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Top NFL Futures Bets: AFC Odds, Picks & Predictions (2022)

sing Vegas totals and spreads from each NFL game on SuperBook Colorado, we can estimate the final score to project the number of points for and against each team. Then, we can use the Pythagorean expectation to calculate the number of wins Vegas estimates each team to have. Unless specifically mentioned, we’ve assumed the home team is the favorite, and the away team is the underdog in any pick ’em.

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Top NFL Futures Bets: AFC Odds, Picks & Predictions

AFC West

Team
Expected Points For
Expected Points Allowed
Pythagorean Win Total
Vegas Win Total
Kansas City Chiefs
462
397.5
10.0
10.5
Los Angeles Chargers
441.5
399.5
9.5
10.0
Denver Broncos
408.25
375.25
9.3
10.0
Las Vegas Raiders
410
418.5
8.3
8.5

 

Kansas City Chiefs

It should be no surprise that Vegas has Kansas City’s 462 projected points as the top three in the NFL. In each of the past five seasons, Kansas City has scored among the top six teams in the NFL, and no other team has come close to maintaining this level of offensive success.
This puts Kansas City’s Pythagorean win total at 10 wins, just .5 wins shy of their 10.5 line set by Vegas. Though this is touted as the best division in football, Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes has yet to finish a season with fewer than 12 wins.
The Chiefs are the favorites to win the AFC West at +155, but there’s an obvious infatuation with this division, given it’s likely the best in football. The last time the Chiefs didn’t win the division was in 2015; the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos eked out a 4th quarter victory over the San Diego Chargers in week 17 to win the AFC West.

Bet: I think it’s foolish to take any other team to win the AFC West, especially when it’s listed at plus odds. 

Los Angeles Chargers

Could this finally be the year that Justin Herbert takes his team to the playoffs? One of the great, young quarterbacks, Herbert was a missed-overtime field goal away from squeaking in as the 7 seed.
Last season, this team had all the offensive firepower needed to make a run. The team scored the 5th most points, 474, but allowed the 4th most points; 459. This put them on target for their 2021 Pythagorean win total of 9.
It seems Vegas projects the same fate for LA this season, finishing top 6 in points for; 439.5 and bottom 11 in points against; 400.5, despite the addition of all-pro Khalil Mack.

Bet: At +225, this team has a ton of value to win the division, but I’ll stay away until this team can prove they’re contenders.

Denver Broncos

There is no team that I’m more excited to watch than the Denver Broncos. A top 3 defense in points allowed in 2021, Vegas projections have this mostly unchanged unit allowing just 408.5 in 2022 – the 5th fewest.
Things could get scary in Denver. Mr. Unlimited himself, Russell Wilson, is expected to join the offense with the 9th fewest 2021 points and inherit his best defense since the legion of boom. Vegas projections have the Broncos scoring 73.25 more points in 2022, the third most of any team.
The Broncos are the only team in the AFC West with a strength of schedule outside the top 10.

Bet: If Kansas City wasn’t in the division, +260 to win the AFC West is a fantastic line. Unfortunately, as long as Patrick Mahomes is around, I’ll stick to Broncos to make the playoffs at -140.

Las Vegas Raiders

The dark horse in the AFC West, projections don’t bode well for Las Vegas on defense. The Raiders are projected to allow 418.5 points, the 6th most while having the league’s 7th hardest strength of schedule.
In reality, the Raiders will receive a ton of help on offense. After trading for Davante Adams, the Raiders are expected to total 36 more points than they had in 2021.

Bet: I don’t think there’s enough value for any futures. If I had to, the Raiders to miss the playoffs at -230 feels safest. 

AFC East

Team
Expected Points For
Expected Points Allowed
Pythagorean Win Total
Vegas Win Total
Buffalo Bills
463.25
366.75
10.8
11.5
Miami Dolphins
393.5
390
8.6
8.5
New England Patriots
379.75
377.25
8.6
8.5
New York Jets
345.75
419.75
6.6
5.5

 

Buffalo Bills

The Bills’ projected 463.25 points are tied for most of any NFL team this season, yet nearly 20 fewer than they scored last season.
Vegas projects the Bills to allow 366.75 points, the third-fewest, which projects the Bills to win 10.79 games – .70 games fewer than the Vegas total of 11.5.
With a middling 12th most difficult strength-of-schedule, Buffalo is the projected favorite in 16 games this season, the most of any NFL team. No other team in the AFC East is projected or favored to win more than nine games.

Bet: The Bills to win the division at -200 is very generous. I’ll take that line all day.

