(3) Free Predictions for the 2022-23 NFL Season Win Totals – “Overs” Edition
Minnesota Vikings – Over 9 (-130)
The Vikings are a popular offseason pick to improve on their 2021 8-win season. We will join the fray and pick them to beat their win total and end 2022 with double-digit wins.
Even with a rookie coach and GM in Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah respectively, Minnesota should see marked improvement in their leadership team given former coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t even on speaking terms with former GM Speilman or QB Kirk Cousins by the end of last season. On the field, The Vikes should see a significant upgrade to their pass defense with the addition of rookies Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth to their porous secondary. They also boast some of the top skill position talent in the NFL led by Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook.
The opportunity to play the Lions and Bears each should provide the Vikings 3 or 4 wins toward the total of 9. The Vikings played 14 games that were decided by one score or less in 2021. Even a moderate improvement should see the Vikings sail over the total of 9 wins.
New Orleans Saints – Over 8.5 (-130)
The Saints finished the 2021 season with a winning record (9-8) despite an at times atrocious passing offense that finished dead last in yards per game (181). A healthy Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas, along with the addition of rookie burner Chris Olave should put the Saints offense back on track. The unsung side of the ball is its talented defense, with each unit (D-line, Linebackers and Secondary) ranking in Pro Football Focus’s Top 10. The secondary loses Malcolm Jenkins and Marcus Williams but picks up Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu and should see improvement. Cameron Jordan remains a force on the D-line.
The changing of the guard from Sean Payton to Dennis Allen shouldn’t be overly tumultuous as Allen served as Defensive Coordinator under Payton and has kept the coaching staff largely intact.
The Saints will benefit from playing the Falcons and Panthers twice each and should challenge Tampa Bay for the top spot in the NFC South. The Saints only have to match last year’s win total for an over ticket to cash. We see a winning record for the Saints and will be holding one of those over tickets.
Cincinnati Bengals – Over 9 (-135)
In most years, the futures markets overrate the previous season’s Super Bowl participants, but 2022 seems to be the exception to that rule. The AFC Champ Bengals in this case, don’t seem to be getting the respect it deserves.
The Bengals finished the regular season at 10-7 prior to their impressive postseason run. Asking them to get back to 10 wins shouldn’t be a heavy lift, especially since they seem to have done a good job dealing with their Achilles heel in the offseason, namely an offensive line which allowed wunderkind QB Joe Burrow to be sacked a disturbing 70 times.
The pass defense, also at times a liability, should get a boost from first round pick Dax Hill as well as the return of its top five starters from last year. The Burrow to Chase connection will be an exciting one to watch for years to come and there is no reason to think this young Bengals team won’t be a playoff fixture while those two are doing their thing. As a bonus, rookie kicker McPherson proved to be a clutch player in sealing a handful of close wins.
Cincinnati catches the Jets, Dolphins and Panthers along with an AFC Central slate that could be looking at a down year given the QB question marks in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. 9.5 is a short number and we are seeing 10’s in some shops. We advise betting over 9.5 wins now – even with the inflated juice – before that number is gone.