Welcome to the Thursday Night Football betting breakdown, where each week I’ll provide a detailed betting overview of the upcoming Thursday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. I’ll also highlight at least one player- or game-based prop each week that I feel has profit potential.
This Week 3 AFC battle is an intrastate showdown between two teams that have each turned in a questionable defensive performance thus far this season while also showing some encouraging signs on offense. The difference between Jacksonville’s 1-1 mark and Miami’s winless record essentially comes down to the Jags making a critical fourth-quarter play against the Colts’ Philip Rivers in Week 1 and the Fins failing to do so against Bills’ Josh Allen in Week 2.
Miami now makes the trip upstate on a short week to try once again for their first victory of the season. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are quickly looking to put a Week 2 33-30 heartbreaker at the hands of the Titans in the rearview mirror.
All betting takes will be classified as a “pick”, with considerations such as relevant injuries, past betting trends and recent performances of each team leading up to the game factoring in.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup – including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to TNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Thursday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
Dolphins at Jaguars odds
The overarching theme for this game appears to be parity. The Jaguars are a default three-point home favorite. Miami added more talent this offseason, although it’s still in the process of gelling after the truncated offseason and non-existent preseason. Each offense is led by a quarterback occasionally prone to improvisation and going on the run when necessary. Each defense appears to have some holes that are exploitable.
Even the typical home/road factors that would often come into play in this scenario are a bit muted. For one, although Jacksonville is slated to once again allow a limited amount of fans into TIAA Energy Stadium, it won’t be anywhere near a full house. The sparse crowd won’t affect a veteran QB like Ryan Fitzpatrick running an offense he’s highly familiar with. Then, although the Dolphins are traveling on a short week, it’s just a quick trip upstate.
Therefore, the outcome of this game should ultimately boil down almost exclusively to talent and health. On that front, at least going into the contest, Gardner Minshew and company arguably have at least a slight advantage. The Jaguars have a more accomplished receiving corps in the form of DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, Keelan Cole and Chris Conley.
The Dolphins counter with DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Isaiah Ford and Jakeem Grant, also a solid quartet. However, Parker is dealing with a balky hamstring that could go on him at any moment. Williams and Grant are still struggling to get going in coordinator Chan Gailey’s offense after a strong showing last season in the departed Chad O’Shea’s scheme.
One of the Jaguars’ biggest advantages might come in the form of a key Dolphins injury. Offseason acquisition Byron Jones went down with a groin injury early in the first quarter against the Bills and didn’t return. The star cornerback’s absence had a role to play in Buffalo’s Josh Allen racking up a career-high 417 yards while often finding Stefon Diggs, who Jones was set to shadow, open. It’s looking like a tall order for Jones to suit up against Jacksonville just four days later.
The Jags also have more certainty in their ground attack. Undrafted rookie James Robinson is averaging 5.1 yards per rush over the first two games and will face a Fins defense that’s surrendered 164.0 rush yards per contest. Meanwhile, Miami is still trying to find a lead back from the trio of Myles Gaskin, Matt Breida and Jordan Howard. All three have split the workload fairly evenly thus far.
The Pick: Jaguars moneyline (-165 or better)
TNF Point Spread
Jacksonville has gotten off to a strong start against the number this season as indicated below. Over last season’s larger sample size, the Jags were 3-4 versus the spread at home. The Fins were 5-3 ATS when traveling, thanks in part to their strong second half of the season. These two teams are close, especially after Miami’s additions and Jacksonville’s subtractions on defense over the last 12 months.
The Dolphins are 1-1 against the spread this season, including 0-1 as a road team.
The Jaguars are 2-0 against the spread this season, including 1-0 as a home team.
While I do feel the home team prevails in this spot, I’m in the camp of it being a closely contested game. As such, a win of a field goal or better by the Jags is naturally possible, but it’s uncertain enough to classify the cover as a Lean as opposed to a pick.
The Lean: Jaguars -3 or better
TNF Over/Under Total
Both defenses have been particularly susceptible through the air early. Jones’ injury for Miami only weakens the Dolphins secondary’s outlook.
The Over is 1-1 in Miami’s games this season, including 0-1 in their away games.
The Over is 2-0 in Jacksonville’s games this season, including 1-0 in their home games.
Given both the quarterbacks have proven capable of capitalizing on favorable matchups and have solid weapons surrounding them, I see the Over as being exceeded despite the short week.
The Pick: Over 47.5 points or better
Best TNF Prop Bets
Jaguars -2.5 and over 48.5 points (+250 or better)
Going with my earlier view of a Jacksonville win and a solid amount of points being scored in this game, I can see taking a flyer on this prop parlay at an appealing price. Jacksonville has already put up 60 points over their first two games, while Miami has allowed 52. The Over also had a winning mark in the Jags’ home games last season (4-3). Three of their home contests finished with totals north of 50 points.
Total points by Dolphins- 1st Half: Over 10.5 points (+100 or better)
The Jags secondary has allowed 294.0 yards per contest over the first two games. Fitzpatrick is certainly savvy enough in this offense to exploit some favorable one-on-one situations if they crop up. Additionally, the Jaguars have surrendered an average of 20.5 points per first half thus far, third most in the league. That’s a carryover from last season (when they still had the departed duo of Jalen Ramsey for three games and Yannick Ngakoue for 15), when they were in the bottom 10 while surrendering 13.2 points per first half.