NFL Pro Bowl 2022: Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

MaximBet previews Sunday’s NFC vs. AFC Pro Bowl.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes
(Getty Images)

Well, we’ve reached the NFL’s dead week, where there’s nothing going on worth watching. Oh? You’re telling me they’re playing the Pro Bowl Sunday? 

Yeah. I know. I already said there’s nothing worth watching.

But, because it’s football, we have lines, odds and totals at MaximBet. And because we like to take a little bit of money and turn it into a lot of money, we will use those wager possibilities, even on something as lame as the Pro Bowl, to craft our own Scrooge McDuck-ian money bin.

The Pro Bowl, in its modern form, is simultaneously an honor and an insult. When I saw that Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee Titans staff would coach the AFC while Matt LaFleur and the Green Bay Packers crew would take over the NFC, my only thought was, “oof.”

Those two teams ruled the regular season. They had the Nos. 1 seeds in their playoff brackets and both were summarily dismissed from those same playoffs in their first games. One and done. And now you get to coach the Pro Bowl. 

At least until a few years ago you’d get a free trip to Hawaii for the honor. For the last couple of seasons, all you get is a hotel room in Orlando and whatever Bed Bug/Chlamydia hybrid they were cooking up in Tampa strip clubs. 

This year it’s in Las Vegas. So, let’s just hope there’s no crossover with the CSI TV show.

When I was growing up, I knew exactly how important the Pro Bowl was by who was not playing in it. Joe Montana, the GOAT before the GOAT, played in a few when he was younger, but in the last half of his career he could not be bothered with a trip to Honolulu.

There are only so many times you can see Dave Krieg referred to as one of the league’s top quarterbacks before you realize that maybe this “All-Star” game doesn’t have as much shine on it as you think.

What I LOVED was the old quarterback challenge that they discontinued in 2007 while I wasn’t looking. Starting in 1990, the league’s best quarterbacks (minus Montana, who just would not do shit like this at all at the end), the league’s better QBs would meet up on Kauai and basically do all the dumb shit you’d do with a football when you were screwing around with your brother or cousins. 

Can you hit this target? What if it’s moving? How far can you throw it? That kind of thing. I cannot tell you how much more fun this was to watch than a meaningless Pro Bowl game where no one tackles, blocks or tries. 

Because the quarterbacks that were in it, were in it to win. 

And we had some crazy results. After Dan Marino took two of the first three QB Challenges, it became a showcase of exactly what’s wrong with the quarterback evaluation process. Just raw skills and throw power are one thing. But having the X-Factor to be an NFL gunslinger is another. 

How do I know that? Because Jake Plummer won it twice. Trent Dilfer, Jeff Garcia and Matt Hasselbeck all took it once. The last two were won by Chris Simms and Josh McCown. 

And they were going against real QBs when they won. Talk about true underdog stories. 

Bring it back is what I’m saying. 

2022 NFL Pro Bowl: NFC vs AFC (-2.5)

Perusing the odds at MaximBet, the AFC crew is favored by less than a field goal at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 6. Because the level of play is all over the place, it’s always difficult to pick this game. Guys like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have pulled out of the NFC side due to injuries and retirements, respectively. 

And plenty of the guys who made both teams aren’t there because they’re playing in the Super Bowl next Sunday. Odd how that works out.

What I think is the secret to picking this game is the QB matchups and, in this one, the AFC has a significant advantage. The NFC is fielding Kyler Murray, Kirk Cousins (for Rodgers) and Russell Wilson (for Brady). The AFC is bringing out Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes and Mac Jones (for Lamar Jackson). 

While Jones doesn’t excite me as a fourth quarter quarterback here, the fact that he’ll probably be facing off against Cousins makes it a little more palpable. 

Take the AFC at -2.5

Adam Greene is @TheFirstMan on Twitter.

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