Miami Dolphins

In 2021, Miami scored 341 points. Since then, the offensive unit looks brand new, with Tyreek Hill lining up opposite 2021 rookie standout Jaylen Waddle, as well as new head coach Mike McDaniel’s signings of shiny new runningbacks, including Chase Edmonds, Sony Michel, and Raheem Mostert. The team is projected to score about three more points per game, 393.5.
As for the defense, Melvin Ingram is the only major addition, and the team is now expected to allow 390.5 points, one more point per game.
Early Vegas projections have Miami scoring 393.5 and allowing 390, giving them an expected win total of 8.59 wins – right on target with their 8.5-win total for the season. The team is favored in 9 games, which is a slightly encouraging number for over 8.5 wins this season – but there’s not much value from Vegas projections on any Miami futures.

Bet: Lean over if you must.

New England Patriots

Last season, New England scored the sixth-most points (462) and allowed the second-fewest (303) points. Not much has changed since then. The defense added support in the form of Jabrill Peppers and Mack Wilson, and the offense expects Mac Jones to take a leap forward with newly acquired DeVante Parker.
Somehow, they’re projected to score the 13th-fewest points, 60 fewer (382.25), while allowing the 10th-fewest (378.75), 82 fewer. If SOS is any indicator, the Patriots’ schedule is even easier this year; the Patriots project to have the 8th easiest schedule vs. the 17th easiest last season.
New England is favored in eight games this season with a Pythagorean win total right on par with their Vegas win total of 8.5.

Bet: If you expect Mac Jones to take a step forward or at least keep pace with New England’s 8-3 finish at the end of 2021, there’s absolutely value on the Patriots to win over 8.5 games at -120.

New York Jets

Bottom sixth in expected points for (345.75) and top five in expected points allowed (419.75), Vegas is not high on the New York Jets this season.
The Jets are favored in a measly three games.
On the plus side, Vegas has a win total of 5.5 wins, but the Pythagorean expectation puts the Jets at 6.5. 

Bet: There’s some precedent for taking over 5.5 wins here, but I’ll stay far away. 

AFC South

Team
Expected Points For
Expected Points Allowed
Pythagorean Win Total
Vegas Win Total
Indianapolis Colts
411
375.5
9.4
9.5
Tennessee Titans
404.25
391.75
8.8
9.5
Houston Texans
327.25
442.75
5.6
4.5
Jacksonville Jaguars
364
430.5
6.8
6.5

 

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are Vegas’s favorite to win the AFC South at -115, a feat they haven’t accomplished since 2014. Despite this love from Vegas, the team is only projected to score 411 points, 40 fewer than they scored a season ago.
After the Colts added Matt Ryan to their impressive cast of 2nd-year players, Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr., many experts expect this offense to flourish in 2022. Yet, they’re only favored in 10 games to Tenessee’s 11.
Defensively, this unit was solid in 2021, allowing just the 9th fewest points. Thanks to high-profile additions Yannick Ngakoue and Stephon Gilmore, the Colts are expected to remain solid on defense. Projects have the Colts allowing 375.5, the 6th fewest points.
Last season with Carson Wentz under the helm, this team finished with nine wins. Matt Ryan is leaps and bounds a better quarterback than Carson Wentz, so why is the win line just 9.5? The AFC South will be paying the AFC West – arguably the toughest division in football this season; The Colts’ strength of schedule is the 7th hardest this season.
I see the Colts being significantly better on both sides of the ball in 2022. The only true competition in the AFC South this year for the Colts is the Titans, who took too many steps backward for me to consider.

Bet: At -115, the Colts to win the AFC South is the best value.

Tenessee Titans

The Titans have won back-to-back division titles but had the blessing of only competing with Indianapolis the past two seasons. Last season, the Colts had a better Pythagorean win total (10.58) than the Titans (10.17), but the Colts were stuck with Carson Wentz (who was very quickly traded in the offseason).
As stated above, the Titans took too many steps backward while the Colts took too many steps forward for me to be interested in this unit. The Titans are projected to have fewer points scored, more points allowed, and a lower Pythagorean win total than the Colts.
It’s possible the Titans remain a top-notch team, but considering their 9th toughest schedule, including four games against the AFC West, it’s tough to find any value in their futures.

Bet: At -110, the Titans to miss the playoffs is just barely their highest-value play.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are favored against just two teams this season: the Houston Texans and the New York Giants. The good news for the Jaguars is that with the addition of Christian Kirk, the return of Travis Etienne, and new head coach Doug Pederson, the Jaguars are expected to score 111 more points (364) than they scored in 2021 (253). This is the largest swing of any team in Vegas’ projections.
Although the Jaguars’ offense is in a situation to be the best since 2016, this team is in a position where winning seven games is their ceiling. The Jaguars are still expected to allow the 3rd-most points in the league (430.5) after allowing the 5th-most last season (457), giving them a Pythagorean win total of 6.8.

