The 2022 NFL season is almost here. Teams around the league are finalizing their 53-man rosters and making the necessary transactions for what is sure to be one of the most interesting year's in recent memory. Back in June, our experts offered their tips on how to approach betting NFL win totals ahead of the season. With less than three weeks left until opening week we had them revisit their takes to see if anything has changed over the past couple months.
Here is everything you need to know to make a bet on an NFL win total before the season begins.
All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
What is the one win total you have to bet right now?
Erin Dolan, ESPN betting analyst: Kansas City Chiefs under 10.5 wins (-105). This is the year the Chiefs will take a hit in a loaded AFC West division. They no longer have Tyreek Hill and have a tough strength of schedule. Kansas City faces the Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Buccaneers, Raiders, Bills and 49ers in the seven weeks before its bye. Then after the bye the Chiefs have to face teams like the Titans, Rams and Bengals. I think this win total shifts after the first few weeks. Looking back at last season, the Chiefs had a 3-4 record heading into Week 8 and then ripped off eight wins, but I don't see that happening this year.
Joe Fortenbaugh, ESPN betting analyst: Chicago Bears under 6.5 wins (-190). The Bears' decision to trade Khalil Mack this offseason in exchange for draft picks made Chicago's short-term approach crystal clear. This is a complete rebuild from top to bottom. Justin Fields completed an alarming 58.9% of his passes last season and now finds himself not only behind a highly suspect offensive line, but working with his second head coach in as many seasons. Oh, and that's before you factor in the departure of Allen Robinson II. This isn't 2006, when Rex Grossman rode an elite defense to the Super Bowl. The Bears can't bank on that side of the ball to bail them out anymore.
Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders editor-in-chief: New Orleans Saints over 8.0 wins (-160). The juice here really wants you to take the Saints under, but evidence really wants you to take the over. New Orleans is our No.1 projected defense for 2022 in Football Outsiders Almanac 2022. They've been a top three defense in DVOA the last two years without being a top defense in takeaways, which points towards rare defensive consistency. On offense, Jameis Winston is coming off 64.4 QBR in half a season. He doesn't need to repeat that for the Saints to beat this over; he just needs to lead an average offense or better. With Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, and Jarvis Landry now as his top three receivers, there's a very good chance he's going to do that. An average offense plus a top 5 defense should equal a wild-card contender and a winning record.
Anita Marks, ESPN betting analyst: Pittsburgh Steelers over 7.5 wins (-105). To steal a line from Rodney Dangerfield, "No respect ... I tell ya!" Mitch Trubisky is getting no respect. Many think of Trubisky as the horrible Bears quarterback who should not have been drafted second overall in 2017. But he spent last year with the Bills organization, learning from Brian Daboll and Josh Allen. I expect him to start in Pittsburgh. The Steelers' offense will start and end with Najee Harris, which will allow Trubisky and his wide receivers to thrive in the play-action game. I'm also expecting big things from second-year tight end Pat Freiermuth. Pittsburgh's defense should easily rank in the top five, with arguably one of the best LB cores (T.J. Watt, Deon Bush and Myles Jack) and the addition of Levi Wallace in the secondary. The Steelers' schedule is not too difficult, and I see them easily getting wins against the Patriots, Jets, Saints, Falcons and Panthers.
Seth Walder, ESPN sports analytics writer: San Francisco 49ers under 10 wins (-110). Get in now before the 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo and seal their fate with an unknown at quarterback. Somehow this team is priced like it has a solid signal-caller, even though most young quarterbacks -- even first-rounders -- end up as flops. So I'm willing to take my chances fading Trey Lance, particularly since the 49ers told us a year ago they thought Garoppolo was better by putting him on the field.
Eric Moody, ESPN betting analyst: New Orleans Saints over 8.0 wins (-160). The Saints decided to strengthen their talent pool, even using future draft picks to do so. The team has brought in key veterans including Jarvis Landry, filled voids via the draft, and hired some very good positional coaches. Despite Jameis Winston playing only seven games last season, the Saints won nine games. He averaged only 167 passing yards per game with a suboptimal group of receivers. However, Winston threw 14 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. In 2022, Chris Olave and Michael Thomas will help the passing game. The Saints might also sweep rivals Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers in the NFC South. With Tom Brady at the helm, the Buccaneers will be a formidable opponent, but New Orleans swept the season series last year as well.
