NFL Win Totals 2022: Stuckey’s Favorite Betting Picks for the Giants, Steelers, Titans, More
Getty Images. Pictured: Daniel Jones (left) and Zach Wilson.
Below you will find my four favorite NFL win totals. Next up will be a follow-up piece with my favorite futures (Super Bowl, division, to make playoff, etc.).
If you listened to our pre-draft win totals podcast, you may recall I played the Bears under 7 wins. That number is no longer available. It currently sits a full win lower where I don’t show enough edge for a wager, so I did not include that below since that stale price is irrelevant, but it is a position of mine for anybody that followed along.
As always, make sure you shop around for the best available price. That’s always hugely important in betting, but it’s especially the case in the futures market, where there could be wider discrepancies from sportsbook to sportsbook.
For reference, my published NFL win totals have gone 7-1-4 over the past two seasons. I’m hoping for another positive season, but maybe you think I’m due and want to fade me. That’s totally up to you.
NFL Odds & Picks
Why not start things off by going over on the only team that has gone under their win total in each of the past five seasons?
Things got ugly for the G-Men during last season’s 4-13 campaign, which led to widespread staff and management changes. I think every move they made in that regard will be a tremendous net benefit, but it will still take some time to clean up all of the milk that former GM David Gettleman spilled during his time in the Big Apple.
However, even with a bit of a cap mess, this Giants team can be much more competitive this season.
The coaching upgrades alone should lead to much better in-game decision making and play-calling. Expect a lot more early down passing and pre-snap motion (which was nonexistent last year) under the tutelage of head coach Brian Daboll, who will also likely implement a much higher volume of RPOs, which should fit Daniel Jones’ skill-set.
Keep in mind the Giants went 4-7 in games that Jones started and 0-6 when either Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm did. Now, New York will go from one of the worst backup quarterback situations in the league to one of the best after signing Tyrod Taylor, who also has an abundance of familiarity with this system.
Taylor’s signing is not being talked about enough. It honestly could be the difference between five and seven wins if Jones suffers another injury or gets benched for ineffectiveness.
Jones wasn’t the only one to deal with an injury last year. That was a consistent theme for the entire offense, which was plagued by injuries as much as any team. From the offensive line to Saquon Barkley to essentially the entire receiver room, the Giants couldn’t buy a break in the injury luck department. The hope is that luck bounces back the other way this year.
Now, there are still questions with this roster. Jones has shown flashes, but hasn’t really put it all together consistently and time is no longer on his side. In fairness, he’s been put in horrendous spots with putrid play-calling and incompetent offensive line play. The new staff should fix the former, while the offensive line is much better on paper heading into 2022 — although some of the recent injuries along that unit in the preseason are a bit concerning.
Assuming better health and more efficient (and aggressive) play-calling, this offense has potential with plenty of talent at the skill positions.
Defensively, there’s a potential major area of weakness at one cornerback spot opposite Adoree Jackson after releasing James Bradberry. From what I’ve seen, Aaron Robinson is not the solution. Maybe the Giants go out and get a veteran corner as a safety net in case Robinson can’t handle the job and one of the rookies doesn’t step up (which would be a tall task).
I do like the hiring of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. It was time for Baltimore to part ways, but I think his blitz-heavy scheme can work here. New York actually had plenty of success when it did blitz in 2021, but it just rarely did on non-passing downs. It certainly could use more exotic ways of generating pressure, especially with a potential hole at cornerback.
Overall, I loved the Giants offseason. In addition to upgrading the staff, I thought they crushed the draft even if I would’ve went corner in the second round instead of receiver. Evan Neal should be a slam dunk at tackle, a major position of need, I’m also very intrigued by the pair of rookie linebackers they drafted.
You should see a significantly better on-field product in 2022, New York also plays in a wide-open (and substantially weaker) NFC in a division with a bad Washington team and a worse-off Cowboys roster. I like what the Eagles are building (and the addition of A.J. Brown provides a tremendous boost) but this isn’t the AFC West, for example., Additionally, the Giants have one of the easiest schedules in the entire league. That certainly doesn’t hurt.
If you can’t find a similar priced over 6.5, you should still be able to track down Over 7 wins at plus-money, which I see plenty of value in for a team I actually project at 8.0 wins.
