NFL Picks Week #1 (2022 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #1)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday September 7th, 2022 at 2 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
Yeah baby, the NFL season is finally upon us!
I’m Professor MJ, and I have been teaching statistics at a Canadian university for 15 years before retiring yesterday in order to focus exclusively on my sports betting activities! Welcome to the best sports betting site!
Let’s kick it off by reviewing my record against the spread (ATS) since I started this Professor MJ business (all documented on my website at ProfessorMJ.com and via YouTube videos). As you can see below, we haven’t had a single losing year in five seasons. And that does not even include the lucrative player prop bets.
In this post, I’ve got 2 official picks for you, as well as a couple of unofficial plays. Let’s rock and roll!
PICK #1: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS +3.5 AT MIAMI DOLPHINS
Here is a simple NFL betting strategy that has done wonders in the past:
"In Week #1, bet a team facing a divisional opponent against which they lost both meetings the year before."
Over a ten-year period covering the 2010 to 2019 seasons, this betting angle generated a 22-10 record against the spread (also called “ATS”).
In the current case, New England lost 17-16 at home and 33-24 on the road against the Dolphins during the 2021 regular season. Bill Belichick and company will be looking for some payback in the opening game this year.
Some people will bring up the fact that the Patriots hold an ugly 2-8 ATS record over their past 10 meetings in Miami. That is certainly scary.
However, Mac Jones was the starting QB in only one of those games, so I’m not sure I want to give too much importance to this trend. It does bring a scary factor into the bet, but sports betting often feels uncomfortable, right?
I have to admit I was a bit surprised by this line. To me, these two teams are evenly matched so I expected the point spread to favor Miami by 2.5 points, or 3 at most, given that they are at home.
In the NFL, every half point is critical since the lines tend to be very sharp, so getting an additional point around such a key number like winning by 3 points is big.
Last year, New England posted a 10-7 record along with an impressive +159 point differential. Meanwhile, the Dolphins finished with a 9-8 record combined with a disappointing -32 point differential.
Sure, Miami acquired speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill while the Pats lost stud cornerback J.C. Jackson, but does that really mean the Dolphins immediately become clearly superior than New England? I’m not so sure.
Tua must learn to play with a new starting running back, Chase Edmonds, and a couple of new receivers, Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson. Moreover, Jaylen Waddle has missed several weeks of practice. He seems likely to be able to suit up on Sunday, but he missed a lot of reps with Tua.
So, in summary, I expect a very hard-fought game between two archrivals, in which case I want to put my money on the underdog. To me, the Dolphins have much less than a 50% chance of winning by four points or more.
PICK #2: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -5.5 AT ATLANTA FALCONS
It seems to me like every single aspect of the game favors the Saints.
First, the defensive side of the ball. There is no doubt whatsoever that New Orleans’ defense is light years ahead of Atlanta’s. The Saints’ front seven is very fierce and allowed the fewest yards per carry last year. Now, their pass defense performed exceptionally well by finishing 4th in terms of QB rating allowed. Meanwhile, the Falcons defense has holes everywhere and is projected to be among the worst in the NFL.
There is no debate as well about which team has the better offense. Last year, New Orleans scored 364 points versus 313 for the Falcons. Now, the Falcons lost Matt Ryan at QB and replaced him with Marcus Mariota. The receiving group is also very bad, except for Kyle Pitts and maybe first-round pick Drake London. But the latter is uncertain to play due to a knee injury.
Meanwhile, the Saints benefited from having Jameis Winston under center for only 6 of 17 games. They would have scored a lot more points if he didn’t get hurt.
Also, the WR room will be significantly better than in 2021. First of all, Michael Thomas might finally be back on the field. The organization also signed a reliable free agent from Cleveland: Jarvis Landry. I am also excited to see what rookie Chris Olave can do at the NFL level. He showed good flashes during the preseason.
A factor that is often overlooked by many sports gamblers is the quality of the offensive line. Based on a website I trust a lot, they rank New Orleans’ OL as the 5th-best in the NFL compared to the 23rd rank for Atlanta’s group.
Finally, did you know that the Saints beat the spread the last four times they visited the Falcons in Atlanta? Sign me up for a bet on the Saints as 5.5-point favorites this weekend!
For entertainment purposes, here are some unofficial picks that I like to call “leans”:
- Steelers +6.5 at Bengals (Betting against Super Bowl losers in the first few weeks of the season has proven to be fairly profitable over the years. Also, just like the Pats, the Steelers lost both of their contests against Cincinnati last year, so we have the revenge factor going our way. I believe Trubisky can do a fine job with a good supporting cast around him, but I’m more worried about the putrid Pittsburgh offensive line. That’s one of the main reasons I am ultimately staying away from this game. But I could imagine this game being fairly tight, so if forced to bet I’d go with the Steelers +6.5 points.);
- Giants +6 at Titans (A Week 1 road underdog that won 4, 5 or 6 regular season games the year before held a jaw-dropping 63-34 record ATS over a long period of time. In 2021, the Giants picked up four victories and they are indeed road dogs in the opening week of the season, so based on this betting angle it seems like a smart bet. Ultimately, I believe the Giants have enough firepower on offense to keep up with Tennessee, especially given that the Titans have an “okay” defense, but not a brick wall.);
The free official picks like the ones described above represent a small fraction of all the bets I am making in the NFL. I am likely to bet a few more spreads, along with totals and of course the most lucrative bets you can make in the NFL: the player proposition bets.
Before the Monday and Thursday night games, I always share a few bargains I have found. Same goes before the 1 PM games on Sunday.
If you would like to join my 2022 NFL betting journey and access all of my betting picks, simply join my Patreon page by clicking here!
Enjoy the 2022 season my friend!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)