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NFL Betting: Top Performers Against the Spread in 2022

NFL Spread Top Performers / NFL Meaningless Games

Sadly, the NFL season is officially over. As a sports bettor, this leads to mixed feelings of grief (let's face it, nothing compares to betting the gridiron every Sunday) and respite, a nice reprieve from a demanding weekly grind.

Throughout the offseason, our betting team will dissect and evaluate every NFL team in preparation for the 2023 season. Along with pure football diagnoses, it's crucial to examine the marketplace and how oddsmakers will perceive these teams moving forward. The first step is looking back at the previous season and forecasting what might change from an against-the-spread (ATS) perspective. 

Expect deeper dives into each team as we learn more about who they draft, who they sign in free agency, and any other changes they might make. Here we will look at the highest-performing teams ATS in 2022.


Top Performers

New York Giants

ATS Performance: 14-5 (73.7%) 

Total Performance: 10-8-1 (55.6%) to the under

The New York Giants deserve credit for how they competed and finished games last season. Brian Daboll was awarded the AP Coach of the Year for just that reason, catapulting New York's talent beyond what we all thought was possible. Even more impressively, they achieved this record in a stacked NFC East division that led the NFL in winning percentage all season.

Although the division was competitive, the Giants still benefited from an easier schedule. The best offenses New York played were Philadelphia, Dallas, Detroit, and Minnesota. Big Blue was 3-4 ATS in those matchups. Next season, with an inevitably tougher schedule, I don't expect them to cover at the same historic level. 

Detroit Lions

ATS Performance: 12-5 (70.6%)

Total Performance: 10-7 (58.8%) to the over


This is the second straight season that the Detroit Lions lived at the top of the ATS rankings, proving they're a try-hard, upstart franchise that the betting marketplace hasn't taken seriously enough.

We may see a more evenly matched NFC North division moving forward too. Aaron Rodgers plans to exit Green Bay, and Minnesota was at the top of every bettor's "fraudulent teams list" in 2022. And then there's Chicago, who might be even worse next season. Oddsmakers will absolutely not give you the same value on the Lions moving forward – buyer, beware.

Cincinnati Bengals

ATS Performance: 13-6  (68.4%)

Total Performance: 11-7-1 (61.1%) to the under

The Cincinnati Bengals were the most impressive high-performing ATS team this season. Despite a difficult schedule and a new target on their back after reaching Super Bowl LVI, the Bengals still operated like a team unphased. Astoundingly, from Week 3 to Week 15, they covered the spread in 12 out of 13 games, including a win and cover against this season's Super Bowl champion, the Chiefs.

As long as Cincinnati continues to be coached well and they have Joe Burrow, I don't anticipate much changing. The Bengals are rarely beaten in all phases, and they take it personally when they're underdogs.

San Francisco 49ers

ATS Performance: 12-5 (70.6%)

Total Performance: 10-7 (58.8%) to the over

Second only to the Bengals, the San Francisco 49ers deserve a ton of credit for their performance this season. Down to their third-string QB by Week 13, San Francisco managed to maintain one of the best ATS marks in the league. In fact, with Brock Purdy under center, they covered in seven of their last nine contests. It speaks to how creative and resilient Kyle Shanahan and his roster were, a group that depended on an elite defense yet still made incredible strides on offense when it mattered most. Their defensive coordinator in 2022, Demeco Ryans, was just hired by the Texans as their new head coach, which could certainly affect the Niners on that side of the ball.

In any case, I wouldn't be too concerned. Shanahan and their staff have churned out successful programs the last two seasons, despite uncertainty at quarterback. This is an exceptional organization that could take another leap if the team can avoid injury and improve stability in the most important positions.

Los Angeles Chargers

ATS Performance: 12-6-1 (64.7%)

Total Performance: 10-7-1 (58.8%) to the under

In one of the more underrated performances of the season, the Los Angeles Chargers found a way to win or keep games close in most situations. Interestingly, some of their worst showings ATS were against mediocre-to-bad teams (Jaguars in Week 3, Denver, Arizona, Las Vegas, and Tennessee later in the season). Impressively, they covered both of their contests against Kansas City and finished the year by covering four of their final six games. I'm not a fan of Brandon Staley, and if anything, the Chargers might have overperformed this season.

