NFL Week 1 Picks & Betting Predictions: Two Totals and a Moneyline

After several long months of free agency, the draft, and preseason, meaningful football has finally returned. The 2022 NFL season kicks off with the Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night, but the bulk of the action comes Sunday afternoon. A couple of totals and a side make up our NFL Week 1 picks and betting predictions, as each team begins its quest to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Odds listed with picks were available as of this Thursday post.

Ravens at Jets Pick: Over 44.5 (PointsBet -107)

The Baltimore Ravens hope to get back to form this year after an injury-ridden 2021 season. Lamar Jackson enters the final year of his contract healthy and is looking for a payday. They start their season in the Meadowlands as a touchdown favorite over the New York Jets. Former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is expected to start for New York while Zach Wilson recovers from a knee injury.

BAL Ravens vs NY Jets Odds NFL Odds

NFL · Sun (9/11) @ 1:05pm ET

BAL Ravens at NY Jets
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

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Both the Ravens and Jets were applauded for their drafts this offseason, with Baltimore getting standout safety Kyle Hamilton and center Tyler Linderbaum. The Jets added three first-rounders in cornerback Sauce Gardner, receiver Garrett Wilson, and edge rusher Jermaine Johnson. Even with the new pieces, this Jets defense was atrocious last season and led the league in points allowed.

The Ravens have some question marks at the receiver position, but they get a favorable matchup against an inexperienced Jets secondary. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens running backs should take advantage of a weak Jets front seven that allowed the fourth-most rushing yards a season ago. Jackson and the Ravens had a top-ten offense in 2019 and 2020 when the team was healthy. A porous Jets defense provides an excellent opportunity for the Ravens offense to return to that explosive level again.

New York has made it a priority to surround Wilson with offensive weapons. Even if Wilson starts the year on the sidelines, veteran signal-caller Flacco will have a bevy of talent at his disposal behind an improved offensive line. Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Garrett Wilson make for a good receiving corps, and running backs Michael Carter and Breece Hall could be lethal compliments on the ground.

Although injuries can be blamed for most of Baltimore’s defensive woes last season, the unit allowed a league-high 4,742 passing yards. It may take a few weeks for this Ravens defense to play up to their potential. If the Jets fall behind early and find themselves playing catchup, they have the offensive pieces needed to get on the board and avoid a complete rout.

Jackson and a healthy Ravens offense should have no issue scoring on this Jets defense. A revamped Jets offense, even with Joe Flacco at the helm, should be able to contribute enough points to reach this total. Even if Baltimore has to do most of the scoring, Over 44.5 is one of the best bets of NFL Week 1.

Also read: Best NFL Player Props for all 32 Teams

Jaguars at Commanders Pick: Jacksonville moneyline +120 (Caesars)

Both the Jaguars and Commanders had disappointing 2021 seasons that were plagued by controversy. Doug Pederson takes over as head coach in Duval County, and the Jaguars were among the most active teams in free agency this offseason. They begin the 2022 season at Washington as short underdogs on oddsboards.

JAX Jaguars vs WAS Commanders Odds NFL Odds

NFL · Sun (9/11) @ 1:03pm ET

JAX Jaguars at WAS Commanders
FedExField, Landover, Maryland

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Few can get too excited about Washington’s newly-acquired quarterback Carson Wentz. Head coach Ron Rivera is entering the season on the hot seat and needs to show results. These are two teams that have struggled in NFL mediocrity the past few years–but only the Jaguars look to be trending upwards.

Trevor Lawrence was one of the most highly touted prospects in recent memory, and he had several solid moments his rookie year despite the Jags’ struggles. Jacksonville is getting less than a field goal on the road, but they’re more than equipped to upset this Commanders team. This coaching staff is a vast improvement over the Urban Meyer regime Lawrence had at the start of his rookie season. The roster saw substantial improvement as well, with receiver Christian Kirk, tight end Evan Engram, and guard Brandon Scherff signing in free agency. Travis Etienne and James Robinson form a solid ground attack for the Jags.

Wentz struggled mightily in his lone season with the Indianapolis Colts, and he’s more likely to replicate that than his 2017 pro bowl season with the Eagles. The Commanders have a few nice pieces, particularly at the receiver position, but this team is already dealing with several injuries to prominent players.

The Commanders were a bottom-10 defense last season which will give Lawrence and his new playmakers ample opportunities to score. Washington is just 1-3 ATS as a home favorite under Rivera. Unless Wentz manages to channel his 2017 season, the Commanders are in for a long year.

Short underdogs have fared well in Week 1. Over the last three seasons, underdogs of fewer than three points have gone 13-7 straight up in the opening week. That trend should continue, and is why the Jaguars moneyline is one of the best bets of NFL Week 1o. They should be in the driver’s seat throughout most of this matchup, cover the points, and get the road win.

More football betting: NFL Week 1 Teaser Picks

Steelers at Bengals Pick: Under 44.5 (DraftKings)

The defending AFC champions start their redemption season at home with divisional rival Pittsburgh. The Bengals look to prove their Cinderella story last season wasn’t an anomaly, and their first test will be a rebuilding Steelers squad. Both AFC North teams boast strong defenses, but have question marks on their offensive fronts. Points may be hard to get in this matchup, making under 44.5 one of our Week 1 picks.

PIT Steelers vs CIN Bengals Odds NFL Odds

NFL · Sun (9/11) @ 1:03pm ET

PIT Steelers at CIN Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Cincinnati’s most glaring weakness during their Super Bowl run was their offensive line. They made some improvements this offseason, but they’ll see a Pittsburgh defense that is among the best in pro football. The Bengals dominated the Steelers in both games last season, winning 41-10 at home and 24-10 in Pittsburgh. Joe Burrow threw for fewer than 200 yards in each matchup against the Steelers secondary, as the Bengals relied on Joe Mixon to move the ball on the ground. Expect Cincy to attempt a similar game plan again this time around.

Mitchell Trubisky will get the start at quarterback for Pittsburgh with rookie Kenny Pickett waiting in the wings. Trubisky and this Steelers offense aren’t scaring anyone through the air and will have to lean on Najee Harris running the ball to remain competitive. It’ll be difficult for Harris behind a below-average offensive line facing a defense that allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards last season. If the Steelers fall behind by a few scores, they lack the offensive firepower to keep up.

Strong showings by the defenses will keep the score low in this matchup. The Bengals have the edge on offense and should come out victorious, but the Under is the best bet in this Week 1 matchup.

Also check: Super Bowl 57 oddsAll NFL Week 1 odds | Week 1 NFL Power Rankings

About the Author
Ken Bates

Ken Bates

Ken Bates is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today. With years of experience in the industry, he’s covered several sports and is always on the lookout for an angle to bet. Bates resides in upstate New York and, as difficult as it may sometimes be, roots for the Jets, Mets, and Islanders.

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