The 2021 NFL season bore witness to history from a gambling perspective. A record 45.2 million people wagered on professional football, amassing a whopping $20 billion plus worth of bets placed in the United States.
The accessibility of legalized gambling has never been greater as more states continue to pass legislation. Fans are able to place their best NFL bets in the form of parlays, player props, over/unders, teases, futures and so much more, leading to massive revenue generation and increased interest in a sport that’s already head and shoulder above the other majors.
Those numbers will only go up during the 2022 campaign in what should be a wild ride, culminating with the Super Bowl in February 2023 in Arizona.
There will be many games throughout the year that end up shaping the playoff picture and separating the contenders from the pretenders. Let’s take a look at some compelling matchups during the back half of the year that will not only dictate positioning but attract the largest handles at betting windows and online sportsbooks alike.
Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals – Week 17
We’re intentionally omitting any entries from Week 18 on this list because, while every game on that slate is a divisional clash, there are usually less than a handful that actually carry playoff implications. So we backtrack one week to find this beauty on the board.
Both of these teams could probably find themselves multiple times on this list. The Bengals are the defending AFC Champions and the Bills are the betting favorites to win it all this year. But for the sake of spontaneity, we’ll limit each team to one standout matchup.
The lookahead line here makes this even more attractive as it’s currently a pick-em. This will also mark the Week 17 finale as the Bills will head to Cincy for a Monday-night affair so it’s the only game available that day and what a game it should be.
In fact, barring any flex scheduling, Week 17 has the chance to be the best prime time slate of the whole season. Besides this Bills/Bengals barnburner, the Cowboys and Titans will tussle on Thursday and the Sunday Night game is currently slated to feature the Rams and Chargers in a battle of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Rams @ Kansas City Chiefs – Week 12
The Chiefs might just have the toughest schedule in the NFL and this home tilt with the Rams comes right in the thick of a four-game stretch when they face the Chargers, Rams, Bengals and Broncos in consecutive weeks.
In fact, there isn’t a cupcake on their schedule until their Week 8 BYE. They’ve got to open with the Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Buccaneers, Raiders, Bills and 49ers. So it’s entirely possible that they’ll be so beaten up by the time Week 12 rolls around that the Rams punish them. But we don’t think that’s very likely and firmly believe this could be a potential Super Bowl showdown instead.
The lookahead line has the Chiefs favored by 2.5 as they get the home hook in what’s currently slotted in the afternoon window on FOX.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Arizona Cardinals – Week 12
Week 12 is looking just as appealing as Week 17 as it also features a Sunday night clash between the Packers and Eagles and a Bucs/Browns battle that all depends on Deshaun Watson’s status.
But this spot goes to the Chargers and Cardinals who boast two of the best young quarterbacks in the entire National Football League, as well as key free-agent signings that should help fill some of the holes that prevented both from going further last year.
With Justin Herbert and Kyler Murray on the marquis for this one, bettors will likely flock to the OVER market while the lookahead line favors the road team, as L.A. is currently laying 1.5.
Weeks 12 and 17 are certainly shaping up to be all-timers, but there are plenty of other games to look forward to it, whether you’re placing bets or just enjoying the NFL as a whole.