Bet: I expect Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars to take a step forward this season, but even with the juice, I’d lean under 6.5. 

Houston Texans

I am incredibly bullish on Davis Mills, and I think he and Brandin Cooks are poised for a fantastic fantasy season. But with my bias aside, this team is projected to score the fewest points (327.25) in 2022, about 3 points per game higher than their 280 total in 2021.
On top of being projected to score the fewest points in 2022, the Texans are also projected the most points allowed (442.75).
As if that’s not bad enough, the Texans aren’t favored to win a single game in 2022.

Bet: For futures purposes, avoid this team at all costs. I definitely think Vegas projects too little of this team in 2022, but being favored in 0 games is all you need to know. Lean under 4.5 wins if you must, but the Texans have the 2nd most wins-over-expected (1.08) using the Pythagorean expected wins formula.

AFC North

Team
Expected Points For
Expected Points Allowed
Pythagorean Win Total
Vegas Win Total
Baltimore Ravens
413
365.5
9.7
9.5
Cincinnati Bengals
403.5
384.5
9.0
9.5
Cleveland Browns
390.25
379.25
8.8
9.5
Pittsburgh Steelers
344.75
397.25
7.1
7.5

 

Baltimore Ravens

Vegas is very bullish on Baltimore’s defense this season. After Baltimore allowed 392 points last season (the 14th most), they’re now projected to allow the fewest in the AFC and the 2nd fewest in the entire league. The defense unit is mostly unchanged, with the most significant addition being safety Marcus Williams.
On the other hand, the Ravens are projected to score 25 more points than they scored last season. Given the major offensive injuries the Ravens had last season, scoring just 25 more points feels conservative. When (mostly) healthy in 2020, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens scored 468 points, the 7th most.
Baltimore and Cincinnati are +170 to win the division; Baltimore has a slight edge in Pythagorean wins at 9.66.

Bet: Baltimore is the best bet to win the AFC North.

Cincinnati Bengals

Since 2000, the team that lost the Super Bowl has gone on to win an average of 9 games and miss the playoffs 50% of the time. This seems to be on par with the Pythagorean expectation of 8.95 wins. That said, you can get Cincincatti to miss the playoffs at +118.
Either way, Vegas’ projections have the Bengals touting a very average offense, totaling 401.5 points, the 17th most. This is 56.5 points fewer than the Bengals scored in 2021; only two other teams are expected to regress more: the Cowboys and the Patriots.
Cincinnati is expected to allow the 11th fewest at 384.5, after allowing the 15th most in 2021.

Bet: These projections expect Joe Burrow’s offense to regress, and I do too. Based on the value and historical trends, I’d lean Cincinnati to miss the playoffs at +118.

Pittsburgh Steelers

On paper, the Steelers are one of the biggest question marks this season. With Mike Tomlin, the team hasn’t finished with a losing record – even when starting Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges for 15 weeks.
Pittsburgh’s win total sits at 7.5, with early spreads and lines projecting them to finish with 7.2 – definitely below .500. Vegas is giving Pittsburgh no love, only being favored in 5 of 17 games.
So what gives? The offense, led by one of Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, or Kenny Pickett, is projected to score 353 points, the 3rd fewest in the AFC. Somehow, this is only 10 points more than the Steelers scored in 2021 with noodle-arm Big Ben.
On defense, the Steelers are led by DPOY TJ Watt. Projections have this unit allowing 399 points, one more than they allowed last season and the 7th most in the AFC.

Bet: There’s very little value on any futures bet for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I’ll take the over, given my faith in Mike Tomlin.

Cleveland Browns

It’s tough to gauge the Browns in 2022. Through weeks 1-6, the Browns are projected to score 22.8 points per game, and once Deshaun Watson (presumably) returns, the Browns are expected to score 23.0 points per game. Surely, Watson is an upgrade over Brisset? For reference, in 2021, the Browns averaged 20.5 points per game.
The defensive unit remains mostly unchanged, allowing 8 points more (379.25) total than in 2021 (371).
There’s no denying the talent of this unit on either side of the ball, but the Browns are a team who have historically struggled despite talent. If Deshaun Watson returns to his 2020 form after his 6-game suspension, if Amari Cooper can return to an elite number 1, and if the defense remains a solid unit, the Browns will, without a doubt, crush their 9.5 win total.

Bet: Until then, I don’t want to tie up money on a bunch of “ifs.” Avoid until there is more resolution.

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Author: Robert Miller