We are drawing closer to the start of the 2022 NFL season. Today we inspect every game of the slate in Week 1. Before we get elbows deep in this, I would like to speak about gambling. If you’re new to gambling, what should you expect?
When betting on professional sports, it’s a game of inches. If you bet 50 times, and win 52.5-percent of those, a bettor will profit only 0.1 units (a unit is how much you’re willing to bet on any single bet, around 3-percent of your bankroll). My goal is a 60-percent win rate. Assume you bet 100 times and win 60-percent of them. If a bettor hits that mark, they’ll profit only 16 units. There will be weeks where I don’t profit, and it’s those weeks that help you and me become better. The best betters will win around 60-percent of the time. If there is someone claiming to win over 60-percent of the bets they make, do some research before you follow them.
Week 1 Slate
When betting on sports, the goal is not always to bet on the easy win. Let’s use a game in Week 1 to help walk you through the process. In Week 1, San Francisco has a very good chance to win. They come in at -280 which implies you have to bet $280 to win $100. Every odd also has an implied probability attached to it. According to the bookmaker, San Francisco has around a 71-percent chance to beat the Bears.
If we use Pythagorean win expectation, my model has San Francisco winning around 83-percent of the time. With a line as extreme as -280, there is very minimal expected value. With spread plays, there is a lot more value. San Francisco comes in as 6.5 point favorites. When betting point spreads, the odds come in around 50-percent, or -110, -115, -105. Here, the odds are -110 that San Francisco wins by seven or more points which is around a 50-percent chance. My model suggests the 49ers have a 71-percent chance to beat the Bears by seven points or more. This implies the 49ers have a very good expected value.
Here are five bets in Week 1 that have a very high expected value.
Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos (-5)
Denver comes into this season opener led by the former Seahawk Russell Wilson. I’m happy to open up with this. As you might have noticed, the model has Denver winning by thirty-four points. Especially at the beginning of the season, the model doesn’t claim perfection. Will they win by thirty-four? Not likely. I can, however, claim that the line of five has incredible value.
Given last year’s statistics, combined with parity calculations and Vegas win totals, the model expects Seattle to score only 12.58 points per game against an average defense. The offense took a major step in the wrong direction. Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock are not the answer at quarterback. This is especially true against a Russell Wilson lead offense combined with what was a top 5 defense in 2021. Look for a blowout game in Mile High Stadium. If you want a safer bet, and are unsure of what the Wilson lead offense can do, take the Seahawks team total under 18.5. (Bet Denver -5, 1.1 Units to win 1 unit)
Russell Wilson Projection: 2.24 Pass TD – 264 Pass YD – 0.3 INT – 27 Rush YD – 0.9 Rush TD – 26.95 Fantasy Points
Geno Smith Projection: 0.3 Pass TD – 186 Pass YD – 0.65 INT – 13 Rush YD – 0.2 Rush TD – 9.39 Fantasy Points
Brandon McManus Projection: 14.48 Kicking Points
Jason Myers Projection: 1.67 Kicking Points
Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at New England Patriots
Based on last year’s statistics, the model loves Miami. As mentioned in my previous article, it projects that they will make the playoffs this year. In this game they go up against Mac Jones and the Patriots in New England. Surprisingly, Tua Tagovailoa not only was third in accuracy rating last year, but he was also first in deep ball completion percentage and first in red zone completion percentage. With his improved weapons on offense, look for Miami to come out swinging against the Patriots.
Miami has won four out of the last five against the Patriots. In the last game the two teams played, Miami scored thirty-three points. Look for New England to start off slow in this game. Mac Jones won’t be able to pick up momentum against the Miami defense who placed top 10 in DVOA last year. If you want a safer bet, take the New England team total under 21. (Bet Miami -2.5, 1.1 units to win 1 unit)
Tua Tagovailoa Projection: 2.05 Pass TD – 257 Pass YD – 0.8 INT – 20 Rush YD – 0.5 Rush TD – 22.15 Fantasy points
Mac Jones Projection: 0.3 Pass TD – 188 Pass YD – 1.2 INT – 7 Rush YD – 0.1 Rush TD – 7.53 Fantasy Points
Jason Sanders Projection: 9.91 Kicking Points
Tristan Vizcaino Projection: 4.29 Kicking Points
Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The reigning AFC champions come into this game as a favorite by a touchdown. This has value written all over it. Last year the Bengals beat the Steelers by 31 points and 14 points in each of their respective matchups. The Steelers have bottom tier positional strength combined with Mitchell Trubisky, Kenny Pickett or Mason Rudolph behind center.
This creates a very inefficient team that will disappoint this season. They don’t stand a chance against this powerful offense. Pittsburgh should hold Joe Burrow from blowing this game up. However, a touchdown is being modest, seeing as Burrow will have more to prove after being a play away from winning the Super Bowl. Look for the Bengals to play hard, and certainly a lot faster, than the year prior. Look for a low scoring first quarter followed up by an eventual total of around forty-eight. (Bet Cincinnati -6.5, 1.1 units to win 1 unit)
Joe Burrow Projection: 2.68 Pass TD – 281 Pass YD – 0.8 INT – 9 Rush YD – 0.2 Rush TD – 22.68 Fantasy Points
Mitchell Trubisky Projection: 0.98 Pass TD – 214 Pass YD – 0.8 INT – 7 Rush YD – 0.1 Rush TD – 12.21 Fantasy Points
Evan McPherson Projection: 11.38 Kicking Points
Chris Boswell Projection: 5.61 Kicking Points
Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (O/U 52)
In a repeat of Week 1 in 2021, the Buccaneers host the Cowboys in what will be an absolute shootout. Last year they combined for sixty points and don’t expect this to be much lower. The model expects sixty two points between both teams. The Cowboys defense was very lucky last year. Bettors shouldn’t expect the same results this season. Tom Brady will always have something to prove and Week 1 won’t be any different for the greatest of all time. Expect Brady and Dak Prescott to continually one up each other with Brady ultimately coming out on top. (Bet over 52. 1.1 units to win 1 unit)
Dak Prescott Projection: 2.57 Pass TD – 272 Pass YD – 0.9 INT – 8 Rush YD – 0.3 Rush TD – 20.88 Fantasy Points
Tom Brady Projection: 4.5 Pass TD – 351 Pass YD – 0.6 INT – 5 Rush YD – 0.1 Rush TD – 31.77 Fantasy Points
Cowboys Kicker Projection: 7.09 Kicking Points
Ryan Succop Projection: 10.47 Kicking Points
Washington Commanders at Jacksonville Jaguars (3.5)
These two below average offenses, who have both arguably improved, go up against two above average defenses. Look for an upset here. Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars are bent on proving themselves after a year of misfortune. We will see the pace of play on the Jaguars side of the ball pick up with Pederson at the helm. While on the other side of the ball, the Commanders come in with Carson Wentz this year Wentz has proven it takes him time to adapt to new offenses. Expect a close game with the Jaguars likely upsetting. (Bet Jacksonville +3.5, bet 1.1 units to win 1 unit)
Carson Wentz Projection: 0.7 Pass TD – 206 Pass YD – 1 INT – 7 Rush YD – 0.1 Rush TD – 10.57 Fantasy Points
Trevor Lawrence Projection: 1.23 Pass TD – 225 Pass YD – 0.9 INT – 17 Rush YD – 0.4 Rush TD – 16.01 Fantasy Points
Joey Slye Projection: 5.44 Kicking Points
Jaguars Kicker Projection: 6.81 Kicking Points
The props article will come closer to the season opener.