The Miami Dolphins visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars isn’t the most attractive matchup for “Thursday Night Football,” but with FitzMagic vs. Minshew Magic, it’s again Must-See TV (we’ll spare you the “Seinfeld” references this week).
The line has been wavering between the Jaguars -2.5 and -3 all week with most books charging extra vig (-120 instead of the standard -110) to get the side you want.
Both of these teams have continued to battle hard despite low expectations from experts and NFL fans. Last year, the Dolphins were accused of “Tanking for Tua Tagovailoa” early in the season and were competitive enough with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to win five games, including an upset of the New England Patriots in Week 17 that kept the defending Super Bowl champions from getting a first-round bye. The Dolphins drafted No. 5 but still got Tagovailoa, though Fitzpatrick has held on to the starting job for now and covered as 5.5-point home underdogs in a 31-28 loss to the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday.
The Jaguars have been even better for bettors so far this season as Gardner Minshew led Week 1’s biggest upset of the Indianapolis Colts as 7-point home dogs and +265 on the moneyline and then covered as 7-point dogs again in a 33-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 2.
But there are a couple of things that put me on the Dolphins as 3-point underdogs: For starters, I have the Dolphins power-rated as the better overall team and I don’t think home-field advantage means that much without fans in stands (besides, Miami to Jacksonville isn’t a taxing travel itinerary even on a short week). Also, when perennial underdogs like the Jags are then put in the role of favorite, they usually don’t fare so well.
So, the play is on the Dolphins if you can get the +3, even if you have to pay the extra juice. If you followed BetSmart last week, we cashed on Bengals +6 at the Browns (also a short road trip) but maybe you also took our advice to tease the Browns down to pick ’em and tie them with other favorites on Sunday, which was definitely the way to go. We cited the Steelers and 49ers, but the Buccaneers, Packers, Cardinals, Ravens and Chiefs were also popular teaser plays in that similar price range of being able to tease under a field goal.
If going with that strategy again, I would tease the Dolphins up to +8.5 or +9 and use them (mixing and matching with the sides you like with your own handicapping) with the Patriots down to pick ’em vs. the Raiders, Rams up to +8.5 at the Bills, Browns down to -1 vs. Washington, Chargers down to pick ’em vs. Panthers, Cardinals down to pick ’em vs. Lions and/or the Buccaneers down to pick ’em at the Broncos.