Week 1 NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Ravens vs. Jets Total, Giants vs. Titans Spread Are Expert’s Early Bets
Getty Images. Pictured: Giants RB Saquon Barkley, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
- Week 1 NFL odds are out! And our expert already has picks and predictions.
- Find out which lines he's already bet for opening week of the 2022 NFL season below.
The 2022 NFL schedule was released on May 12, which means it is finally time for degenerates like me (and you?) to place some NFL bets after a three-month hiatus.
The main goal when betting Week 1 lines early is to beat the market. There’s no point in tying your money up for four months for a small edge. With that said, there are only two bets that stood out to me when opening week lines first dropped.
Let’s take a look.
Week 1 NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions
Ravens-Jets Under 45
The Jets offense should be improved after drafting wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall, as well as signing guard Laken Tomlinson and tight end C.J. Uzomah, but this is still a fairly inexperienced unit helmed by second-year quarterback Zach Wilson.
In Wilson’s 13 starts last season, the Jets averaged only 16.3 points per game. Even with the added firepower, it will be tough to put up points against a Ravens secondary that is absolutely stacked with the return of cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, the signing of safety Marcus Williams (who ranked top-seven at his position by PFF in each of the past three seasons), and the drafting of safety Kyle Hamilton in the first round.
Baltimore’s front isn’t too shabby, either, boasting the likes of Calais Campbell, Michael Pierce, Tyus Bowser and 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh.
On the other side of the ball, Lamar Jackson wasn’t exactly lighting it up last season — and that was before the team traded No. 1 wide receiver Marquise Brown to the Cardinals. In Jackson’s 13 starts, the Ravens averaged a middling 24.0 points per game, and that was with the team averaging 39.3 pass attempts per game, up from 26.9 pass attempts per game across Jackson’s 30 starts during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
As it stands, Baltimore has one of the worst wide receiver depth charts in the league. That remains true even after factoring in a Year 2 leap for de-facto No. 1 Rashod Bateman, who posted a modest 46 catches for 515 yards and one touchdown last season. Trading Brown is a clear signal the team has no issue going back to its run-heavy ways, but its top two running backs, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, are coming off season-ending ACL injuries.
Robert Saleh’s defense should also be improved in Year 2 after adding two first-rounders in cornerback Sauce Gardner and edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II.
This pick also fits the trend of a Week 1 under when both teams failed to make the postseason the previous year, which has cashed at a 58% clip since 2005.
Bet to: 44
Giants +6.5 at Titans
As it stands, the Giants will have quite a few things going for them that they didn’t in 2021:
- Solid pass protection: Andrew Thomas took a big step forward in 2021, grading out as the 12th-best tackle in pass protection at PFF. He will be bookended by No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal. The interior line should also be improved with the additions of Jon Feliciano, Mark Glowinski and Max Garcia in free agency.
- Healthy offensive skill-position players: Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and explosive second-round rookie Wan’Dale Robinson project as Week 1 starters. Sterling Shepard tore his Achilles late last season, but is expected to be ready for camp.
- A coaching staff that doesn’t include Joe Judge and Jason Garrett: When Judge was hired, his biggest accomplishment was having served as Bill Belichick’s special teams coordinator. After getting fired with a 10-23 record in two seasons, his biggest accomplishment remains having served as Bill Belichick’s special teams coordinator. Garrett’s archaic, befuddling offense averaged 18.0 points per game. Even if you’re not yet a believer in new head coach Brian Daboll and new offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, it’s hard to argue to that the absence of Judge and Garrett isn’t addition by subtraction, at the very least.
- A legit edge rusher: Fifth overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux had nine sacks in 11 games at Oregon last season and should immediately improve a Giants pass rush that registered the third-worst pressure rate in the league last season (20.1%, per Pro Football Reference).
The Titans, meanwhile, are major regression candidates after outperforming their Pythagorean win total by 1.8 wins.
Derrick Henry will get his, but the passing game will likely take a step back, especially in Week 1. Ryan Tannehill openly admitted to struggling with mental health after playing poorly in the Divisional Round. He has already admitted to not wanting to mentor Malik Willis, which could turn into a distraction.
A.J. Brown was also traded to Philly, so now the passing game will rely on rookie Treylon Burks and Robert Woods, who is returning from an ACL injury.
In 27 games with Brown over the past two seasons, the Titans averaged 28.7 points per game and a +4.63 point differential. In six games without him, they averaged just 22.3 points per game and a -1.33 point differential. For those of you counting at home, that’s a decrease of -6.4 in terms of points per game and -5.93 in terms of point differential.
This pick fits the trend of Week 1 road underdogs that didn’t make the prior postseason, which has hit at a 61% rate since 2005, per our Action Labs data. It also fits the trend of Week 1 underdogs that won 4-6 games last season, which has cashed at a 58% clip over that same span.
Let’s get this shmoney!
Bet to: +6