Kent Tukeli | Thu 26/10/2017 - 15:52 EDT

NFL Thursday Night Predictions: Dolphins Break 20-Year Curse

NFL Thursday Night Predictions: Dolphins Break 20-Year Curse
Week eight begins with a pair of pivots on the limp, creating an intriguing Thursday night NFL football. Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens (3-4) host the Miami Dolphins (4-2) at the M&T Bank Stadium for an 8:25 PM EST kickoff. This matchup promises a physically punishing evening of defensive gridiron at one of the least friendly stadiums for opposing teams. Flacco and the Ravens will need to leverage home advantage to avoid slipping further in the AFC North.

Dolphins at Ravens NFL Picks

Miami’s entering Thursday with a three-win streak, earning solid victories over the Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets. Last week was particularly crucial because Jay Cutler and Matt Moore combined for four TDs and 326 yards.

The Ravens have been headed in the other direction, dropping four of their last five and two in a row. Baltimore has been gifting wins to their opposition lately, including a disappointing defeat against the Bears two weeks ago. 

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Baltimore’s one of the most difficult places to visit in the NFL, but they’re also one of the worst teams in the league over the last five weeks. The Ravens line of -145 revolves mostly around home advantage, but they lost to the Bears at M&T Bank Stadium in week six. 

Miami isn’t a dominant team in the AFC, but they’re playing winning football while Baltimore stacks losses. Take the Dolphins to beat a +3 spread. These teams thrive on defense, and feature QBs on the mend, so choose the under on a total of 37.5.

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Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have traditionally dominated the Miami Dolphins, winning four of their last five meetings by an average of 16.5 points. Miami’s last win was at home in 2015, squeezing a 15-13 victory in Florida. Incredibly, the Dolphins haven’t won in Baltimore since 1997, when the Ravens joined the NFL. Historic trends between teams hold weight when predicting the outcome of any sports matchup. In this case, the odds skew heavily towards Baltimore, who already enjoy a significant home advantage.

Baltimore has struggled to maintain consistency since the preseason, when Joe Flacco was showing signs of physical discomfort because of a back injury. There’s little chance that this ailment hasn’t followed Flacco all season, given his career-worst stats in 2017. After seven starts, Flacco has five TD passes and eight interceptions, averaging only 169.9 yards per game. Most worrisome, Joe’s average yards per attempt is only 5.3, 1.5 yards shorter than his career average. A 70 passer rating is his worst in ten years.

The Dolphins don’t dress a powerhouse pivot, but Jay Cutler isn’t a complete disaster like Flacco. After last week’s win, it also appears that the Dolphins can count on backup pivot Matt Moore. Cutler might be playing with cracked ribs tonight, so if he can’t withstand the punishment, Moore looks ready to step into the pocket. Miami has the sixth best defense in the NFL, including a fantastic pass rush and run prevention scheme. Baltimore’s defense has been inconsistent, but still ranks 13th in the NFL.

Baltimore’s injury list includes more than 20 players with injuries, including 13 on the IR. Flacco could soon be one of them. The situation is so dire for the Ravens that the Dolphins should be considered favorites to win, but two decades of losing in Baltimore pushes the lines away from Miami. These teams average a paltry 33.9 per game, so there’s no reason to bet over on a 37.5 total.

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NFL Thursday Night Football Schedule

Last Thursday continues the strings of upsets on this gameday, with the Raiders pulling off a desperation, one-point win against the Kansas City Chiefs. As such, the Packers win over the Bears in week four represents the sole example of a favorite beating the spread this year.

Oakland and Kansas beat the total by two touchdowns last week as over bets have been overwhelmingly dominant on Thursdays. The Dolphins and the Ravens look like one of the few sure-fire under matchups to begin the NFL week.

Date Matchups Picks
Sep. 7 Chiefs at  Patriots  Patriots (-9.5, -550, Over 48.5)
Sep. 14 Texans  at Bengals Cincinnati (-6.5, -255, Under 38)
Sep. 21 Rams at  49ers Rams -3 (-110), -145, Under 39.5 (-105)
Sep. 28 Bears at Packers Packers -7.5 (-105), -370, Over 44.5 (-105)
Oct. 5 Patriots at Buccaneers Patriots -6 (-115), -250, Over 55 (-110)
Oct. 12 Eagles at Panthers Panthers -3 (-110), -150, Over 46 (-105)
Oct. 19 Chiefs at  Raiders Chiefs -3 (-125), -165, Over 46.5 (-110)
Oct. 26 Dolphins at Ravens Dolphins +3 (-115), +125, Under 37.5 (-105) 
Oct. 29 Vikings at Browns - -
Nov. 2 Bills at Jets - -
Nov. 9 Seahawks at Cardinals - -
Nov. 16 Titans at Steelers - -
Nov. 30 Redskins at Cowboys - -
Dec. 7 Saints at Falcons - -
Dec. 14 Broncos at Colts - -
Dec. 16 Bears at Lions - -
Dec. 16 Chargers at Chiefs - -
Dec. 23 Colts at Ravens - -
Dec. 25 Steelers at Texans - -


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