Seven months have passed since the Los Angeles Rams toppled the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Lombardi Trophy. On the eve of the 2022 NFL season, the excitement is buzzing from 32 fan bases, and the football handicap world is no doubt excited for the grind ahead. That’s why we’re back for another campaign of NFL rosters against the spread in this space, and we’ve treated ourselves pretty well over the past few years. The 2021 season ended with a solid score of 59-48-1, including the playoffs, and the ethos remains the same, often leaning on ugly sides and Unders on totals to get us home.
Before we dive into the Week 1 slate, let’s take a look at the final group of rosters from the Super Bowl and how the 2021 campaign has played out in its entirety.
- Last week (Super Bowl): 2-3
- Season 2021: 59-48-1
Come get these winners.
SIX-POINT TEASER: Los Angeles Rams (+8.5) over Buffalo Bills AND Baltimore Ravens (-1) over New York Jets
Are we going out the gate weird? Yes we are. Teasers are often cheap games, but Wong Teasers (named after Stanford Wong) can be profitable if you zoom through key numbers. Both legs of this teaser apply that principle, with the Rams shooting from +2.5 to +8.5 and the Ravens from -7 to -1. I’m tempted to just hand out the Rams +2.5 at home, and I think that’s the good side, but I could also see this game landing in the 3-7 series in favor of Buffalo in the opener. On the other hand, I have a lot of confidence in a John Harbaugh team with extra preparation, especially when I’m up against an old friend in Joe Flacco.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5) over Cincinnati Bengals
A number of things are at play here. First off, Mike Tomlin might be a wizard. He is historically the best underdog coach in the NFL, with a score of 47-26-3 against the spread on points, and that jumps to 19-6-2 as an underdog against division opponents. I also think the Steelers (quietly) upgraded as a quarterback by losing the 2021 version of Ben Roethlisberger and replacing him with Mitch Trubisky, and the Pittsburgh defense should be strong. The Bengals are rightfully the house favorite, but this is a number that I think should be 4 or 4.5 instead of 6.5 in the opener.
Houston Texans (+7.5) over Indianapolis Colts
I warned you that we would be horrible on a regular basis, and this is disgusting. Indianapolis projects are improving behind Matt Ryan and what should be a more stable passing game, and the Texans are, well, the Texans. That said, I’ll be holding the house underdog from more than a touchdown here and the back door may be open to Davis Mills.
Minnesota Vikings (+2) on Green Bay Packers
This won’t be fun either. Aaron Rodgers is the reigning MVP and there are mixed opinions about the Vikings. Still, Green Bay’s attacking talent isn’t as good as it was a year ago without Davante Adams, and this line gives a lot of respect to the Packers and very little to the Vikings. Am I too high on Minnesota? Maybe, but we’ll find out soon enough.
Dallas Cowboys (+2.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
These two teams met in the 2021 season opener and played a wild battle with two leadership changes in the final two minutes. That result would be fine again here, with the Cowboys as the home underdog. Tampa Bay are the better team on a neutral pitch, but the Buccaneers had an odd season with a coach change, Tom Brady taking some time off, offensive line problems and an injury recovery for Chris Godwin. Dallas may not be able to play the ball here, but it’s the only side.