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NFL Week 1: Matthew Freedman’s Early Trends & Bets (2022)

by May 13, 2022
Sean McVay

It’s the middle of May: Baseball is starting to get boring, basketball and hockey are in predictable playoff form — and the NFL just released the full schedule for the 2022 regular season.

You’re reading this piece: You’re a degenerate. No hiding that fact.

I’m writing this piece. I’m a degenerate — I admit it.

And the sportsbooks have already posted NFL Week 1 odds.

Let’s do what we do. Let’s bet some football.

Here are my early bets for every single Week 1 game, along with some trends I’ve noticed.

Is it smart to bet on every NFL game? Probably not. It’s something I do only for Week 1. It’s my way of thanking the football gods for another season. So for your own personal use, it’s probably smart to think of these bets as the ones I’d like most if I were forced to bet on every game.

Are the trends I highlight relevant? Meh. Maybe. I’m not a trends bettor, but I find that historical situational data (I have access to information going back to 2003) helps me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games.

All lines are from the BettingPros NFL odds page.

Abbreviations: Against the spread (ATS), over/under (O/U)

Note: In case you’re unfamiliar with sports betting terminology, “Lions +4.5” means that the Lions can lose by up to four points while still winning the bet. “Ravens -4.5” means that the Ravens must win by more than four points to win the bet. “Over 42.5” means that the two teams can combine for any number of points over 42 to win the bet. At -110 odds, bettors wager $110 for every $100 they wish to win.

All odds are from the following sportsbooks.

As I make more bets as we approach the season, I will post them first in our FREE BettingPros Discord and then write up my bets for publication via article. To get my bets as quickly as possible, join Discord.

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NFL Week 1: Early Trends & Bets

Los Angeles Rams vs. Buffalo Bills

  • Bet: Rams +1
  • Odds: -115
  • Sportsbook: FanDuel
  • Date: Thursday, September 8, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.15
  • Notes: Since 2003, the reigning Super Bowl champions have kicked off the NFL regular season by hosting 16 primetime weekday games (one on Wednesday, 15 on Thursday). In those games, they are 10-5-1 ATS. Rams HC Sean McVay has historically started the season hot, going 8-2 ATS in Weeks 1-2. This line is -1 at every other book.

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets

  • Bet: Ravens -4.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: In his 14 years with the Ravens, HC John Harbaugh is 10-4 ATS in Week 1, and that’s probably not luck given that he is also 9-5 ATS off the regular-season bye. Harbaugh is a force with extra time to prepare. Jets QB Zach Wilson was 5-8 ATS last year. This line is already -5.5 at FanDuel.

Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Bet: Lions +4.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: FanDuel
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: The Eagles made the playoffs in 2021-22 as a 9-8 wild card, but kneecap-gnawing Lions HC Dan Campbell was 11-6 ATS last season and specifically 4-1 ATS vs. teams with a winning percentage above .500. This line is as low as +3.5 at Caesars.

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

  • Bet: Patriots +3
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: Caesars
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: Patriots HC Bill Belichick is 227-16-2 ATS as a road underdog since 2003. In that same timeframe, road underdogs are 124-98-10 ATS in division in September. This line is +2.5 at FanDuel.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

  • Bet: Steelers +6.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: Steelers HC Mike Tomlin is 20-13-2 ATS without QB Ben Roethlisberger and 19-6-2 ATS for his career as a divisional underdog. He’s also 15-12 on the moneyline (+9.3 units) as a divisional dog. I don’t hate the Steelers to win outright at +220 at Caesars.

Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers

  • Bet: Bears +6.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: Opponents are 24-16-1 ATS as underdogs against 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan and 21-15 ATS against him without QB Jimmy Garoppolo. This line is +6 at Caesars.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders

  • Bet: Jaguars +4.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: Caesars
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: I love that the NFL schedule has pitted former Eagles HC Doug Pederson and former Eagles QB Carson Wentz against each other for Week 1. Now with the Jaguars, Pederson is 11-6 ATS for his career with quarterbacks other than Wentz. Meanwhile, Wentz is 24-33 ATS since returning from the season-ending knee injury that derailed his 2017 MVP-caliber campaign and likely his career. This line is +4 at FanDuel.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

  • Bet: Over 42
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: Both the Saints and Falcons have a chance to be better this year than they were last year on offense, and this game benefits from the domed environment of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Even though these two teams are divisional rivals, this game could shoot out. Indoor divisional games have a 17-8 Week 1 O/U record. This line is 42.5 at FanDuel.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

  • Bet: Colts -7.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: Caesars
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: Throughout his career in the NFL and NCAA (Bears, Buccaneers, University of Illinois), Texans HC Lovie Smith is 54-68-1 ATS at home. Colts HC Frank Reich is 21-12-2 ATS on the road.

Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers

  • Bet: Browns -3.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: Panthers HC Matt Rhule is 4-12 ATS at home. Panthers QB Sam Darnold is 18-30-1 ATS for his career. Let’s say that the Browns trade QB Baker Mayfield to the Panthers in advance of Week 1: He’s 18-29-1 ATS in his post-rookie seasons. Plus, I’m increasingly skeptical that QB Deshaun Watson will be suspended to start the season. This line is -4.5 at Caesars

New York Giants at Tennessee Titans

  • Bet: New York Giants +6.5
  • Odds: +100
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1
  • Notes: Giants QB Daniel Jones is 11-4 ATS as a road underdog, and the Titans just traded away their best player (WR A.J. Brown) in the draft.

Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals

  • Bet: Chiefs -3
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: Caesars
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: The Cardinals will be without WR DeAndre Hopkins (suspension), and HC Kliff Kingsbury is 9-15 ATS at home. Chiefs HC Andy Reid historically starts the season hot, going 23-13 ATS in Weeks 1-4 throughout his tenure with the team.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

  • Bet: Packers -1.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: I don’t want to be dramatic — but this line is an insult. For his career, QB Aaron Rodgers is 50-29 ATS in division, and he’s more than a year older than smooth-faced Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell, who has never been a head coach before.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Bet: Chargers -4
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: With the exception of the competent-yet-blackballed Brian Flores, not one Bill Belichick assistant from the Patriots (Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O’Brien, Matt Patricia, Joe Judge and former Broncos & current Raiders HC Josh Daniels) has a winning ATS record. Collectively, they are 179-197-8 ATS.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys

  • Bet: Over 51.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: I took the over in last year’s Week 1 Bucs-Boys 60-point shootout. I’m doing the same this year. Cowboys OC Kellen Moore has a 28-22 O/U record, and Buccaneers OC Bryon Leftwich is 33-22 O/U. This line is 52 at Caesars.

Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks

  • Bet: Seahawks +4.5
  • Odds: -110
  • Sportsbook: DraftKings
  • Date: Monday, September 12, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Units: 1.1
  • Notes: What if new Broncos & former Seahawks QB Russell Wilson isn’t as good as he used to be? What if Seattle names Geno Smith (3-0 ATS last year) as the starter? In Week 1, Monday Night Football underdogs are 22-11-1 ATS. This line is +3.5 at Caesars.

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