After going over on the only team that has gone under in each of the past five years, let’s go under on the only team that has gone over in each of the past five seasons. I’m sure this will all go swimmingly.
I didn’t love the offseason for the Titans, who traded away star wide receiver Brown to the Eagles on draft night. That’s going to leave a massive hole on an offense with questions along the offensive line and at wide receiver. Derrick Henry does return from injury, but there are a lot of miles on that truck even though he’ll certainly get his.
The defense should be solid, but isn’t spectacular enough to carry the squad.
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Now, to be fair, Tennessee did win 12 games last year even with a number of key injuries on the offensive side of the ball. However, this was closer to a nine or 10 win team based on their statistical profile (10.2 Pythagorean wins, for reference.)
The Titans got extremely lucky in close games (6-2 in one-possession results) and also benefited from turnover timing in a number of other victories. Here’s a sample of some of that unsustainable good fortune:
1) Down 14 in the fourth quarter at Seattle, the Titans came back to tie it before eventually winning by three in overtime.
2) Came back in the fourth again to win by three … again. This time it was against the Bills, who turned it over on downs in the final seconds when Josh Allen slipped on a QB sneak inside the Tennessee 5-yard line in the final seconds.
3) How about another three-point win in OT after trailing in the fourth? This time, Indianapolis took the L.
4) Tennessee notched an impressive win over the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams 28-16, despite being outgained 347-194 (4.7-3.5 yards per play) thanks to a pair of gifts from Matt Stafford that led to 14 Tennessee points with two total yards.
5) The Saints outgained the Titans 373-264 (6.1-4.6) in a two-point loss with Trevor Siemian starting at QB for New Orleans. The Saints failed to convert the game-tying two-point conversion attempt in the final seconds.
6) The 49ers outgained them 389-278 (6.7-4.8!) in a three-point loss, thanks to Jimmy G gifts and untimely, uncharacteristic Trent Williams penalties.
7) With the top seed in the AFC on the line, Tennessee secured another three-point win over the Texans to close the regular season in a statistically even game.
Six wins by a field goal or less! Sometimes it’s just your year, but regression certainly looms in Nashville in 2022.
Matthew Stafford's first multi-INT outing as Rams QB.
Titans lead, 14-3.pic.twitter.com/WeQHaaOkkG
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) November 8, 2021
Plus, in a loaded AFC, the South division as a whole improved while the Titans took a step back in my opinion.
I project only 8.2 wins, so I happily went under 9.5 at the best available odds, even if I’m admittedly a bit scared to go against Mike Vrabel, who has consistently exceeded preseason expectations.
I’m once again going against recent history here as head coach Mike Tomlin has never finished below since his tenure in the Steel City began way back in 2007. He did finish 8-8 three times, but never below .500.
So, why might that change this year? Well, for starters, the division and conference has never been stronger. Plus, he’ll no longer have future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger under center.
Now, Big Ben was a shell of himself last season, which the numbers illustrate. He was one of the worst statistical quarterbacks in the NFL in 2021. Therefore, things can’t get much worse, but I also don’t see them getting any better with either rookie Kenny Pickett or veteran Mitch Trubisky (who I’ve never been a fan of) at the helm.
Trubisky does offer the Steelers more mobility, which could be a nice luxury behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. But that doesn’t really move the needle. While there is plenty of pass-catching talent, the offensive line and quarterback play should really hold this unit back.
Now, you might counter my points by saying Tomlin still managed to win nine games last year with an ancient, statuesque Ben at quarterback. While technically true, the Steelers were really closer to a six or seven-win club (7.0 Pythagorean Wins). They went a league-best 8-2-1 in one possession games and got almost every possible break at the end of games.
Of their nine wins, only one came by more than one possession. That came against a corpse Browns team (led by a hobbled Baker Mayfield) that knew they had been eliminated from playoff contention heading into a Week 17 Monday Night matchup with a Steelers team still fighting for its playoff chances in Big Ben’s final home game. Even then, it took Najee Harris breaking a long touchdown run in the final minute to extend the final margin to 12 points.
Here’s a sample of some of the fortunate wins the Steelers enjoyed last year.
- Rallied in the fourth-quarter (thanks to a blocked punt for a touchdown) to beat the Bills, who also went 1-3 on fourth downs in a game they finished with 120 more total yards.
