The 2022 NFL season thus far can be defined in one word: parity.
Many of the groups that made the playoffs last season, like the Bengals, Raiders, Packers, Buccaneers, and reigning Super Bowl champion LA Rams, are all either .500 or below, and on the outside looking in when it comes to the NFL postseason.
Just as surprising as those teams early struggles, is the crop of teams that are currently exceeding expectations. The Seattle Seahawks are leading the NFC West, the Atlanta Falcons are leading the NFC South, and the New York Jets (5-3) and Giants (6-2) are each off to hot starts.
This is one of the reasons why you have to love the NFL. The unpredictable nature of each season, and each week. Maybe that’s why there hasn’t been a repeat Super Bowl Champion since the New England Patriots in 2004-05.
Just as there’s parity in teams, there’s also parity in players. Jonathan Taylor, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers were each MVP Finalists a year ago. This season, hasn’t seen the same success.
“I think there’s a lot of bad football from what I watch,” said Brady recently.
That may be true, but there’s also been some excellent football played on Sunday and that’s one of the reasons why there have been several surprises to the start of this season.
But that brings us back to the reason you’re still reading: betting lines.
Some of the NFL betting trends this season have also been about parity. For example, the playoff rematch from last season’s NFC Divisional Round matchup between the LA Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers provides a great case and point. The Bucs have lost six games against the spread this season. That’s the worst start against the spread by any Tom Brady-led team in his entire 23-year career. That’s not normal.
Another example is the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons were predicted to be the worst team in the NFL this year, and before the season began, handicappers would have told you to bet against them all season. However, if you have bet on the Falcons this year, you would be doing extremely well. The Falcons are currently tied with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants as the three teams with the best record ATS so far this year.
Additionally, the under has been a great betting trend as well this season. According to Action Network, the under on NFL games is 72-51 this season. That’s the best win percentage on under bets through the first eight games of a season since 1991.
Keep these trends in mind while reading this week’s picks.
All betting lines are courtesy of Circa Sports. (Reserve a seat at the Circa Sportsbook or Stadium Swim.)
Chargers (-3) at Falcons Over/Under 49.5
As previously mentioned, the Atlanta Falcons have a 6-2 record ATS this season. I have them upsetting the Chargers in this game. LA is missing key offensive weapons in Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. Their rush defense is ranked a paltry 27th in the league and they are facing a dual threat quarterback in Marcus Mariota.
Our pick: Falcons +3
Colts at Patriots (-5.5) Over/Under 40
We like the Colts to not only cover in this matchup, but beat the Patriots outright. Yes, the Colts offense has struggled mightily this season, but their defense is underrated. The Colts defense has held opponents under 400 yards every game. They also are ranked in the top 10 in nearly every statistical category on that side of the ball. Now, if you factor in their going up against a quarterback in Mac Jones that is prone to turn the ball over, and suddenly that plays right into the hands of the Colts. Expect the Colts to keep this game close, and low-scoring.
Our Pick: Colts +5.5
Raiders (-2) at Jaguars Over/Under 48
This is the week the Raiders get off the schneid. The Raiders let us down last week and kept us from going a perfect 4-0 last week. Maybe it’s insanity, but we’re going back to them again this week. It’s gut check time for the Raiders. They made the playoffs last season, and have regressed mightily under new head coach Josh McDaniels, despite the fact they added star wide receiver Davante Adams. Unlike last week, I expect the Raiders to rely heavily on running back Josh Jacobs in this game against the Jaguars. Derek Carr is do for a bounce back game after getting shutout against the Saints last week.
Our Pick: Raiders -2
Seahawks at Cardinals (-2) Over/Under 48.5
The first place Seattle Seahawks head to Arizona this week against a three-win Cardinals team and somehow are two-point underdogs. Like it or not, the Seahawks are the better team at this point in the season, and they were the better team three weeks ago when they beat this same Cardinals team at home and held them to just 9 points. Over the last three weeks, Seattle’s defense has been ranked in the top five in efficiency and quarterback Geno Smith is ranked fifth in the NFL in passing touchdowns. His touchdown to interception ratio of 13 to 3 is among the best in the league and his completion percentage of 72.7% is best among starting quarterbacks. The good time’s should keep on rolling for Geno and the Hawks.
Our Pick: Seahawks +2
Matthew Goldstein contributed to this article.