Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season starts with a Florida battle between two teams with low expectations but good offenses.
The Miami Dolphins come into the game with an 0-2 record, struggling mightily on defense. Ryan Fitzpatrick played much better in Week 2 compared to Week 1, but his days as the starter are numbered with rookie Tua Tagovailoa waiting in the wings. DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki are both coming off big games and are hoping to tear apart a vulnerable Jacksonville Jaguars secondary.
The Jaguars played the Tennessee Titans as tough as they could, but suffered a narrow defeat to drop to 1-1 on the season after upsetting the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1. Given how well they’ve played so far, it’s hard to imagine Jacksonville being the worst team in football like so many predicted before the season. Quarterback Gardner Minshew is dealing, running back James Robinson look like a UDFA gem, and D.J. Chark is picking up where he left off after a breakout 2019 campaign.
Let’s get into the game. All odds are courtesy of our friends over at BetOnline.
Spread: MIA: +2.5 (+106) | JAX: -2.5 (-126)
Moneyline: MIA: (+140) | JAX: (-160)
Total: 48.5 – Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)
There’s no doubt about which one of these (likely) non-playoff teams looks better to start the season. The Jaguars are fun and flying high on offense under Jay Gruden, while the Dolphins have been pretty meh aside from the fourth quarter of last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills. However, with two very questionable defenses, nothing should be ruled out in this contest.
Even though it appears likely that Fitzpatrick won’t be Miami’s starter near the end of the season, he’s still going to sling it around fearlessness (and sometimes recklessly) in the meantime. The Jaguars have allowed a 77.1% completion percentage to Philip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill to start the season, the second-worst mark in the NFL. They’ve also allowed the third-most passing yards, tied for the second-most passing touchdowns, and have only two sacks. Considering Jacksonville has been fairly stout against the run, and the fact that the Dolphins don’t seem all that interested in the ground game to begin with, and this has all the makings of a shootout.
On the other side, Minshew has been sensational this season. He’s quieting a lot of the Trevor Lawrence talk—although it appears that’ll be a moot point as the Jaguars do not seem to be a prime contender for the No. 1 overall pick anymore. The Dolphins have allowed the seventh-most passing yards and the sixth-best completion rate to opposing quarterbacks, but they’re also allowing five yards per carry on the ground. We saw James Robinson start to break out for Jacksonville last week and he could easily have another 100-yard game on Thursday night. However, injuries are starting to pile up. Wide receiver D.J. Chark is banged up and won't play. Starting center Brandon Linder and starting kicker Josh Lambo will also miss this game.
The Dolphins are 10-4 against the spread in their last 14 overall and are 7-2 ATS after their a loss in their last nine. Conversely, the Jaguars have only covered the spread as home favorites once in their last five opportunities. Given the injuries on the Jaguars side, I'm going to take the points and roll with the Dolphins.
ATS Pick: Dolphins +3 (-119) *bought half-point
NFL picks ATS 2020: 22-9-1 (71%)
NFL picks ATS 2019: 145-119-3 (55%)
NFL picks ATS 2018: 140-115-12 (55%)