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NFL Week 4: New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins

New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins o42.0 (-110)

Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London

October 3, 2015, 2:30pm GMT+1

The Jets ended their two-game win streak with an ugly loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week. QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick, connected with New York receivers on 35 of 58 pass attempts for 283 yards, but he was picked more times than he threw touchdowns (2 TDs, 3 INTs). Further, Brandon Marshall lost one of two fumbles he recorded last week (but still managed 109 yards on 10 catches and 1 touchdown). The highly-regarded Jets defense did hold the Eagles to a goose egg in the 2nd half of play however, Philly scored a TD each on a a punt return and a recovered fumble (Bradford recorded a passing TD as well), forging what turned out to be an insurmountable lead.

The Dolphins gear up for week 4 after getting decimated by the Bills last week. Buffalo put up 27 points by the time Miami managed to get on the board in the third quarter. Tyrod Taylor threw for 277 yards with 3 touchdowns, while Running Back, Karlos Williams, chipped in 110 yards and a TD on the ground. This game was never in question. Miami fell to 1-2 on the strength of this defeat.

Heading into week 4, our power rankings and simulation factors are split over the likely ATS victor when the Jets face the Dolphins. However, there is no disagreement over how to play the total. Each of our three models with the capacity to predict scores are uniform in supporting OVER 42. The blended expected outcome is a combined total of 44 points. Specifically, the models see the Jets scoring 23, while the Phins are expected post about 21 points (the Las Vegas betting lines at PICK and O/U 42 imply individual team totals of 21 points each).

To rationalize the play, consider that Jets average 22.7 points per game through week 3 of the current season (their median score is 20 points), but Miami's below-average defensive prowess makes it likely that New York will overachieve on Sunday. The Dolphins have allowed an average of 24.7 points per game to date, about 5% greater than the league average of 23.5 points. If the Jets are an offsetting 5% more productive on offense than average as a result of facing Miami's soft defense, New York would score 23.8 points Sunday -- essentially in line with the prognostication of our sim work.

On the flip side, New York's defense is top-notch while Miami's offense is, at best, average -- this raises the specter that the Dolphins score will disappoint, sabotaging any shot the over might have at a pay day. We note, however, that the Dolphins woeful performance on offense versus the Bills last week was aided by three Ryan Tannehill interceptions, of which we are willing to excuse two. Tannehill's first pick actually hit the hands of Miami Wide Receiver, Jarvis Landry, before being snagged by Bills' Linebacker, Preston Brown -- that attempt should have been a catch. Another occurred facing a 4th and 4 situation, with the Dolphins down 24 points (we feel the large deficit justified the risk).

We are aware of no statistical link between weak offensive lines and interceptions, nor between strong defensive lines picks (this is good for over supporters, as Miami features a very weak OL, while the Jets defense is tops). The Power Rank examined NFL passing plays between 2003 and 2013 to gain insight into the predictability of interceptions. As the following chart illustrates, their analysis found completion percentage to be negatively correlated with interceptions. This is to say that, generally speaking, more accurate a QB's are less likely to be intercepted.

The league average completion rate last season was about 62.5%, while the long-term interception rate is roughly 2.9%. These numbers are more-or-less consistent with the message conveyed in the chart.

For the Dolphins specifically, Ryan Tannehill's completion percentage increased in each year from 2012-2015, from 58%, to 62% to 66% last year. Through the first three games of the current season, attempts per game are up and Dolphin's QB's completion rate is down (to 61%), but last week's 26-49 outing is skewing the 2015 results. Last year, Tannehill managed 27 TDs to only 12 INTs, and prior to week 3 of 2015, he had not been picked since last season. Thus, we regard week 3's turnover-happy showing as an anomaly. We expect the 4th year man from Texas A&M to right Miami's passing attack this week, and to demonstrate the accuracy that characterized Tannehill's play in 2014.

(Recall that this time last year the Dolphin's were also 1-2, but kicked off a 4-1 run starting with the London game.)

Jets Runing Back, Chris Ivory, is listed as probable for Sunday after missing last week's game with an ailing quadriceps. Our best guess is that Ivory will see limited action in week 4. Still, we expect a modest upgrade to productivity from the RB spot for the Jets, versus Bilal Powell's individual contribution. Also, Eric Decker's bad knee makes him a game time decision. Our sim work, though, anticipates New York's number two WR will make an appearance Sunday. These events are consistent with the idea that totals can overshoot Vegas projections.

Taking OVER 42.

Happy betting!!

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