- Won at home by 3 in overtime (thanks to a TJ Watt forced fumble) against the Seahawks, who were without Russell Wilson.
- In a 15-10 victory over the Browns, Cleveland turned the ball over inside the Pittsburgh 30 on its final two drives: one via fumble and the other on downs.
- Denver failed to get in the end zone for a potential game-tying touchdown in the final minute after having first-and-goal from the nine-yard-line. A Teddy Bridgewater interception sealed the victory in the final seconds.
- Beat the Bears 29-27 after Chicago missed an absurdly long field goal in the final seconds. The lowly Bears out-gained the Steelers 414-280 and averaged just under three more yards per play (7.1-4.2)
- Tied the Lions in overtime after Detroit’s backup kicker missed a game-winning 48-yard field goal attempt.
- Beat the Ravens by one after Baltimore didn’t convert a game-winning two-point conversion attempt with 12 seconds remaining.
- Beat the Titans 19-13 thanks to a 4-0 turnover margin. Tennessee outgained Pittsburgh 318-168 and turned it over on downs inside the red zone in the final minute.
- Closed out the regular season with another three-point overtime win against the Ravens. Even with Tyler Huntley starting at quarterback, the Ravens outgained the Steelers 381-314 and averaged over one yard more per play. Also, prior to the game-winning kick, Pitt converted a fourth-and-eight near midfield.
Add all of the above up and that’s how you get to nine wins despite a -55 point differential. It also didn’t hurt to get two overtime wins over teams playing backup quarterbacks in addition to playing a lifeless Browns team late in the season.
Similar to the Titans, regression looms for the Steelers after two straight seasons with Lady Luck on their side in close games.
You can expect the defensive line to dominate games once again. Like clockwork, the Steelers will be near the top of the league in pressure rate and sacks. However, the defense overall only graded out at about league-average in 2021. There are major questions at cornerback and in regards to the run defense.
Lastly, the Steelers play in a loaded division and conference with one of the toughest schedules in the league. I project only 6.8 wins, assuming Watson doesn’t play this season. However, keep in mind that one of Pittsburgh’s meetings with the Browns comes in the season finale, so he may be available if the final suspension ends up only being eight to 12 games
For the first time in the Tomlin era, I think the Steelers fall short of the eight-win mark.
Ahhh…a tradition unlike any other…the Jets season win total under.
To be honest, I loved the Jets draft, especially the selection of cornerback Sauce Gardner, who I believe is a future All Pro. However, it’s difficult to expect any significant impact from a cornerback in his rookie year. Patrick Peterson is the rare exception, not the rule.
Sauce Gardner finishes his career with 1100+ snaps with 9 interceptions and 0 touchdowns allowed. Williams targeted twice all game on him. He had 1 catch for -2 yards. Amazing they didn’t end up moving him around. Kid will be a top 3 corner in NFL in 3-4 years
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) January 1, 2022
There are still questions up and down this roster on both sides of the ball, especially at quarterback with Zach Wilson. I’m not sure what others saw in 2021 to have any kind of optimistic outlook for Wilson. The underlying metrics were U-G-L-Y.
Wilson also suffered a knee injury in the preseason that may cost him some regular season games. That means it’s likely Joe Flacco time and the 37-year-old is now ten years removed from his Super Bowl MVP run with the Ravens.
Ultimately, I’m just not sold on Wilson. He could prove me wrong, but I’m willing to pay to find out.
Plus, the Jets play in a very tough division and loaded conference. Per my most recent power ratings, I project only 5.01 wins across a schedule that actually gets tougher than last year despite a last place finish. I have New York with the league’s eighth-most difficult schedule that does them no favors from a net-rest perspective.
They have an absolute gauntlet 10-game stretch to start the season in which I have them as at least 4.5-point underdogs in every contest at an average spread of 7.5 points. And that’s even assuming Deshaun Watson doesn’t suit up for the Browns in a Week 2 date in Cleveland.
The Jets do then get a break against the Bears, but that’s followed by back-to-back road games against the Vikings and Bills. They do also have a pair of winnable coin-flip home games against the Lions and Jaguars, but then close out the season with a cross-country road trip to Seattle then Miami.
If you believe in Zach Wilson, this bet isn’t for you. I’m personally not sold, but it wouldn’t be the first or last time I’ve been wrong on a quarterback.