3 Ways To Win Big On Thursday Night Football: Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens
Alternate Spread: Baltimore Ravens (-16.5) (+260)
The actual line for this game is -7.5 (at least at the time of writing), but this feels like it has some blowout potential. Miami has looked like a mess for most of this season, save for a now-perplexing Week 1 win over the Patriots. Granted, the Dolphins did finally pick up their second win last week, but an eight-point win over the Texans is nothing that should change anyone’s opinion of this squad.
More than anything, the blowout potential boils down to faith in this offensive coaching staff and quarterback(s) on a short week. The Dolphins’ offense has been a disaster for most of the year, regardless of the quarterback. Miami is a quick-pass attack with zero explosive ability with Jacoby Brissett and a volatile, RPO-dependent operation with Tua Tagovailoa. Neither quarterback has earned the benefit of a decent running game or pass protection, either. The skill talent is there for a decent offense, but everything else is not.
That is especially concerning this week against a Baltimore defense that can get home. Per Pro Football Reference, the Ravens are fourth in both blitz rate and pressure rate. Against a putrid Dolphins offensive line and a pair of quarterbacks that do little to mitigate pressure, things could get out of hand early and snowball from there. Pair all of that with the Ravens’ ability to put up 30 points with their offense, and the recipe for a blowout is not so hard to see.
Ravens WR Rashod Bateman, Anytime TD Scorer (+275)
Rashod Bateman’s first three games as a pro have been encouraging. After missing the first month or so with a lower-body injury, Bateman has finally found his way into the lineup and become a first down machine for Baltimore.
On its face, 20 targets for 12 receptions and 161 yards is nothing special. Seven targets per game are nice, but those numbers are nothing gaudy, especially considering he has yet to find the end zone. All but one of Bateman’s receptions have gone for first downs, though. The Ravens are already willing to align Bateman all by his lonesome to one side of the field and win a one-on-one to pick up a fresh set of downs — something the offense has been missing. Lamar Jackson and Greg Roman clearly trust Bateman to move the sticks when they really need to do so.
Jackson trusted Bateman in a number of tough situations last week. Not only did Bateman snag a pass out of the air to bail Jackson out of a scramble drill, but he also netted a pass interference penalty deep down the field right before the half, setting up a Baltimore touchdown. If we are to assume Jackson will continue showing confidence in Bateman, touchdown opportunities are sure to start popping up soon. That could be this week against a Dolphins secondary that has not been nearly as good as people were expecting this season.
Ravens RB Le’Veon Bell, First TD Scorer (+1400)
Trying to find the best bet in Baltimore’s backfield feels like a game of whack-a-mole. The running back room right now looks nothing like it did in Week 1, and each week feels like the rotation has been mixed up to some degree. That being said, if there is anywhere the Ravens running back room equalizes a bit, it is in the red zone.
So far, Bell has five red zone carries to Devonta Freeman’s six. Only having one less than Freeman, who has generally seen more work, is a good sign for Bell. The two players have also scored two touchdowns apiece, so it isn’t like Bell is any less effective than his counterpart right now. Freeman did have a touchdown reception this past week, but that was his first and only red-zone target, so the workload here is still pretty close.
If we assume the Ravens can score early (and often) in this one, Bell is a decent choice to be the first man on the board at these odds compared to Freeman (+1000).