Dolphins vs Bengals: How We Live Bet NFL Week 4 Thursday Night Football
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Burrow.
The 3-0 Miami Dolphins (!) took on the 1-2 Cincinnati Bengals (!!) in an important AFC matchup on Thursday Night Football. And rather than bet into hyper-efficient pregame lines, we looked to take advantage of live betting.
The NFL is perfect for live betting, with the pauses between plays providing time to get bets in. This season, I’ve built a model to project the pace of play under a variety of in-game scenarios. These include first vs. second half, as well as which team is leading or when the game is within a touchdown.
Player props also present some interesting opportunities. Sportsbooks are offering a variety of live player props, and faster or slower than expected games create obvious live betting chances.
Take a long look around various books before placing bets, though. There tends to be more variation between shops in live markets than there is pregame.
These teams' styles of play could potentially create massive opportunities in the live markets. So with that in mind, here are the NFL Live Betting angles and scenarios we were watching for in Bengals-Dolphins, plus the live bets we made.
The Live Bets We Made in Dolphins vs. Bengals in Week 4 on Thursday Night Football
1) Player Props — LIVE BET MADE
Pregame, our props tool was showing value on Mike Gesicki receiving yardage unders. Gesicki is far less involved in the Dolphins passing game this season. I wasn't as concerned with game script here as we normally would be when it comes to player props; instead, we were looking to get in live if he had an early catch that picked up a decent chunk of yards.
On cue, Gesicki's receiving yardage line jumped to 36.5 following his 21-yard catch in the first quarter and was still there well into the second, when we finally made a live bet on under 36.5 receiving yards at FanDuel, where the number was most consistently available at that point.
Gesicki has just one game with multiple catches on the season, and a long catch of 14 yards heading into this game. Additionally, the loss of Tua Tagovailoa hurts the Dolphins passing attack in general. (And we would be remiss if we did not say how much we are hoping Tua is OK after such a terrifying injury.)
2) Overs in A Close Game — LIVE BET MADE
Both teams have the offensive firepower to put up points in a hurry. It's more likely that both teams utilize it in a game that neither team firmly controls, in an effort to get out in front.
In fact, the Bengals have played at the second-fastest pace when the score is within six points in 2022, and it was their fastest split (relatively) last season as well.
The perfect scenario was a bit of sputtering from both offenses in the early going, causing the pregame total to drop from 48. (I could have seen a case for taking a higher number, though, especially if the game was back and forth.)
Sticking with our pregame analysis, let's take the over in a tight game at the half, with the best line being over 47.5 at BetMGM. While the loss of Tua hurts, Teddy Bridgewater appeared more than capable of running the Dolphins offense in the second half. Additionally, the trailing Dolphins get the ball to start the third quarter, so we could see a few drives with the offensive team playing from behind to start the half.
And of course, we're not alone in live betting the NFL's biggest primetime games! Every Monday and Thursday night at halftime, join my predictive analytics colleague, Nick Giffen, for "Bet What Happens Live With Dr. Nick!", where he'll share how he's live betting Monday and Thursday Night Football based on his models.
For this game, Dr. Nick's live halftime bets were Joe Burrow under 262.5 total passing yards and Joe Mixon over 67.5 total rushing yards.
The Other NFL Live Betting Scenario We Were Watching For in Week 4 on Thursday Night Football
Second Half Unders With Either Team in Control
While both teams feature explosive offenses (at least, before the Tagovailoa injury), neither was likely to play with much urgency in this one.
The Bengals ranked 30th in pace of play in 2021 (both overall and situation neutral), with Miami checking in at 29th in situation neutral this season. Miami has a new coaching staff for 2022, though, so looking only to this season's numbers makes more sense in their case.
The Bengals have sped things up so far this year, sure — but they've also trailed by at least a touchdown at one of the highest rates in the league. Therefore, looking at 2021 stats for the Bengals is more telling, particularly since they retained their coaches and most offensive personnel from their AFC championship season. And as noted above, Cincinnati tends to play slow.
Using that logic, this game should play nearly two seconds slower in the second half than the first. It should also play slower if either team has a commanding lead. Both teams will likely try to keep their opponents powerful offense off the field if and when they get control.
If we saw a high-scoring first half that results in either team with a commanding lead, I'd have been looking to take some unders, ideally on a total in the 50s.