Nostrathomas opened his 2022 season the same way every other football fan did on Thursday night, by watching Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen shred the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams like tissue paper.
Still, while I missed my first point spread of the season, I also recommended taking the under 52, and that hit. That puts the record for the 2022 season at 0-1 straight-up and 1-1 against the spread (Seem my game preview here).
There’s still plenty of fun to be had in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL Season. Let’s see what betting advantages we can find.
Game of the Week
Las Vegas Raiders +3.5 vs Los Angeles Chargers; Over/Under 52 (4:25PM ET; SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, CA)
The AFC West is loaded this season and this game is going to be just the first of many showdowns within the division.
In 2021, Las Vegas lost to the Chargers on Monday Night in Week 4 but got their revenge at home in Week 18. The Raiders held off Los Angeles 35-32 in an overtime thriller that sent them to the playoffs and the Chargers home to wonder what went wrong.
Las Vegas went to work last offseason to strengthen new head coach Josh McDaniel’s hand. The Raiders picked up All Pro receiver Davante Adams in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. He’ll join Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller to give quarterback Derek Carr quality targets.
Las Vegas also added Chandler Jones and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin to bolster their defense.
For the Chargers, Justin Herbert is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw at least 30 touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons. Herbert also has all his favorite offensive weapons ready to go in Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
Los Angeles also didn’t forget about improving their defense this past offseason. They picked up defensive end Khalil Mack from the Chicago Bears to team with Joey Bosa in their pass rush.
This is a tough game to pick, especially against the spread. Public money is coming in on both sides of the 3.5 spread so don’t it to change before kickoff.
While I believe Los Angeles has enough firepower to win this game, it’s that half-point kicker that keeps me from picking the Chargers to win and cover. Take Los Angeles to win while the Raiders keep it close at the end.
If you want to turn this into a two-pick parlay, both of these teams love scoring points. Grab the Over 52, or just bet the over and stay away from the spread.
Los Angeles Chargers 32 Las Vegas Raiders 30
New Orleans Saints -5.5 vs Atlanta Falcons (1PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Field, Atlanta, GA)
One of these two teams is going to challenge the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for mastery of the NFC South this season. No, it won’t be the Atlanta Falcons.
Just because former defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has been promoted to head coach of the New Orleans Saints doesn’t mean you’re going to see a drop-off on that side of the ball.
According to Nostrathomas’ stats analysis, New Orleans had the second-best defensive line in the NFL last season. Seeing 2021 Pro Bowler Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport rushing from the defensive end spots is bad news for a Falcons offensive line that consists of Jake Matthews, Chris Lindstrom and a lot of guys trying to find themselves.
Atlanta will be spending much of this game trying to find themselves on offense. The one advantage they have is that Marcus Mariota is a better fit for how head coach Arthur Smith likes to call plays. I never got the feeling that Smith and Matt Ryan were ever completely comfortable with each other.
The key to this game for the Falcons is how does their young defense react to shut down Jameis Winston and the New Orleans passing game.
Before his torn ACL injury last season, it looked like Sean Payton had taught Winston how to be an effective passer with patience instead of trying to force plays downfield. Can rookie defensive end Arnold Ebiketie and defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham improve an Atlanta pass rush that has been the worst in the league over the past two seasons.
The public likes the Saints, pouring 71 percent of their money to New Orleans and moving the line from an open of -3.5 to its current -5.5. The public seems to have a good handle on this game. Take New Orleans to win and cover.
New Orleans Saints 26 Atlanta Falcons 18
Baltimore Ravens -6.5 vs New York Jets (1PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)
Joe Flacco has not been on the winning side of one of his starts since 2019 with the Denver Broncos. He’s a long way from being the quarterback that led the Baltimore Ravens to a win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII
The Jets could keep this game close with their defense but they currently don’t have the offense to keep up with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
One trend to keep in mind, John Harbaugh is 10-4 against the spread in Week 1 as head coach of the Ravens.
Baltimore Ravens 29 New York Jets 16
Denver Broncos -6.5 vs Seattle Seahawks (Monday Night Football, Lumen Field, Seattle, WA)
The Russell Wilson gets started for the Denver Broncos while it comes to an end for the Seattle Seahawks.
