By Sam Panayotovich
FOX Sports Betting Analyst
The 2022 NFL Draft came and went, so it’s time to make some future bets.
You might feel a little squeamish about placing a wager in May for a season that starts in September, but I’m all about getting ahead of the curve.
And while we don’t have the entire NFL schedule yet, we know all 17 opponents and the locations for every single team. So if there’s a bet that I’m bullish on, I have absolutely no issue playing the long game.
Here are five early NFL wagers I love, with odds via FOX Bet:
Jameson Williams Over 700.5 receiving yards: -110 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $19.09 total)
I’m so high on Williams’ potential, it hurts. And the more you hear, the more likely it sounds that he’ll be ready for training camp after suffering a torn ACL in January’s national championship game against Georgia.
Assuming Williams is good to go by Week 1, he’ll need to average 41 yards a week for 17 weeks, and that’s nothing in the modern-day NFL. He’ll arguably be the Lions’ best wideout, and they’ll be throwing the ball more than most teams because they’ll be trailing in a lot of games.
I’m willing to go “Over” 700.5 now before he gets cleared and the number increases. We could realistically see O/U 730.5 or 750.5 after bettors and bookmakers see highlight-reel plays at training camp.
Aidan Hutchinson Under 8.5 sacks: +100 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $20 total)
J.J. Watt recorded 5.5 sacks in his first season, Myles Garrett racked up seven and Chase Young had 7.5. Sure, there are outliers (like Joey Bosa’s 10.5 sacks in 2016), but most rookie edge rushers have an uphill battle in year one against grown-ass NFL offensive linemen.
As I alluded to above, Detroit will be underdogs in most of its games, and the odds are good that the Lions will be playing from behind a lot. That allows the opponents to run the ball in second halves and keep sacks off the sheet.
Hutchinson has the tools to be a special player in this league, but I’ll go “Under” his sack total at plus-money, given all the circumstances.
Jahan Dotson wins Offensive Rookie of the Year: +1600 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $170 total)
This bet is definitely a long-shot.
But you’ll be able to throw an educated dart this season because there’s no transcendent quarterback like Kyler Murray or Justin Herbert that will start from day one and run away with the award.
Dotson is slated to slide right into the starting slot role in Washington and I expect him to take pressure off Terry McLaurin immediately. And Dotson is the type of player that can be used in various ways, so as long as the Commanders get him the ball in positions to succeed, he’ll make plays.
Indianapolis Colts Over 9.5 wins: -125 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $18 total)
I hate how much I love Indianapolis this coming season. They upgraded at quarterback with Matt Ryan and added two defensive playmakers in cornerback Stephon Gilmore and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
Add those three to a team that finished 9-8 with the forever-average Carson Wentz under center, and I’m way too excited.
The Colts will still lean on the running game a ton, and if Jonathan Taylor picks up where he left off, life will be a lot easier on Ryan and his receivers.
The Colts should be favored in five of six AFC South games, which puts them in a great spot to rack up plenty of wins and get to double digits.
Philadelphia Eagles win NFC East: +300 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $40 total)
I bet this almost immediately after Philadelphia drafted defensive tackle Jordan Davis and acquired receiver A.J. Brown from Tennessee.
If you read this space, you’ll remember that I was super high on the Dallas Cowboys in the last offseason at -110 to win the East after a 6-10 campaign in 2020. Dallas overachieved with a 12-5 record, but now I’m ready to short them. Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson aren’t walking through that door, and the last time I checked, Mike McCarthy (and his brutal clock management) is still a sheriff with rusty bullets.
On the flip side, the Eagles are loaded in the skill and speed department with Brown, DeVonta Smith, Zach Pascal, Jalen Reagor and Miles Sanders. And if Jalen Hurts can take another step forward, the Eagles will be in a great spot to make some noise in a winnable division.
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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