Derrek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders brought the roof down on Allegiant Stadium in their season home-opener in Week 1, as they upset the Baltimore Ravens in a thrilling Monday night football showdown. In their second game at home, the Raiders will hope to deliver another resounding performance for their fans as they welcome the Tua Tagovailoa-less Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
In this column, we preview this intriguing Week 3 showdown and serve up choice NFL betting picks to spot.
Miami Dolphins vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Sunday, September 26, 2021 – 04:05 PM EDT at Allegiant Stadium
NFL Lines, Odds, and Moves
For the first time this season, the Raiders are trading as the favorites on the NFL odds board. But the NFL line has oscillated furiously since books went to press at the start of the week.
The betting lines opened with the Raiders as the 5.5-point home chalk, but then the line dropped down to a low of -3.5 when word got out about Dereck Carr’s ankle injury. Carr is expected to start, but the uncertainty surrounding his fitness prompted the initial dip. Soon thereafter, though, the line shot back up to -4 as Miami officially ruled out Tua Tagovailoa for Sunday’s clash.
Raiders Favored At Home
Jon Gruden’s Raiders are off to a flying start this season. They reeled off back-to-back victories against stiff opposition and improved to 2-0 SU and ATS record on the season. As a result, the Raiders are in first place in the AFC West standings and tied with the Broncos (2-0). They’re ahead of the Chiefs (1-1) and the Chargers (1-1) in third and fourth place, respectively.
The Raiders didn’t even register on the radar at the start of the season as viable contenders. The NFL schedule was tough to begin with, so few would have predicted they’d go unbeaten in the first two weeks. And yet, here they are.
The Raiders opened with a 33-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens and followed with a 26-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Arena. Both games saw the Raiders close as the underdogs.
In previous years, the Raiders have flattered to deceive. That reputation stays with them, and there’s a feeling it might rear its ugly head again sooner than later. Indeed, the Week 3 clash with the injury-stricken Dolphins is the perfect letdown spot. It would be easy to underestimate the Dolphins in the absence of Tagovailoa.
Jacoby Brissett To Start for Fins
Tua Tagovailoa took a hit early in last week’s clash with the Buffalo Bills that forced him out of the game immediately. To add insult to injury, the Bills took no pity on backup Jacoby Brissett and the Dolphins. There was no let-up as the Bills trounced the Dolphins 35-0.
Brian Flores is in a tough spot. The 2021 campaign is barely two weeks old and already Miami’s prospects look dire. The Dolphins are 1-1 SU and ATS. Tagovailoa’s rib injury isn’t season-ending, but he’s going to miss at least a few weeks. So, the next few games – if not, the health of the season itself too – rests on veteran Brissett. How well he plays will dictate the outcome of Sunday’s contest and Miami’s prospects of competing for a playoff spot.
Brissett’s relief job against the Bills was forgettable. He stepped in for the injured Tagovailoa on short notice and little preparation. Allowances have to be made in such an instance. The hope in Miami this week is that practicing with the first team will help Brissett put in a better account. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t. Brissett has been around for some time and he’s enjoyed a measure of success with several teams, including the Patriots and Colts.
NFL Predictions and Picks
The Raiders are in form, and they’re riding a wave of momentum and confidence into Week 3. The danger Jon Gruden’s side could run into is to underestimate the Dolphins. Beating the Ravens and Steelers – two sides with formidable defenses – could do that as they might not take a backup-inspired Dolphins team seriously enough. The Dolphins, on the other hand, will be smarting from the devastating loss to the Bills. That could prove to be the catalyst for a surprising performance.
All told, this game isn’t as straightforward as the NFL odds would suggest. The Raiders should win, but the Dolphins could win. As such, the Dolphins plus the points is a bet to consider. Perhaps, the Dolphins won’t win, but they could give the Raiders a run for their money in the process.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.