The Denver Broncos were contending for a playoff spot in 2021 before losing Teddy Bridgewater to an injury and finishing 0-4. That finish with Drew Lock closing out the season is what got head coach Vic Fangio fired.
Denver’s finish last season should perfectly illustrate how important a quarterback is to a team. That’s why they traded five picks plus Lock to the Seahawks to get Wilson.
For Seattle, Lock will be the backup for starter Geno Smith. Again, this is the difference a quarterback makes. The expectations for this Seattle team haven’t been this low since the first two years of the Pete Carroll era.
Even without Vic Fangio on the sidelines, this Denver defense is going to be too tough for the Seahawks to handle. With their future Hall of Fame quarterback standing on the opposing sideline, that’s reason enough to take the Denver Broncos to win and cover.
Denver Broncos 23 Seattle Seahawks 10
Cleveland Browns vs Carolina Panthers -.5 (1PM ET; Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC)
A perfectly scheduled game by the NFL in its opening week. You know Baker Mayfield wants this game. He has a healthy Christian McCaffrey at running back plus wide receiver D.J. Moore and a revamped offensive line to try and get it.
With Jacoby Brissett as the starting quarterback until Deshaun Watson comes off suspension, Cleveland will be attempting to win this game on the ground behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. That might work on most teams but the Panthers were eighth in the league in rushing yards per attempt allowed in 2021.
Carolina head coach Matt Rhule is currently high on my list of coaches on the hot seat heading into this season (NFL Week 1: Matt Rhule and Pete Carroll on the Hottest Seats) but should do in this game the one thing he’s good at. Get a win in September.
One insane trend to think about for this game, Cleveland is 0-16-1 in season openers going back to 2005. They are also 0-2 when playing in Charlotte (Thank you Stathead Football for those numbers).
Carolina Panthers 21 Cleveland Browns 16
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Washington Commanders -3 (1PM ET; FedEx Field, Washington D.C)
Carson Wentz is now the starting quarterback for the squad formerly known as The Football Team. Last season he was with the Indianapolis Colts, guaranteed a playoff spot with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and was favored by two scores. He lost, by two scores.
Unfortunately for Jacksonville this year, they haven’t given Trevor Lawrence as much help on offense this past offseason as you would expect for a first overall pick.
Can the Jaguars hang around and give the group formerly known as The Football Team headaches before this game is over? Yes, but Washington should be able to put a better defense on the field than they did last year too. Hail to the Commanders.
Washington Commanders 20 Jacksonville Jaguars 16
New England Patriots +3.5 vs Miami Dolphins (1PM ET; Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL)
The Miami Dolphins bookended their 2021 season with wins over the New England Patriots. Now they get to open against New England again, this time with Mike McDaniel as their head coach.
Miami added more than just a new head coach. The have Raheem Mostert from San Francisco at running back and receiver Tyreek Hill from the Chiefs.
As much improvement as Miami has made this offseason, they’re going up against the team that was the second toughest team to score against last season.
If the Dolphins and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa show up well and beat New England this week, I’ll be ready to think higher of them as the season goes on. Until then, the Patriots get the nod here.
New England Patriots 20 Miami Dolphins 16
Best of the Rest
San Francisco 49ers -6.5 vs Chicago Bears (1:00PM ET; Soldier Field, Chicago, IL)
This is a great Week 1 battle between two quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Trey Lance and Justin Fields.
The problem for the Bears is, while Lance is an unknown factor in San Francisco’s offense, he still has the supporting cast that got the 49ers to the NFC Conference Championship Game last season.
Chicago has spent the offseason moving dead salary cap money and attempting to put the building blocks of a foundation in place that they can build on in the next offseason. They will make a mark this season but not against this playoff tested 49ers squad.
San Francisco 49ers 26 Chicago Bears 16
Philadelphia Eagles -5 vs Detroit Lions (1PM ET; Ford Field, Detroit, MI)
The Detroit Lions surrendered 236 rushing yards and 114 passing yards in a loss to the Eagles in Week 8 last season. Watch them attempt to stop Jalen Hurts and company on the ground this year and get torn up by A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert.
Detroit has a lot to prove this season. First, can they finish a game? Once they do that, I’ll be ready to give them more credit and a pick to win.
