By Cameron McBruhn
It seems that every year, the over/under NFL win totals released by sports information websites like Doc’s Sports and ESPN are pretty accurate. Most teams come within a game or two of hitting or missing. Then you have the outliers that blow away projections or fall super short. There are trends we can review over the years to give us a better idea of how and where to bet our money. Some people even go with their gut. But, most importantly, with the 2022 NFL schedule being released last month, we have a better idea of which teams’ benefit, or don’t, from the order which they play their opponents each week. Understanding each division is crucial as well, to see where the advantages lay for certain squads. So, which bets this year are the best to make? I’ve done all the research so you can select what you agree with and bet away in 2022.
Buffalo Bills Over 11.5
Now, the No. 1 rule of betting is to not bet with your heart. It can cause you to make biased, uneducated bets and lose your money. I may be a hypocrite here, but I truly believe the Buffalo Bills will win more than 11.5 games this season. This season, anything short of a Super Bowl this year for Buffalo is a loss. Last season, they lost 2-3 games where they absolutely should have won (Opening day loss to Pittsburgh, November 7 loss to Jacksonville, and December 6 loss to New England, where Mac Jones went 2-3 for 19 yards…..). Finishing with a record of 11-6, this easily could have been a 13-4 team or greater.
With additions of defensive star Von Miller, plus Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips returning, this defense is going to be elite. The signings of DaQuan Jones and Tim Settle for the defensive interior have also been vastly underrated. The depth at running back is also fantastic, including Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and 2022 63rd pick James Cook, brother of all-star RB Dalvin Cook. Additions of wide receivers Jamison Crowder and college stud Tavon Austin propel this offense to new heights behind Allen and Diggs. Analyzing the schedule, I personally see 11 likely wins. I see three 50/50 games that can go either way, and assume the odd loss on the other 3 games (vs. LA, 1 random division loss, I assume to Miami, and KC). They should have a record greater than lasts season’s 11-6. The odds of the Bills hitting one of those 50/50 games should happen and result in a win, and they could upset a team where I presume a loss, leading to a record greater than 11.5 wins this season. Bet on Buffalo.
Indianapolis Colts Over 9.5
Some people may think Matt Ryan is past his prime. I personally think he just gave up on Atlanta. Being on a new team in a new environment can re-spark him for one last strong season. We mentioned trends are important, and Head Coach Frank Reich has won at least nine games in three of his last four seasons on the job. Just missing a playoff berth last season, I believe the Colts are ready to take it one level higher this year. A big factor in assuming the Colts go over their 9.5-win projection is Indy being a part of the dreadful AFC South. Games vs. Houston, Jacksonville and Tennessee should all be wins and equate to a 6-0 or 5-1 divisional record. Looking more into their 2022 schedule, the Colts have 4-5 other likely winnable matchups vs Denver, Pittsburgh, Washington, and the New York Giants. With real life and fantasy football superstar Jonathan Taylor coming off a red-hot season, I believe the Colts will win 10 games this year.
Dallas Cowboys Under 10.5
Following the trends again, Dallas has not had back-to-back double-digit winning seasons since the 1990s. After going 12-5 in 2021, the trend says they don’t have a 10+ win season in 2022. Mike McCarthy and company are on thin ice this season. With a very questionable O-Line, no Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott being on the decline side of his career, I don’t believe Dallas has it. The Eagles, Commanders, and Giants have all improved this off season and will create a greater challenge to Dallas in the NFC East this season. The nice part of the 10.5 over/under is IF Dallas does hit double digit wins, 10 still would fall short of the over/under.
Atlanta Falcons Under 5.5
The Falcons have lost their franchise QB. Their star WR, Calvin Ridley, is suspended indefinitely through the 2022 season, and their schedule is super tough. Six of their first seven games are against projected playoff teams, and they don’t get a bye week until Week 14! With major QB concerns, and being at a square one of the rebuild process, getting more than five wins is a longshot.
Baltimore Ravens Over 9.5
Lamar Jackson is 37-12 since 2018 and is entering his prime as an NFL QB. The Ravens really improved their defense this offseason, adding Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams. With a lineup that’s bound to be healthier, and having the Bengals as the only “true” threat in the division, the Ravens and John Harbaugh can achieve a 10-plus win season in 2022. Coach Harbaugh has won 10+ games in eight of his last 14 seasons. Bet on Lamar, as he seems to amaze us more and more each season.