As NFL betting gains further acceptance and legalization around the nation, access to futures bets presents one of the easiest ways to jump on a trend early for a return. With training camp set to begin and projected NFL win totals are tweaked as money comes in, here are some of our 2022 NFL win total best bets based on the current predictions.
2022 NFL win totals ahead of training camp
The NFL free agency period caused a seismic shift around the NFL landscape. The league we watched last season is far different than the one we will shortly see. Thanks to retirements, un-retirements, trades, and signings, the balance of power has shifted in the NFL — so have the NFL odds. The NFL draft further helped to re-shift the odds as holes in rosters were filled with some of the top prospects leaving college. However, it remains a rather balanced league, making every Sunday an arduous task to get a win.
Our good friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook have been crunching the numbers and have published their win total predictions for the 2022 NFL season. You will notice off the bat that the 2022 NFL win totals seem a touch low. Last season, the Chiefs opened with the highest win total prediction at 12 games. This year, the Bills and Buccaneers lead the way with 11.5. Green bay sits just a half-game back at 11 despite opening at 11.5. This is more to do with parity around the league, causing more close games and well-rounded rosters.
Also, the AFC, especially the AFC West, is stacked. Not only are nine AFC teams listed with a 9.0+ win total prediction, but the AFC West is going to be a gauntlet, with the Chiefs (10.5), Broncos (10), and Chargers (10) all predicted with double-digit wins. Plus, the Raiders, now with Davante Adams and Chandler Jones, are sitting at 8.5 wins, the highest “bottom feeder” of any division in football.
Before I spoil all the fun, here are the current 2022 NFL win totals as listed by DraftKings Sportsbook. Any numbers in parenthesis reflect where the line opened to show movement.
AFC win totals
Buffalo Bills — 11.5
Kansas City Chiefs — 10.5
Los Angeles Chargers — 10
Denver Broncos — 10
Cincinnati Bengals — 10
Tennessee Titans — 9 (was 9.5)
Baltimore Ravens — 9.5
Indianapolis Colts — 10 (was 9.5)
Miami Dolphins — 9
New England Patriots — 8.5
Las Vegas Raiders — 8.5
Pittsburgh Steelers — 7 (was 7.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars — 6.5
New York Jets — 5.5
Houston Texans — 4.5
The win totals for the Cleveland Browns have been removed by DraftKings, likely in anticipation of a potential Deshaun Watson suspension. When initially released, the Browns opened at 9.5 wins.
NFC win totals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 11.5
Green Bay Packers — 11
Los Angeles Rams — 10.5
Dallas Cowboys — 10 (was 10.5)
San Francisco 49ers — 10
Arizona Cardinals — 8.5 (was 9)
Philadelphia Eagles — 9.5 (was 8.5)
Minnesota Vikings — 9
New Orleans Saints — 8
Washington Commanders — 8 (was 7.5)
New York Giants — 7
Detroit Lions — 6.5
Chicago Bears — 6.5
Carolina Panthers — 6.5 (was 6.0)
Seattle Seahawks — 5.5
Atlanta Falcons — 5
Best bets and predictions
Now that we have seen the 2022 NFL win totals, where is the value, and who are the best bets to exceed or fall short of their current win total predictions?
Chicago will likely struggle in 2022 to get 6.5 wins
When looking at SOS, the Bears enter 2022 with one of the top-three easiest schedules. DraftKings has their projected win total at just 6.5, but that might even be too high. The likely No. 4 seed in the NFC North will struggle to find games they’ll be favored in this year. Even games against the Lions project to be difficult given the differing trajectories of these teams.
Diving further, the Bears are favored in just two games — both at home against the Texans and the Lions. Atlanta is listed as a pick ’em, and the only game with a three-point or less spread is a TNF game against Washington (-1.5) and Week 18 against the Vikings (-1.5).
