the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I’m over discussing any of this stuff with players,” a testy Gase said on the heels of his team’s 30-24 overtime victory over winless Cleveland. “We’re either going to start getting the job done, or we’re going to make changes.” Right tackle Ja’Wuan James, who was the 19th overall selection of the 2014 draft, was relegated to the bench after he was burned on a rush that led to a strip sack on the final drive of the fourth quarter on Sunday. While Miami was fortunate to walk away with its first win, Cincinnati has followed its impressive season-opening victory over the New York Jets with a 24-16 loss to Pittsburgh in Week 2 and a 29-17 setback to Denver on Sunday. Mercurial Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is eager to stop the bleeding when he makes his season debut on Thursday after serving a three-game suspension for repeated violations of safety-related playing rules.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened this AFC matchup with the Bengals favored by a touchdown at home. Since then the line has moved to Cincinnati -7.5. The total meanwhile, opened at 44.5 and has yet to move off that number. Check out the complete line history here.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Dolphins (+3) – Bengals (-2) + home field (-3) = Bengals -8
WHAT BOOKS SAY:
WHAT SHARPS SAY:
Dolphins – WR J. Landry (probable Thursday, shoulder)m TE D. Sims (probable Thursday, ankle), WR D. Parker (probable Thursday, hamstring), G D. Thomas (questionable Thursday, undisclosed), LB S. Paysinger (questionable Thursday, neck), LB J. Jenkins (questionable Thursday, thigh), LB K. Misi (questionable Thursday, neck), C A. Steen (questionable Thursday ankle), T B. Albert (questionable Thursday, ankle), RB A. Foster (doutbful Thursday, groin), C M. Pouncey (out Thursday, hip), TE J. Cameron (out Thursday, concussion).
Bengals – CB D. Kirkpatrick (questionable Thursday, calf), CB J. Shaw (questionable Thursday, undisclosed), K M. Nugent (questionable Thursday, undisclosed), S S. Williams (questionable Thursday, knee), TE T. Eifert (doubtful Thursday, ankle).
WEATHER REPORT: There is a chance it could get wet in Cincinnati on Thursday. The forecast is calling for a 55 percent chance of rain and a chance of thunderstorms in the area. That being said, there will only be a slight two to three mile per hour wind blowing towards the northwest endzone.
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (1-2, 1-2 ATS, 2-1 O/U): With veteran Arian Foster still nursing a groin injury, Gase is expected to use rookie Kenyan Drake as the starter in a four-tier running back carousel that also features Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams and Isaiah Pead. Ajayi had an 11-yard touchdown run in overtime last week, but the Dolphins’ 25th-ranked ground attack is mustering just 83 yards per game and is led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill (club-best 54 yards). Tannehill continues to click with trusted target Jarvis Landry (AFC-leading 314 yards receiving) and fellow wideout DeVante Parker, but Dion Sims will get the nod as fellow tight end Jordan Cameron nurses the fourth concussion in his six-year career.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (1-2, 1-2 ATS, 2-1 O/U): Jeremy Hill scored twice last week and has 10 rushing touchdowns in his last 11 games heading into a date with the sputtering Dolphins’ defense, which allowed 169 yards rushing last week and an NFL second-worst 147.3 yards per game. Andy Dalton (AFC-best 938 passing yards) was limited to just 206 yards passing last week versus the Broncos and A.J. Green has just 10 catches for 115 yards combined over the last two games. The duo could get back on track at the expense of cornerback Xavien Howard, who was shredded for eight catches for 144 yards by Cleveland’s Terrell Pryor last week.
* Dolphins are 3-15 ATS in their last 18 versus AFC opponents.
* Bengals are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a double-digit loss at home.
* Under is 7-0-1 in Dolphins’ last eight Thursday games.
* Under is 6-0 in Bengals’ last six versus a team with a losing record.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is almost split down the middle for this AFC matchup, with 51 percent of wagers giving the Bengals the slightest of edges. As for the total, 59 percent of bettors are on the Over.
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