Since 2002, there have only been two seasons in which a team didn’t go from worst to first in one of the divisions. While a lot of bettors get caught thinking that the NFL is a straightforward, highly predictable market, the reality is the opposite.
Last season, 19 of the 32 teams were at least + /- 1.5 wins relative to their consensus season win total line. Of those 19 teams, 12 were at least + /- 2.5 wins relative to their season win total. Skipping over the 2020 COVID season as an outlier (for many reasons), the 2019 season also saw 19 teams finish at least + /- 1.5 wins relative to the consensus line.
In other words, don’t be afraid to take a stronger stance on a team if you think their win total line is mispriced for any number of reasons. Maybe you like the personnel more than the market. Maybe you view the schedule more favorably or think it will be harder than expected. Whatever the reason, there is often equity in taking your shot at bigger payouts.
In this piece, I give an opinion on all 32 NFL win totals for the 2022 season, broken into four tiers of confidence.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook, but as always make sure to shop around for the best price.
NFL Win Total Bets I Love
New Orleans Saints Over 8.5 (-105)
Your view of Jameis Winston may be different than mine, but the 28-year-old comes into the season with a bevy of weapons, including first-round pick Chris Olave and returnee Michael Thomas. Winston had a 14-3 TD:INT ratio last season in seven games and it sure seemed like playing understudy to Drew Brees in this system for the 2020 season helped. The Saints also play in arguably the league’s weakest division and have a really favorable schedule overall. This is one where an alt win total Over 9.5 (+ 175) may not be a bad play.
Baltimore Ravens Over 9.5 (-160)
I don’t love the vig on this one, but that’s where Over 10.5 (+ 135) comes in. Baltimore was 8-3 last season before its mountain of injuries became too much to overcome. While they lost six straight to end the season, four were against playoff teams (two against Super Bowl participants) and only one loss was by more than three points. Injuries hit just about every position group and the Ravens were nearly 33 games clear of the second-most punished team per the Adjusted Games Lost (AGL) metric at Football Outsiders. Lamar Jackson should be available for more games, and the defense should be healthier as well.
Los Angeles Rams Under 10.5 (-125)
The tea leaves show plenty of concerns about Matthew Stafford within this number. Some would argue that the Rams have the best roster in the NFL and it’s hard to argue given the Lombardi Trophy that Sean McVay held above his head at the end of last season. Stafford’s elbow is a clear red flag coming into the season, but there are others. Los Angeles has stayed remarkably healthy, finishing in the top five in AGL the last two seasons. This is a team that played 21 total games last season and lost some talent along the offensive line. John Wolford is a fine backup, but he isn’t exactly the QB you want to go to battle with each week, especially not with one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. The Rams play 10 games against playoff teams from last season and three greatly improved teams in the Broncos, Saints and Chargers, who missed the playoffs by mere seconds last season.
NFL Win Total Bets I Like
Miami Dolphins Over 9 (+ 100)
New head coach Mike McDaniel comes from a really strong offensive coaching tree. The Dolphins featured a great defense last season, but struggled mightily on offense, averaging just 4.8 yards per play. Tua Tagovailoa has been given all the tools he needs to succeed. Perhaps the offensive line could be better, but he has two Lamborghinis at wide receiver in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, not to mention Cedrick Wilson Jr. and a solid tight end in Mike Gesicki. This is a really balanced team that won nine games last season and it’s hard to see any area of the roster in which they are worse.
Minnesota Vikings Over 9 (-125)
The arrow is pointing up on the offensive stock for players like Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and Kirk Cousins with former Rams OC Kevin O’Connell now at the helm. What’s concerning about the Vikings is that they had the fewest turnovers in the NFL last season, were + 11 in turnover margin and still went 8-9. Maybe O’Connell can clear up the special teams blunders and the defensive woes, while creating a more efficient offense. This may be a case where the demise of the Packers is overblown and the rise of the Vikings is a little premature, but this team is clearly better with a competent head coach.