It would be one thing if this was a team that struggled but made significant changes. But outside of coaching and personnel changes, they didn’t. Justin Fields heads into Year 2 with Darnell Mooney as his WR1, who I am a fan of, but one player doesn’t make a team. In fact, the Bears have arguably the worst roster in the NFL. I’ll take the under on the Bears’ current win total.
It’s time to re-think how we view the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL. So much so that Mike Tomlin has yet to have a losing season after taking the head coaching job in 2007. However, this is not the same Steelers fans have known and loved.
Gone is Ben Roethlisberger, and in steps either Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett. Honestly, either is likely an upgrade over where Big Ben was at the end of his career. But both are unproven. The offensive line is still a mess and will struggle to maintain a clean pocket. Pittsburgh will heavily rely on the defense again in 2022.
The Steelers’ schedule is also rough. Odds are Pittsburgh is the third or fourth-best team in their own division. Which one they are may depend on a potential Watson suspension. With six games against the Bengals, Ravens, and Browns, Pittsburgh will be lucky to go 3-3. Things don’t get easier. They have four games each against the AFC East and NFC South, plus the Raiders, Colts, and Eagles.
Assuming the Steelers can go .500 in the division, they need to find five wins against the Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Saints, Buccaneers, Panthers, Falcons, Colts, Eagles, and Raiders. I can find three wins against the Jets, Panthers, and Falcons. I have a difficult time finding the other two outside of maybe Miami. Yes, this is betting against history and betting against Tomlin. However, this could be a bleak season at Hein…I mean Acrisure Field.
Watch out for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022
Philadelphia found its identity and got hot last season when it mattered. Going 6-2 over their last eight games, the Eagles snuck into the playoffs with a 9-8 record. What did they do this offseason? They fully committed to Jalen Hurts and drafted a few guys who could start in Week 1.
Jordan Davis is a mountain of a man and their next Fletcher Cox. Nakobe Dean could prove to be a massive steal as a current injury allowed him to slide into the third round (No. 83). They also added depth on the offensive line with center Cam Jurgens, who Jason Kelce basically handpicked. In free agency, they brought in LB Haason Reddick and WR Zach Pascal.
To top it all off, the Eagles pulled off a blockbuster move on draft day by trading and signing A.J. Brown from the Titans to a four-year contract. This gives Hurts three legitimate targets in Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, plus Pascal, who comes from Indianapolis. Add in one of the better offensive lines in the NFL and there are very few holes on this depth chart.
While 9.5 wins is certainly not a low number, the NFC as a whole is weaker in 2022. They have two games against Washington and the Giants plus matchups against the Bears, Lions, Texans, Jaguars, and Steelers. The Eagles, barring injuries, arguably have a better shot of winning the NFC East outright than going under their current win total projections.
Bettors are all over the Eagles this season; 90% of the ticket and 96% of the money is on the over for the Eagles, which has pushed their win total prediction from 8.5 to the current 9.5.
No team has repeated as NFC East champion since the Eagles won four on the trot between 2001 to 2004. With Dallas winning last year, it’s going back to the Eagles in 2022 as the kings of the east.
Are the Detroit Lions ready to surprise some teams in 2022?
First of all, I can’t wait to see Dan Campbell on Hard Knocks. The number of catchphrases going onto T-shirts will be ridiculous, and I might buy every one of them. This is a team in transition, and while not set to compete in 2022, no knee cap will be safe. Just look at the way they finished last season. After the bye week (Week 9) — when Campbell took over play-calling — the Lions went 3-5-1. From Weeks 13-18, they were .500 at 3-3.
In 2022, the Lions have the No. 28-ranked schedule in terms of win/loss vs. opponents, with their opponents having a cumulative 135-154 (.467) record from last season. For their non-divisional games, the Lions also get the Commanders, Jaguars, and Russell Wilson-less Seahawks at home, along with road games against the Jets, Giants, and Panthers.
Throw in two games against the Bears, who I believe finish fourth in the NFC North this year, and the Lions’ win total prediction of 6.5 might be on the low side. It might sound crazy, but I’m taking the over on the Lions for one of my best bets.