Week 4 begins with a scintillating matchup between two AFC contenders as the Dolphins (3-0) travel to the Bengals (1-2) home turf to duke it out on Thursday Night Football. The Dolphins enter the contest as surprising underdogs after a dramatic undefeated start to the 2022 season, which saw the AFC East front runners dismantle the Ravens and the Bills in back-to-back games. Vegas lines are sharp to the injury reports as star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is reportedly a game-time decision with head/neck/back injuries.
The point spread favors the Bengals by (-)3.5, with the over/under total set at 47.5. The Bengals are coming off a much-needed win against a lesser opponent in the Jets and will look to build off their momentum from Week 3 against a Dolphins squad that may be without their starting signal caller.
Both teams enter the matchup with solid offensive averages. The Dolphins are scoring at a top-10 rate, achieving 27.7 points per game (8th) on opposing defenses this season. The offense is ranked fourth in passing yards per game (291.3 YDS) but possesses a basement-dwelling rushing attack ranked 31st (64.0 YDS). The Bengals are tied for 10th in offensive scoring, averaging 21.3 points per game with 241.7 passing yards (14th) and 97.0 rushing yards (20th). The over/under totals are shading away from an all-out shootout as each team matches their offensive prowess with a stout defense on the opposite side of the football.
The Bengals’ defense has struggled against the pass this season, allowing 224.7 passing yards per game (14th) but have excelled at stuffing the run, conceding just 86.0 yards a game (8th). The defensive unit is top-10 in stifling scoring output, allowing a mere 18.3 points per game (9th) this season. The Dolphins carry the weaker defense into the matchup, allowing 426.3 scrimmage yards per game (29th) and 21.3 points per contest (16th). I am leaning towards the under 47.5 point total in a close grind-it-out matchup in a shortened week on Thursday Night Football.
Now that we have introduced the matchup let’s dive into some high-upside player props for this AFC showcase.
TEE HIGGINS OVER 5.5 RECEPTIONS
Betting Odds: +120
Tee Higgins is averaging a 23.9% target share through the first three games of the 2022 season with 4.3 REC and 66.3 receiving yards per game. The third-year wideout’s low season averages have perpetuated an intriguing prop line for the star receiver. Higgins has missed time in two of the Bengals’ three contests due to concussion protocol, leaving his over/under reception totals for Week 4 at a palatable 5.5. The Dolphins’ defense has conceded more than five receptions to six different pass-catchers this season with exploitable holes throughout the secondary. Higgins draws the coverage assignment of cornerback Keion Crossen in Week 4. Crossen is in unfamiliar territory as he fills in for an injured Xavien Howard and nickel corner Brandon Jones. Higgins will look to exploit his inexperienced matchup while Ja’Marr Chase garners the attention of top defenders on the opposite sideline.
CHASE EDMONDS OVER 13.5 RECEIVING YARDS
Betting Odds: -115
Chase Edmonds could become a last-minute benefactor of the Dolphins’ game plan if Tua cannot suit up for the contest. The switch to Teddy Bridgewater as a game-time decision would yield plenty of checkdown opportunities for Edmonds to cross his minimal threshold of 13.5 receiving yards. However, the speedy dual-threat running back won’t need a change of signal caller to exceed his projected totals in Week 4. Edmonds is averaging 18.0 receiving yards per game in 2022, playing the role of the Dolphins’ primary backfield receiver. Furthermore, the Bengals’ defense is conceding a league-worst 140.4% of receiving production over average to running backs this season. Meaning if Edmonds averages 18.0 receiving yards per game, the Bengals allow a 140.4% increase in production (43.27 REC YDS) on average. Edmonds is in an excellent position to topple his receiving props this week against a defense that holds back pass-catching running backs like a broken sieve trying to stop a waterfall.
HAYDEN HURST ANYTIME TOUCHDOWN SCORER
Betting Odds: +260
The Dolphins’ defense will have their hands full defending the vast array of superstar talent on the Bengals’ offense, leaving Hayden Hurst as the surprise candidate to sneak through the seams on his way to the endzone. This player prop is admittedly contrarian to the conservative markets but yields a high upside with plus odds. Touchdowns are chaotic and unpredictable at the best of times. Through three games of the 2022 season, Hayden Hurst is the only member of the starting offense without a touchdown despite a promising snap share and route participation rating. The veteran tight end has a respectable 13.8% target share, ranked 11th in total targets and sixth in routes run this season. Hurst has recorded at least one red zone target in every game this season and is on the precipice of breaking the plane for six soon.
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