San Francisco 49ers Over 10 (-110)
The Trey Lance question is a big one, but also the only one holding the 49ers back. This might be the best roster in football, though the Bills also have a strong case. San Francisco’s ability to generate pressure with just the front four gives the defense a ton of margin for error and a great chance at eliminating explosive plays. On offense, Deebo Samuel is a stud and George Kittle is hard to stop, so Lance has two safety nets capable of creating a lot of open space. If Lance ends up being a dude, this may be the best team in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs Under 10.5 (+ 100)
Patrick Mahomes is still a really special player, but the Chiefs just don’t seem to have the same pizzazz that they’ve had in the past. They also reside in the best division in football, as the Chargers and Broncos both look significantly better this season and the Raiders have new hope with a new head coach and a new WR1. Betting against Andy Reid and Kansas City hasn’t exactly been profitable, but this is a team that was virtually even in yards per play differential and -4 in turnover margin in 2021, which usually means regression the following season.
Chicago Bears Under 6.5 (-190)
I would never recommend laying almost $2 on a win total bet, and unfortunately, even an alt win total at 5.5 doesn’t yield a whole lot of positive value. When you look at this Bears bunch, though, it’s fair to wonder where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. Well, maybe not: They’re going to the basement and they’re probably falling down the stairs. Poor Justin Fields. I don’t know if he’s good or not, but he sure as hell doesn’t have any help with this dumpster fire of a roster.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Under 11.5 (-130)
Truthfully, this may be another one to consider for an alt win total. The messaging about Tom Brady’s absence from training camp has been a little vague and you have to wonder if the 45-year-old jumped the gun a bit on his return. Ryan Jensen’s injury hasn’t helped, as he looked rather downtrodden right after that incident took place. Brady’s mobility grades slightly below snail and right above Easter Island statue and this offensive line looks a lot different without Jensen and with the retirement of Ali Marpet. Brady has questions at wide receiver to open the season and this defense is starting to age a bit.
Seattle Seahawks Under 5.5 (+ 120)
Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf are two really special players, but the NFL is not the NBA. Superstars can only carry you so far, especially ones that need somebody to throw the ball in their general direction. Geno Smith is probably better than Drew Lock (which is an indictment on Lock), but the rest of this roster is subpar. The Legion of Boom is no more. This is a team that truly, madly, deeply needs CJ Stroud or Bryce Young -- and that should be the focus as the season goes along.
Win Totals I’m Not Sure About
Buffalo Bills 11.5 (Over -140/Under + 120)
This is the top of the market for a win total. The Bills might be great, but needing 12 wins to cash a -140 ticket is a pretty lofty goal. Buffalo could only muster 11 wins last season with a Charmin-soft schedule; this year’s schedule is closer to league average. While Josh Allen was dynamic in the second half of the season and the playoffs, he’s not going to be the same running threat early in the year, as he’ll likely manage his body in the same way that he did last season. Remember, this was a 7-6 team after 13 games last season, including losses to the Steelers and Jaguars.
New England Patriots 8.5 (-125/+ 105)
The brain trust of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge calling plays in the first preseason game would seem to be a bad first impression for the Patriots. Of course, this is also a team led by Bill Belichick and betting against that guy is about as fun as getting a root canal after slamming your hand in the car door. Mac Jones threw for over 3,800 yards last season and he has a great chance to cut down on the interceptions in Year 2. The Patriots don’t have that bad a schedule, but they also don’t have as much talent as past teams and probably won’t have 30 takeaways again on defense.
Cincinnati Bengals 10 (+ 100/-120)
I like the Bengals a lot. I love Joe Burrow and the skill-position talent. Cincinnati’s offensive line also looks upgraded this season. However, this line seems to be pretty tight. The back half of the schedule could be quite daunting with the Titans, Chiefs, Browns, Bucs, Patriots, Bills and Ravens over the final seven games, so you’d need this team to get out in front and be on pace to go over the total early on. This just feels like an accurate number and a team that is low on variance.
