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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Expect Thomas to outshine returning Ajayi at Wembley

Saints receiver looks set for a big game against Miami

Miami's Jay Ajayi returns to London on Sunday
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BBC2, 2.30pm Sunday

After Jacksonville blasted Baltimore 44-7 under the arch last week, it will be up to Miami and New Orleans to entertain Wembley in Week Four and the Saints are likely to be the more confident outfit.

They have been in London since the beginning of the week - several of their players were at the Emirates on Monday to watch Arsenal's victory over West Brom - and spirits would have been high on the plane after a valuable NFC South win over Carolina last week.

For Miami, who are the nominal home side in the second of four London fixtures this season, the mood will have been more sombre.

Read Ian Wilkerson's bets bets and more tv-game previews

Bets bets

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

Oakland at Denver

Indianapolis at Seattle

They were six-point favourites against the New York Jets last week but slumped to a 20-6 defeat and much of the optimism that greeted quarterback Jay Cutler's reunion with his former offensive co-ordinator Adam Gase was hard to find after a poor display from the former Bear.

The Dolphins, who are appearing at Wembley for the fourth time having been defeated twice and won once, need a lift and they will have been delighted that running back Jay Ajayi looks set to play.

He was struggling with a knee injury earlier in the week but has been passed fit and he should be desperate to put on a show in the city in which he was born before moving to America when he was seven.

Many among the assembled masses will be delighted if he makes a telling contribution, but the offensive player who could make the biggest impact is New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas.

Following the summer departure of Brandin Cooks to New England, Thomas has become the favourite outlet for Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has topped the NFL passing charts seven times.

Although Willie Snead is available after a three-match suspension, he has been struggling with a hamstring problem so it can be anticipated that Thomas will remain the main man.

He had 87 receiving yards in last week's 34-13 win over the Panthers and opposes a Dolphins secondary who struggled against the Jets.

His 89 receiving yards against New England the week before bodes well for the chance of another big contribution and he can chalk up more than 72 yards at Wembley.

Another bet to consider is supporting the Saints to outscore their opponents in the final quarter.

New Orleans have tended to finish games strongly and have seen their opponents outscore them in the final quarter just four times in their last 19 games.

The Saints have failed to score a point in the last period just once in that run of matches, so it seems a solid call to expect them to finish the match in fine fettle.

M Thomas over 72.5 receiving yards
2pts 10-11 Sky Bet
New Orleans to win fourth quarter
2pts 21-20 Hills

Team news
New Orleans
Wide receiver Willie Snead can play after a suspension but he is struggling with a hamstring injury. Tackles Terron Armstead (shoulder) and Zach Strief (knee) are questionable.

Running back Jay Ajayi has recovered from a knee injury while centre Mike Pouncey is likely to play despite an ongoing hip issue.

Key stat
Ten of the last 13 London games have gone over the total points line.

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Following the summer departure of Brandin Cooks to New England, Thomas has become the favourite outlet for Saints quarterback Drew Brees
E.W. Terms
Sky bet