Finally, after seven looooong months, the NFL is back. It may have been the most eventful off-season in the league’s history when you look superstar player movement, but that still doesn’t make the not-football season feel like football season. Of course, the only thing better than actual football is making $$ off actual football. So in honor of the return of the NFL, let’s look at some NFL bets you can place before Week 1. These are my favorite season props in the AFC for 2022, and a pick for tonight’s game.
Standard Disclaimer – All opinions are my own and may or may not reflect those of this website. “Analytic Lines” are ELO point spreads from fivethirtyeight.com, and “Vegas Lines” are courtesy of thelines.com, current as of the writing of this article. Predicted Line (“PL”) is my early week estimate of where the Vegas line would be set.
Additional Disclaimer – Prop totals are from DraftKings Sportsbook and can vary significantly. If you’re legally wagering, as always, shop around for the best number.
NFL Week 1 Bets: Season-Long Props
We’ll start in the AFC East, home of the Super Bowl Champion preseason betting favorite Buffalo Bills (+550).
Buffalo Under 11.5 wins (+120)
The Bills won 11 games last year, facing a much softer schedule. Two teams in the division are significantly improved, and Bill Belichick coaches the third. However, when you consider they have to make road trips to the defending champs on opening night, plus Miami, Baltimore, Kansas City, New England, and Cincinnati, getting to 12 wins seems like a heavy lift.
New York Jets Over 5.5 wins (-150)
Second year under Robert Saleh, a terrific draft, Zach Wilson‘s injury puts a competent QB under center for at least the first month, and a schedule that includes post-Thanksgiving (i.e., cold) home games against Chicago, Detroit, and Jacksonville. I don’t like paying the heavy juice, but I love the number.
Miami (+475) to win the division, (+140) to make the playoffs
I expect the Bills to win the division like everyone else, but I have no interest in paying for it at (-240). Instead, I’ll throw some small bets for big payoffs on Mike McDaniel and Tyreek Hill, turning Tua Tagovailoa into a top-tier QB and the Dolphins into a top-tier team.
Jacksonville (+750) to win the division
Are we sure the problem with the Colts last year was under center and not on the sidelines? There’s a lot of faith being put into a team that hasn’t won the division since 2014. Trevor Lawrence struggled in his rookie year, but he’s still a generational talent, and now he has some talent around him. The defense got a lot of help in the draft, and there’s no way to overstate the difference between Urban Meyer and an actual professional head coach.
Tennessee Under 9 wins (-115)
Everyone’s looking for the team that goes worst to first, and Tennessee is the vice-versa. If Derrick Henry‘s broken foot and Ryan Tannehill‘s playoff “performance” were harbingers, this team is in serious trouble. Also, Harold Landry tearing his ACL in the preseason is a bad start.
Cincinnati Over 10 wins (+100) & (+170) to win the division
The schedule, especially in the back end, is rough, but this is the best team in the division, and they only got better in the offseason. No Super Bowl loser hangover here.
Baltimore Under 9.5 wins (+150)
John Harbaugh is the Mike McCarthy of the AFC. They won eight games last year. So I’ll take the juice that they’re not two games better in 2022.
Pittsburgh Over 7.5 wins (-110)
Seriously? Mike Tomlin has never finished below .500. Mitchell Trubisky is an upgrade (by default) over the carcass of Ben Roethlisberger. Their O-line is an issue, but they have talent at the skill positions, and the defense is still excellent. Did I mention Mike Tomlin has never finished below .500?
We previewed all of Week 1 on No Punt Intended last night. You can still catch up on our Youtube channel.
The best division in the history of the league, perhaps?
Kansas City over 10.5 wins (-120) & (+175) to win the division
KC has won the AFC West seven straight years and returns Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and Travis Kelce. Somebody else will need to prove they can beat the Chiefs before I don’t take plus money on them.
Los Angeles Chargers under 10 wins (+120)
Look, they may be the most talented team in the division. Still, the defense is full of injury risks, the special teams are awful, the head coach had a very shaky (to put it mildly) rookie year, and they have zero home-field advantage (it’s not even their stadium!). I love Justin Herbert as much as anyone, but you can’t argue against this organization being cursed. Until the curse is broken, I’m betting it.
Las Vegas Raiders over 8.5 wins (-130)
This team won 10 games and made the playoffs last year despite the Jon Gruden & Henry Ruggs situations/distractions, added Davante Adams and Chandler Jones, and still has a sub-.500 win total. That’s borderline disrespectful.
Game of the Day (for Thursday)
Buffalo at Los Angeles Rams – Analytic Line: LAR (-1), Vegas Line: LAR (+2.5), PL: LAR (-1.5)
I know everybody loves the Bills, but LA getting points at home for the annual “Ring Ceremony” game feels weird. But, of course, it’s not a typical short week Thursday game, but Buffalo still has to go cross country and will be starting two cornerbacks with nine games of NFL experience against Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Allen Robinson.
Pick: Los Angeles (+2.5)
Looking for fantasy football info? We got Week 1 articles here and rankings here!