Cleveland Browns 8.5 (+ 110/-140)
With Deshaun Watson officially out for 11 games, it will be the Jacoby Brissett show … or will it? Could the Browns opt to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo and just treat this as something of a throwaway season for Watson? Watson can't practice with the team until mid-November in advance of the Dec. 4 game against the Texans where he is eligible to return. With nearly two full seasons off by that point, who knows what he'll look like. Brissett has a very strong roster and an elite running game around him, but a 9-8 season seems like a pretty big ask. I'd probably need 7.5 to like an over with Brissett, but if Jimmy G was somehow acquired, 8.5 might be low (and would likely be adjusted). So, for now, we wait and see, as there's no rush to do anything with Cleveland's odds in any market.
Indianapolis Colts 10 (-105/-115)
Let’s see if the renaissance of Matt Ryan that the Colts are banking on comes to fruition. He’ll have a better running game than he ever had in Atlanta and Indianapolis also has a quality defense with a solid coaching staff. All of the pieces are in place for this team to be extremely good, including a rather weak schedule in what may be the worst division in football. Carson Wentz had a 27-7 TD:INT ratio last season with a 62.4% completion rate. Are we sure Ryan can do better than that? Surely the highlight-reel pick-sixes should disappear, but I think the market is high on this team as it is.
Tennessee Titans 9 (-105/-115)
Sticking in that same division, I’m really curious about the Titans. This team went 12-5 last season and only got eight games out of Derrick Henry. The stretch where they did have Henry included two wins over the Colts, plus wins over Buffalo and Kansas City. For good measure, they also beat the Rams and 49ers without him. On the other hand, 105 targets to A.J. Brown are now missing and Ryan Tannehill regressed from 2020 to 2021. If Henry is back at 100% and the Titans’ defensive improvements weren’t a mirage, maybe this is a double-digit winner again.
Denver Broncos 10 (-110/-110)
The Broncos took a very good roster and gave it a real fighting chance at a Super Bowl by acquiring Russell Wilson. This is a team with great backs and receivers and a really solid defense. Nothing against defensive mastermind Vic Fangio, but Nathaniel Hackett should be an upgrade as the head coach as well. With Teddy Bridgewater, this was a .500 team; with Drew Lock, it was not. The Broncos were 7-6 and knocking on the playoff door before losing out against the Bengals, Raiders, Chargers and Chiefs. Could Russ represent a four-win upgrade? Sure. This is another one, though, where you’re buying at the top of the market on a team, and this time in a really difficult division to navigate.
Las Vegas Raiders 8.5 (-130/+ 110)
There is a lot of excitement about Josh McDaniels and the tandem of Derek Carr and Davante Adams. A lot of people are also excited to see what kind of havoc Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby can wreak on opposing quarterbacks. The thing about the AFC West is that somebody is going to have to lose some games. Somebody almost has to wind up 8-9 or lower. Are the Raiders the most likely team to do that? I’d argue that they are, unfortunately. They were 10-7 last season with a point differential of -65. They won their last four games by a combined 12 points to make the playoffs and had seven wins by six or fewer points. Even with an improved roster, regression to the mean seems likely.
Los Angeles Chargers 10 (-140/+ 120)
The sky is the limit for the Chargers. However, there are so many issues on the defensive side that need to be ironed out that I’m not sure where this team ultimately lands. We know that Justin Herbert will lead an explosive offense. We also know that the Chargers were second in points per drive last season and 29th in points per drive against. They only outscored opponents by 15 total points and scored almost 28 PPG. I get the hype for this team and I’m a lot closer to buying in than staying away, but the schedule is very tricky, especially with the six tough division games, and drawing the NFC West out of conference.
