Leading up to the 2022 NFL season, Post Action Betting will release a gambling preview for all 32 teams in the National Football League, covering the schedule, predictions, win total over/under picks and prop bets for every team. Today, we will cover the Washington Commanders. Be sure to check out our Pittsburgh Steelers preview, published yesterday.
Washington Commanders (66/1 to win the Super Bowl, BetMGM)
2021 Record: 7-10 (3rd in NFC East)
Ron Rivera returns for his third season with Washington, who made a splash this offseason by acquiring QB Carson Wentz from the Indianapolis Colts.
Rivera will hope Wentz is a difference-maker for Washington, which proved a very up-and-down team last season. After starting 2-2, they lost five of six before winning four straight and closing the season 1-4. Washington will be without edge rusher Chase Young early on, who is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in Week 10 last season.
Rivera will also need to improve his team’s pass defense. Last season, Washington ranked 28th in pass DVOA, per footballoutsiders.com, while finishing seventh in rush DVOA. However, the latter ranking is largely based on games with Young, as Washington struggled against the run without the Ohio State product on the field.
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Commanders offseason moves: Draft, trades, free agent signings, injury report
- Acquired QB Carson Wentz + draft pick from Indianapolis Colts for three draft picks
- Drafted Penn State WR Jahan Dotson (No. 16), Alabama DT Phidarian Mathis (No. 45), Alabama RB Brian Robinson Jr. (No. 98), Louisiana-Lafayette S Percy Butler (No. 113), North Carolina QB Sam Howell (No. 144), Nevada TE Cole Turner (No. 149), Tulsa G Chris Paul (No. 230), Oklahoma State CB Christian Holmes (No. 240)
- Signed WR Alex Erickson, G Trai Turner, CBs DeVante Cross, Josh Drayden and Devin Taylor and TEs Curtis Hodges & Armani Rogers.
Commanders 2022 Schedule
Week 1: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 2: at Detroit Lions
Week 3: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 4: at Dallas Cowboys
Week 5: vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 6: at Chicago Bears
Week 7: vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 8: at Indianapolis Colts
Week 9: vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 10: at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 11: at Houston Texans
Week 12: vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 13: at New York Giants
Week 14: BYE
Week 15: vs. New York Giants
Week 16: at San Francisco 49ers
Week 17: vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 18: vs. Dallas Cowboys
NFL Betting Lines: Commanders Win Total O/U
This win total is heavily juiced to the under, which is priced at -170 as of this writing. For those bettors interested in the over, you can get a juicy +145.
However, I’m slightly surprised at how confident bookmakers are that the Commanders fail to clear this win total. Based on my Action colleague Sean Koerner’s strength of schedule projections, the Commanders enter the 2022-23 season with the third-easiest schedule in the NFL.
Plus, most of their trip-wire matchups come at home – Week 7 against Green Bay, Week 9 against Minnesota and Week 18 against Dallas. As for their road schedule, I believe that aside from San Francisco and Dallas, the remainder are winnable games that will feature single-digit spreads (assuming full health).
The addition of Wentz, who ranked 16th amongst all quarterbacks last year in DVOA, should boost a Washington offense that ranked 21st in team DVOA last season, per footballoutsiders.com. Should that occur, the Commanders will undoubtedly like the looks of a schedule that features eight games against teams that ranked in the bottom half of team defensive DVOA last season.
Additionally, I’m further questioning the price here based on the past results for the Commanders. In the last two seasons under Rivera, the Commanders have won seven games.
Are they capable of improving by two wins with a competent quarterback and weak schedule?
Absolutely. Despite his flaws, Wentz should help balance this offensive attack and guide the Commanders to over this win total.
Despite DE Chase Young likely missing the opening part of the season, I’m not about to overreact to that absence. Last season, Washington went 4-4 in games without the Ohio State edge rusher.
For all those reasons, take the over on Washington’s win total up to +115.
Commanders O/U 8.5 Wins: The Pick
Over 8.5 Wins (+145)
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Carson Wentz Over 21.5 Passing TD’s (-112, FanDuel)
After acquiring Wentz, I expect the Commanders will make him the focal point of their offense. That belief should lead to Wentz going over his touchdown prop of 21.5 for the season.
Beyond that oversimplified theory, there are supporting statistics that further point to Wentz clearing this benchmark. First is that under Rivera, Washington has proven mediocre at establishing the run. Last season, they ranked 19th in rushing DVOA. In the season prior, they were 14th, per footballoutsiders.com.
Additionally, both Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic have established themselves as reliable receivers out of the backfield. Last season, of the 57 running-backs that received at least 25 passes, both ranked 25th or better in defense-adjusted yards above replacement.
Washington makes an active effort to use their backs in a passing game and that the ball will be in Wentz’s hands more often than not, especially near the red zone.
Finally, despite all his perceived flaws, Wentz has cleared this number in two of his last three seasons. Based on those trends, back this market up to -125.