Best Bets for NFL Regular Season Series Matchups

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Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings against the San Francisco 49ers. David Berding/Getty Images/AFP.

With so many divisional rivalries on the Week 1 NFL odds, let’s see which teams have the most value for their season series.

There’s something extra special about divisional rivalry games. They’re the backbone of the NFL’s regular season; each team plays its divisional foes twice, home and away, and with just four teams per division, these rivalries have only gotten more intense over the years.

So kudos to the fine folks at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) for putting these regular season series matchups on their NFL odds board.

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How to Bet Regular Season Series Matchups

You can bet on whether one team will sweep the other 2-0, or whether they’ll end up knotted at one win apiece. Here’s an example:

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

  • Cowboys Win 2-0: +100
  • Series Tied 1-1: +125
  • Giants Win 2-0: +650

You gotta love the NFC East. So how do we figure out which of these NFL bets to make? Well, conveniently enough, odds are already available for most of the 272 games on the 2022 regular season schedule. And now that we’re using proprietary models here at the ranch, we can dip our toes in the betting market by seeing what the potential profit margin is for each of the divisional rivalry games.

Let’s use this Cowboys-Giants matchup as an example. Their first game is Week 3 in East Rutherford, with the Giants checking in as 3-point home dogs. Any betting value there? Not according to the models we’re looking at, so we can go ahead and ignore the entire series – at least for now.

There are dozens of other series to look at, though. Here are the matchups that we’ve lovingly hand-picked for your consideration; to help whittle things down, we’re only looking at the ones that begin Week 3 or earlier. Injuries, suspensions and the usual NFL shenanigans make forecasting anything beyond that a fool’s errand.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Bengals Win 2-0: -115
  • Series Tied 1-1: +145
  • Steelers Win 2-0: +650

Cincinnati Bengals Analysis

Our models love the Steelers in Sunday’s season-opener (01:00 PM EDT, CBS) as 6.5-point road dogs, and from an old-school betting perspective, it’s easy to see why.

The Bengals are vulnerable to the infamous Super Bowl Curse for losing teams, and they finished 10-7 SU and ATS last year despite ranking No. 17 overall on the DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) charts at Football Outsiders.

Pittsburgh Steelers Analysis

The Steelers, meanwhile, are probably undervalued this year as they replace “Big” Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback with… drum roll, please… Mitch Trubisky.

That’s a big downgrade as far as public cachet is concerned, but Roethlisberger was a shell of his former self last year, placing No. 25 on the quarterback DVOA charts, one spot behind Houston’s Davis Mills. Yes, it was that bad.

Trubisky only threw 8 passes last year as the backup in Buffalo, but in 2020, he was No. 24 on the DVOA charts for the Chicago Bears, so is there really any drop-off between him and Big Ben?

Let’s not forget how horribly Trubisky was coached in the Windy City. Maybe he’ll get the help he needs in Pittsburgh. It’s definitely worth a shot at +650.

NFL Pick: Steelers Win 2-0 (+650) at BetOnline

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Steelers Win 2-0 (+650)
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Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts

  • Colts Win 2-0: -160
  • Series Tied 1-1: +170
  • Texans Win 2-0: +1000

Houston Texans Analysis

Ah yes, Davis Mills. He’s a fine third-string quarterback thrust into a starting role – and clearly a smart lad, having gone to Stanford.

But the Texans themselves finished No. 28 in DVOA last year at 4-13 SU and 8-9 ATS, and our models have them in big trouble as 8-point home dogs for their Week 1 matchup (01:00 PM EDT, CBS) with the Colts.

Indianapolis Colts Analysis

It is a fair question, though, whether Matt Ryan has much left in the tank. He was No. 21 on last year’s DVOA charts playing for Atlanta, but again, that’s not much of a drop-off from the departed Carson Wentz at No. 16, and Ryan has a much better team surrounding him this year.

NFL Pick: Colts Win 2-0 (-160) at BetOnline

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Colts Win 2-0 (-160)
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Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

  • Packers Win 2-0: +185
  • Series Tied 1-1: +110
  • Vikings Win 2-0: +310

Green Bay Packers Analysis

Here we are dumping all over the Packers again. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t fallen off that cliff yet – maybe it’s the power of ayahuasca, which none of us have officially tried here at the home office.

Minnesota Vikings Analysis

This Sunday (04:25 PM EDT, FOX) Minnesota models as 2-point home dogs, and Kirk Cousins finished eighth overall on last year’s DVOA charts, one spot ahead of eventual Super Bowl champion Matthew Stafford.

Bet accordingly, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

NFL Pick: Vikings Win 2-0 (+310) at BetOnline

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Vikings Win 2-0 (+310)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.