Tyler Fulghum, ESPN betting analyst: Atlanta Falcons under 5.0 wins (-145).The Falcons appear to have the weakest roster in the NFL at the moment. Marcus Mariota is clearly just a stop-gap option. The offense around him is uninspiring despite the presence of Kyle Pitts and rookie Drake London. I struggle to find a game on the schedule in which they will be favored at all. I don't love laying this kind of juice but, honestly, I would play this total at 3.5 if the price was juicy enough.
The Jets' win total of 5.5 is getting the most handle nationwide. What are your thoughts on it?
Dolan: There is only one other team with a win total set at 5.5. That's the Atlanta Falcons. Oh, and it's juiced to the under. I think this is taking the most handle nationwide because bettors are looking for the low-hanging fruit. I mean, a 17-game season and oddsmakers set the line at 5.5. The Jets went 4-13 last season with wins over the Titans, Bengals, Texans and Jaguars. Out of those four, two make sense. The other two playoff teams do not. With that said, the Jets are the Jets. New York has a large population of passionate sports fans, so it does not surprise me that it is taking the most handle nationwide. Always refer to the location of a sportsbook and the clientele when looking at splits.
Marks: The Jets crushed the draft! My favorite pick was Garrett Wilson at 10, and I'm excited to see the chemistry develop between him and Zach Wilson. This is a young team, with not a lot of veteran leadership or experience. The Jets will possibly have 13 starters who are rookies or second-year players and the NFL did them no favors with this season's schedule. The Jets face all four AFC North teams in their first four games and I see them starting 0-4. They also face the Dolphins, Packers, Broncos, Patriots and Bills before their bye week. The Jets will be fortunate to be 2-7 by Week 10. Their schedule gets easier after the bye week with games against the Bears, Lions, Jaguars and Seahawks. My suggestion is to sit and wait to see if the over/under win total comes down to 4, and if the odds get juicier. It will be a rough start to the season.
Moody: It makes sense that this win total is gaining traction among bettors. Jets general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh rounded out the team with a few excellent draft choices in 2022. There are good odds for Breece Hall, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson II and Ahmad Gardner to win Rookie of the Year. Wilson's growth in his second year under center shouldn't be underestimated. Wilson is surrounded by a host of playmakers at receiver, running back and tight end. The Jets also have a strong offensive line. New York's early-season schedule is daunting, but it lightens up considerably as the season progresses. I like the over here. I think the Jets will finish 8-9.
The Buccaneers, Packers and Bills all have win totals at 11 or higher. Brady's team has not gone under the total since 2009. Which one of the three would you trust most to get 12 wins?
Schatz: At the risk of angering the Tom Brady gods here, I will take the Buffalo Bills. We have the Bills projected as the top team of the year at Football Outsiders, and they are a well-rounded team, projected in the top five for offense, defense and special teams DVOA. That means they should be insulated against injury better than the Buccaneers; if one unit struggles for a couple of weeks, the other units should be able to hold up the team's performance.
Walder: The Bills. What's their weakness? Running back carries? That barely qualifies since it just keeps the ball in Josh Allen's hands, where it should be. Elite quarterback, elite wide receiver, excellent secondary and an upgraded pass rush featuring Von Miller is a recipe for success, especially with no other particularly dangerous team in the AFC East.
Moody: I'd trust the Buccaneers. This is easily the most talented team in their division, and after the NFC lost some key players elsewhere this offseason, Tampa Bay should be the favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Besides the NFC South, the Buccaneers also face the NFC West and the AFC North, which are not easy matchups, but I believe this is a team that could win 14 games in 2022.
Fulghum: I trust the Bills and Packers most to go over this total. The Bills have the most complete roster in the NFL. Josh Allen is the MVP favorite for good reason. Barring any injury, this team should absolutely win at least 12 games. The Packers may have lost Davante Adams, but I don't think that matters very much. Aaron Rodgers is still the reigning two-time league MVP... but Rodgers arm is only the icing on the cake for how this roster is constructed. Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon and a very good offensive line will allow the Packers to run the ball on almost any team in the league. Meanwhile, last year's defense -- which was very good -- got better this offseason with the way Green Bay attacked the draft and free agency. With a strong run game, dominate defense and only using Rodgers' magic in his right arm when completely necessary, the Packers are a potential top-5 team in the NFL.