Due in part to the Patriots’ dominance in the AFC East and the Steelers’ reign in the North, the Dolphins will meet the Ravens in the regular season for the fifth time in five years. Scheduling dictates every team that finishes second, third or fourth in its division plays every other second-, third- or fourth-place team within the conference. The (lack of) stars have aligned where Miami and Baltimore have combined to finish second or third combined with one regularly scheduled matchup the past five seasons. Jon Gruden would find that wild.
What’s not so wild are the offensive expectations for Week 8’s Thursday night featured matchup. The O/U is 37 ½, which can be a trap.
49ers and Rams O/U 40.5 earlier this season.
All prop odds courtesy of Sportsbook.
Joe Flacco Total Passing Yards O/U 215 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-125)
Joe Flacco Total Completions O/U 21 ½
The Bet: contingent on Ben Watson’s status (read below)
Let’s start with the basic fact that Joe Flacco is averaging 170 passing yards per game. If you ignore the London game when he was benched, he’s averaging 193.5 PYPG. As of writing this late Thursday morning, Jeremy Maclin (shoulder), Mike Wallace (concussion), Breshad Perriman (concussion), and Ben Watson (knee) were all questionable. Granted, whether some or all are active has some impact on the 215 ½ O/U. Flacco has hit this OVER three times in seven games.
As it pertains to the O/U 21 ½ completions, if Watson is INACTIVE, I take the UNDER (-115). If he’s ACTIVE, I take the OVER. In the four games Flacco has hit this OVER, Watson has averaged SIX receptions per game. The veteran tight end combined with Javorius “Buck” Allen average 11.5 receptions per game. Also, it’s worth noting that despite only allowing 226 pass yards per game, Miami has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 71.1 percent of their passes – the highest rate in the NFL. Watson and Allen checkdowns will no doubt pave the road to 22 completions.
Jay Ajayi Total Rush Yards O/U 77 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)
Before last week, all the momentum in the Minnesota Vikings backfield belonged to Jerick McKinnon. Second-string Latavius Murray was an afterthought and presumed free-agent signing bust. Then Murray got a shot against the Ravens’ league-worst rush defense, which allows 145 yards per game. Over the past two weeks, the Ravens allowed Murray to rush for 113 yards and Jordan Howard 167. With Ajayi’s consistently heavy workload, this is my most confident prop bet tonight.
Ravens Total Successful Field Goals O/U 1 ½
The Bet: OVER (-150)
The vig is pricey and for good reason. Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker has accounted for 50 of the team’s 130 points this season. Some quick math:
50 / 7 games = 7.14 points, or more than two field goals per game. Tucker has kicked two or more in six out of seven games.
Want a reason to fade my pick? The Dolphins have allowed just 1.3 field goals per game through six games.