Dallas Cowboys 10 (-110/-110)
Frankly, your guess is as good as mine with the division and with this team. The Cowboys have the most proven QB in the NFC East in Dak Prescott, but he’s going to have to find some new receivers to trust. CeeDee Lamb is the unquestioned WR1, but South Alabama rookie Jalen Tolbert may very well be the WR2 with Michael Gallup working his way back into form (and James Washington hurt). The defense thrived on takeaways last season, leading the league with 34 (nearly 17% of opponents’ possessions ended in a turnover). Otherwise, this was a defense that wasn’t very good against the pass or the run. A repeat performance of a + 14 turnover margin appears highly unlikely, plus there are shoes to fill on offense.
New York Giants 7 (-110/-110)
The Giants have won at least eight games one time since the 2012 season, so we’re asking this team to reach some heights that have not been reached in a while. Adults in the coaches’ room will help, as Larry, Curly and Moe will no longer be on the sidelines for New York. Joe Judge was replaced by Brian Daboll, while OC Mike Kafka will do the job of Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens. This is a huge year for impending free agent QB Daniel Jones, who has some weapons and offensive coaches with a clue. The defense looks pretty interesting. Unfortunately, all of that has been factored into this win total price. Are the Giants four wins better than last year’s team? Perhaps, but not for my money.
Detroit Lions 6.5 (-120/+ 100)
“Optimism” and “Detroit Lions” aren’t normally uttered in the same sentence, but this is a team on the rise. It’s hard to do anything other than rise from the depths, but the offensive line looks like a formidable unit and there are a lot of really intriguing players on both offense and defense. The missing piece may be available in the first five picks of the 2023 NFL draft, but not many people expect the Lions to be bad enough to select there. Your view on Detroit is directly correlated to your view on Jared Goff, who has a lot more talent to work with now, but also needs to be a lot better to push this team up four wins in the standings. For what it’s worth, Goff did have a 16-3 TD:INT ratio in quarters 1-3 of games last season.
Green Bay Packers 11 (-110/-110)
For all the talk about the Vikings and all the pessimism about the Packers, this win total of 11 is still one of the highest on the board. Not only does Aaron Rodgers have to find a new favorite target, but his offensive coordinator is now in Denver. Davante Adams was targeted 169 times and had 123 receptions in his 16 games. The next closest receiver was running back Aaron Jones with 65 targets and 52 grabs. How much will the Packers regress? They were + 13 in turnover margin and tied for the league lead in giveaways with 13. Their Expected Win-Loss by point differential was 10.4-6.6, well below their actual 13-4 record. They rarely won by margin, despite all the turnover fortune. But it’s also hard to bet against Rodgers, even with Adams gone.
Carolina Panthers 6.5 (-110/-110)
Baker Mayfield seems to represent an upgrade over Sam Darnold. The Panthers do have some quality skill players, especially if Christian McCaffrey can defy the odds and stay healthy. However, Carolina also has what appears to be a lame-duck head coach in Matt Rhule, whose buttocks are covered with third-degree burns from the heat of his seat. This defense does have some promise and the offensive line is upgraded from last season. The Panthers could win four games. They could win seven. If Mayfield channels 2020 and McCaffrey stays healthy, maybe even eight comes into play. That’s too many ifs for me.
Win Totals I Wouldn’t Bet With Your Money
New York Jets 5.5 (-160/+ 130)
The Jets’ 2022 draft haul was universally praised, as it looks like the organization is going in the right direction. It’s the Jets’ 2021 draft haul that I’m more interested in. Namely, is Zach Wilson “the guy”? He was sacked 44 times behind an offensive line that was young, but seemed to improve a tad as the season went along. The Jets also had a pretty decent rushing attack. Like so many young QBs around the league, Wilson has been surrounded with the ingredients to make a good dish, but a bad chef can make Japanese Wagyu taste like shoe leather. If it turns out that Wilson’s biggest scores came off the field in 2022, that will be a bad sign going forward for the Jets. This team seems to have a wide range of outcomes in a mediocre division.