On a positive note, their defense stepped up in some big-game situations and finally showed their talent, and Justin Herbert continues his ascension toward the top tier of quarterbacks in pro football. This campaign will be about waiting to see how the marketplace evaluates the Chargers coming into the 2023 season. Before the 2022 season, they received a lot of hype and still ended up at the top of the ATS charts; not bad.

Dallas Cowboys

ATS Performance: 11-8 (57.9%)

Total Performance: 10-9 (47.4%) to the under


Unfortunately for Dallas Cowboys fans, their last few seasons have become highly predictable. Mike McCarthy has been a great ATS coach the last two seasons, amassing a stellar 24-13 record, but the bulk of that success comes in the first 8-10 games of their seasons. Dallas started their 2022 season going 6-2. They finished the season going 5-6. Of course, one would assume the back half of the season would be full of elite competition, but that wasn't the case. Dallas failed to cover as favorites against the struggling Packers, the Giants, Texans, Jaguars, and Commanders.

Ultra-talented from top to bottom on their roster, "America's Team" tends to flail when stressed. Under pressure, Dak Prescott throws more INTs, Mike McCarthy struggles with situational football, and generally, the marketplace sees them as a more consistent team than they show on the field. I would approach the Cowboys the same way I do every year — expect positive results early and expect negative results later.

Tennessee Titans

ATS Performance: 9-7-1 (56.3%)

Total Performance: 12-5 (70.6%) to the under 

The Tennessee Titans looked like two different teams in 2022. They were at the top of the ATS rankings to start the season, covering eight of their first 10 games. Then Ryan Tannehill got injured, along with several players injured on their defensive and offensive lines. And eventually, they just didn't have enough talent to muster a better performance.

Taking advantage of a cupcake schedule to start, they easily covered eight straight games against teams like Las Vegas, Indianapolis (twice), Washington, Houston, and Denver. Then they had two really impressive covers against the Chiefs and Packers. They covered by an average of 6.8 points per game in that span – a truly impressive mark. And it makes the Titans a tough case.

They lack talent on offense, particularly on the offensive line and at wide receiver, but they also have one of the best coaches in the NFL. Mike Vrabel had his team fighting hard every week, particularly on defense. It's the main reason a banged-up Titans team nearly covered as 13.5-point underdogs against the Cowboys (they lost by 14). Everyone in the NFL community has been ready to fade Tennessee for some time — I disagree.

The Titans were the AFC's No. 1 seed just a season ago, and I trust Vrabel will solve their personnel issues. Tennessee has the No. 11 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft (not too shabby) and plenty of cap space to sign valued skill players. 

Miami Dolphins

ATS Performance: 10-8 (55.6%)

Total Performance: 9-9

In his first season as a head coach, Mike McDaniel and his Miami Dolphins performed above expectations in every regard. Exploding on the scene, they defeated and covered against three elite coaches in Weeks 1-3, beating the Patriots, Ravens, and Bills to start their 2022 campaign. Those three games alone resulted in a +23-point ATS point differential. Immediately the oddsmakers adjusted.

Miami would go on to cover in only one of their next six contests. Of course, Tua Tagovailoa suffering multiple concussions and missing a few games didn't help. Eventually, Tagovailoa returned, but Miami's schedule also became more difficult. They covered against teams like Detroit, Cleveland, and Houston, but the most difficult part of their schedule caught up with Miami's new regime. The Dolphins struggled in December, failing to cover against the 49ers, Chargers, and Packers. But to their credit, they ended strong.

Even without Tagovailoa, Miami covered in all three of their final contests. It was an exhibition of McDaniel's leadership and an improving offense that needed to play better without their most important player. The only issue for Miami's ability to cover and win us all money moving forward is their perception.

When the Dolphins looked good, they looked really good. At their best, they looked incredibly explosive and unstoppable, and that kind of potential can really decrease expected value in the marketplace. So I'll hold off, for now, on making any big declarations, but Miami is an exciting young team that could be a fantastic betting companion when they're healthy.