Philadelphia Eagles 27 Detroit Lions 20
Indianapolis Colts -7 vs Houston Texans (1PM ET; NRG Stadium, Houston, TX)
The Indianapolis Colts beat the Houston Texans by a combined score of 62-3 in 2021. They now have future Hall of Famer Matt Ryan at quarterback. All-everything running back Jonathan Taylor ran 46 times for 283 yards in those games. That’s an average of 6.15 yards per carry.
Houston has a young team that will be looking to improve and show they belong as the season goes on. This is Week 1. That hasn’t happened yet.
Indianapolis Colts 24 Houston Texans 10
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals -6.5 (1PM ET; Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati, OH)
The Ben Roethlisberger era is over for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Long live the Mitch Trubisky era, at least until it’s time in Pittsburgh to start the Kenny Pickett era.
Because it’s Trubisky at quarterback, I expect Pittsburgh to place their offense on the back of Najee Harris. That’s not an advantage for the Steelers. Cincinnati held Harris to 63 yards on 22 carries in two games last season.
Pittsburgh still has one of the best pass rushes in the NFL and they’re going to need it against one of the top passing offenses in the league.
Joe Burrow still has Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and the Bengals have added Hayden Hurst at tight end.
Cincinnati gave the Steelers two beat-downs last season, winning in Week 3 on the road, 24-10 and in Week 7 at home 41-10. This quarterback matchup also says no to taking the road dog.
Cincinnati Bengals 30 Pittsburgh Steelers 13
Kansas City Chiefs -6 vs Arizona Cardinals; Over/Under 53.5 (4:25PM ET; State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ)
Patrick Mahomes is recognized as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Kyler Murray has just been paid as one.
Mahomes will be missing a major target this season in Tyreek Hill but the Chiefs have brought in Marquez Valdes-Scantling from Green Bay and Juju Smith-Schuster from Pittsburgh to try and adapt.
For the Cardinals, wide receiver Christian Kirk is gone but they’ve brought in Marquise Brown from Baltimore to give Murray the talented target he’ll be missing until DeAndre Hopkins returns from his suspension.
Andy Reid is on a 7-0 home opener run and is 8-1 overall with the Chiefs. Kansas City lost in the AFC Conference Championship game last season so they’ll be ready to get back on track when this game kicks off.
Take Kansas City to win and cover and the over is also a very good bet for this game.
Kansas City Chiefs 34 Arizona Cardinals 26
Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings +1.5 (4:25PM ET; U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN)
Aaron Rodgers has been smiling his way through training camp even though his favorite receiver, Davante Adams, was traded to the Raiders and Marquez Valdes-Scantling was moved to the Chiefs.
This game depends on whether Green Bay tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins will be able to play. The Vikings have a defensive line that will challenge them.
Minnesota has also been feeling pretty good this summer with Kevin O’Connell as the new head coach in place of Mike Zimmer.
The Vikings have a lot of weapons on offense to use against Green Bay’s defense. That should be enough to get them past the Packers in their home opener.
Minnesota Vikings 25 Green Bay Packers 20
New York Giants vs Tennessee Titans -5.5 (4:25PM; Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN)
The Tennessee Titans took top seed in the AFC last season with a 12-5 record. That was quite an accomplishment considering that Tennessee lost running back Derrick Henry for nine games.
The Titans traded top receiver A.J. Brown but drafted two rookies out of last season’s strong receiver class to try and fill the gap that left.
It will be interesting to see what Brian Daboll can do to improve New York’s offense but the Titans still have a strong defensive group. Strong enough to win and cover.
Tennessee Titans 23 New York Giants 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Dallas Cowboys +2.5 (Sunday Night Football; AT&T Stadium, Dallas, TX)
What is happening with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Tom Brady retired, came back, then Bruce Arians retired into the front office, then Brady took two weeks off during training camp.
What the Buccaneers have is a top receiving corps. What they don’t have is the offensive line that has kept quarterback Tom Brady clean the last two seasons.
Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet retired after last season. Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen will be out until at least November. Also, guard Aaron Stinnie suffered a knee injury in Tampa Bay’s third preseason game.
Considering that Dallas had one of the toughest defenses in the league in 2021 that they will be throwing against that offensive line, that’s a good enough reason to take the home dogs to win and cover.
Dallas Cowboys 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26