Pittsburgh Steelers 7.5 (+ 100/-120)
Historical outliers make for daunting bets -- like how Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season. And look, let’s be honest, is Mitch Trubisky that much worse than the corpse of Ben Roethlisberger last season? This is still a feisty defense with possibly the league’s best defensive player in T.J. Watt. This is still a remarkably well-run organization. It’s possible that Trubisky -- a Chardon, OH native playing much closer to home -- finds something here starting for an organization that isn’t a total dumpster fire. It’s also possible that he doesn’t, Kenny Pickett isn’t ready to take over and this all bottoms out for the Steelers. I’m sure the Yinzers will blame the fact that the big ketchup bottles outside Heinz, er, Acrisure Field are gone.
Houston Texans 4.5 (+ 100/-120)
Is Davis Mills good? It wasn’t pretty early, but when he retook the reins over the last six games, Mills completed 66.5% of his passes with a 9-2 TD:INT ratio. He didn’t have much help outside of Brandin Cooks and an AARP team would have a better running game, but he battled and won himself some additional reps under new head coach Lovie Smith. In the world of coaching hires, Lovie being back is about as unimaginative as it gets, but five wins is not a big ask.
Jacksonville Jaguars 6.5 (+ 110/-130)
Even soccer players were in awe of how much Urban Meyer flopped in Jacksonville. A 3-14 season is going to create a toxic environment no matter what, but Meyer’s treatment of players took it to a new extreme. You can see how much respect is being given to Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars with an actual head coach in Doug Pederson. A four-win improvement feels like a lot on the surface, but this roster wasn’t nearly as bad as last season’s results would suggest. I just have no idea how close this team actually is to 7-10 and couldn’t possibly invest real American dollars in the outcome.
Philadelphia Eagles 9.5 (-150/+ 125)
Last season, I said that the Eagles had the highest range of potential outcomes of any team in the NFL. They wound up going 9-8 and made the playoffs, which came as a surprise to most. I don’t know if Jalen Hurts can survive as an NFL starting quarterback. He leaves a lot to be desired as a passer and the hardships of being a running QB are a lot different in the NFL. I know he has a ton of talent around him and all the pieces to succeed. The Eagles could win 11 or 12 games and dominate in a subpar division … they could also win six or seven games and find out that Hurts isn’t the guy. Nothing would surprise me here.
Washington Commanders 8 (+ 100/-120)
I will say that I fall into the category of Carson Wentz defender. Hey, we all have our flaws! I think the good things that Wentz has done have been overshadowed by the egregious, absurd and horrifying turnovers he’s had in his career. Is he the franchise quarterback he should have been at No. 2 overall? Certainly not. However, he’s got a 140-57 TD:INT ratio with pretty decent numbers in his career and was once a top-three finisher for the MVP. There is a chance that this season totally falls apart for Washington, Ron Rivera gets fired and fan apathy takes over with a new team name few people seem to like and an owner nobody likes. There’s also the off chance that Washington somehow emerges from a lackluster division and winds up being a lot better than expected.
Atlanta Falcons 5 (+ 125/-145)
After professing that I think Wentz is actually better than his reputation, I’ll double down with another stupid statement: I think the Falcons could be pretty decent. Am I convinced that perennial understudy Marcus Mariota can lead a team? No, not really. However, I think Desmond Ridder can and he has an interesting collection of skill guys. Cordarrelle Patterson is a lot of fun. Kyle Pitts is a star in the making. Drake London and Bryan Edwards aren’t bad receivers. Sure, the offensive line is lacking and the defense looks suspect at best, but is six wins really that much of a stretch?
Arizona Cardinals 8.5 (-110/-110)
Kyler Murray got the bag. He deserved a big bag and I think he’s improved each of his three seasons in the NFL. The question now boils down to how he plays given his newfound financial security. Murray is at his best when he’s running and throwing. He couldn’t do the running late last season and it hurt the Cardinals in a big way. What also hurts the Cardinals is that Kliff Kingsbury is still the head coach. This team probably goes under with the early-season suspension to DeAndre Hopkins and Kingsbury’s below-average coaching ability, but I have a hard time counting this team out for a variety of reasons, with Murray at the top of the list.