This is the perfect way to wrap up Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season. On Monday night, new Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson will return to Seattle to take on his former team in the Seahawks. The Broncos are currently on the second-longest active playoff drought in the NFL, but they expect that to change with an upgrade at quarterback.
Denver leads the all-time series vs. Seattle 35-21, including playoffs. The Broncos are also 8-2 in their last 10 season openers, while the Seahawks are looking to win their fourth-straight Week 1 matchup. The last time the Seahawks lost a season opener at home was in 1999. On paper, the Broncos look like the better team, but in an emotional matchup like this one, you never know what can happen.
Below, we will break down this matchup from a gambling perspective and examine the line movement, Over/Under and player props to consider. First, here's how you can watch Monday's matchup.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
- Broncos: LB Josey Jewell (calf) DOUBTFUL; OLB Randy Gregory (shoulder/knee), WR KJ Hamler (knee/hip), OL Billy Turner (knee) QUESTIONABLE
- Seahawks: LS Tyler Ott (shoulder), LB Alton Robinson (knee) OUT; RB Kenneth Walker (hernia), OG Damien Lewis (knee/ankle) QUESTIONABLE
The Broncos may not have former Cowboys pass-rusher Gregory active for his first game as a Bronco, as he's questionable to play with shoulder and knee issues. However, he was a limited participant in practice all week, which could be seen as a positive. Hamler and Turner were also limited participants all week. Turner is listed as a starter on the offensive line, so he's certainly someone to keep an eye on.
The Seahawks have a couple of important players listed as questionable for Monday night, as the rookie Walker is attempting to return from a hernia procedure, and Lewis is still working back from the scary leg injury he suffered in the preseason. Seattle's offensive line is a question mark, and Geno Smith would be more comfortable with Lewis in the lineup.
The Broncos opened up as 3.5-point favorites on May 12. On July 6, the line shot up to DEN -5. On Aug. 21, we saw another big bump up to DEN -6. On Monday Sept. 5, the line bumped up half a point to DEN -6.5.
The pick: Broncos -6.5. This game was actually included in my. Here is my reasoning:
"I have thought for years now that the Broncos roster has been worthy of contending. They just haven't had good play from the most important position in football since the Peyton Manning days. With the arrival of Russell Wilson, Denver could be a legitimate squad.
"I don't think the Broncos come out and win by 30 points on Monday night. Wilson and first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett probably need some more time to figure each other out before this offense looks like a well-oiled machine consistently, but I do believe this line is too low. I appreciate Pete Carroll putting on the appearance that he's excited for his roster, but I don't think anyone else is."
The total opened at 41.5 on May 12. On Aug. 28, it was bumped up to 42. On Sept. 4, it was bumped up again to 43. This past Tuesday, it received another bump to 44.
The pick: Under 44. You can't exactly rely on stats from last year since we have different quarterbacks working different offenses. I expect Wilson and the Broncos to be contenders, but that doesn't mean they will come out and drop 40-plus against Seattle. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Cowboys matchup was gross. Could we see something like that? This isn't a best bet from me, but the lean is to the Under.
Russell Wilson props
Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over -133, Under -103)
Passing yards: 253.5 (Over -117, Under -117)
Passing attempts: 33.5 (Over -123, Under -111)
Passing completions: 22.5 (Over -115, Under -119)
Longest passing completion: 36.5 (Over -157, Under +114)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over +123, Under -169)
I would go ahead and hit that Over on touchdown passes. As I said, I'm not expecting a shootout, but two touchdowns is, dare I say, likely. I would stay away from passing attempts and completions props in this case for two reasons: The Broncos are expected to win, and we don't exactly know how this offense will look. I'm sure Nathaniel Hackett wants to run through his quarterback, but at the same time Denver has two talented running backs it could utilize if things get out of hand early. Wilson to throw an interception at plus money is enticing, but I won't be playing it. He threw six interceptions in 14 games last year.
Geno Smith props
Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over +165, Under -234)
Passing yards: 209.5 (Over -115, Under -119)
Passing attempts: 30.5 (Over -113, Under -121)
Passing completions: 18.5 (Over -113, Under -121)
Longest passing completion: 36.5 (Over -111, Under -123)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -179, Under +129)
I will not be touching Smith's touchdown prop. As for his passing yards number, it's almost like Vegas just took it from his best game last year, as he threw for 209 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I don't expect Smith to fly past this number, but if you really want some action on Seattle or if you're a Seahawks fan, go ahead and throw some money on that Over.
These quarterback props -- especially with "new" quarterbacks in new systems -- seem a bit silly to me to gamble on in Week 1. Still, I will say I like the Under on Smith's longest completion at 36.5.
Noah Fant total receptions: Over 2.5 (-123). This is not just a revenge game for Wilson, it's one for Fant as well. The former Bronco tight end didn't like his time in Denver too much. He had issues with the offense and how the team used him. He's a downfield threat kind of guy, but the Broncos' previous quarterback issues affected his ceiling. Fant doesn't exactly have the dream QB scenario in Seattle, but I like him to catch three passes Monday night.
Rashaad Penny total rushing + receiving yards: Under 80.5 (-110). This number just feels a bit bloated to me. I do love Penny, although I question his durability, but all his big games have come late in the year. It's a weird trend I try not to put too much stock into, but if you believe the Broncos win this game, I think this is a good bet.
Melvin Gordon rushing yards: Over 37.5 (-131). I kind of love this number. Everyone is excited for Javonte Williams -- and for good reason -- but Gordon ain't chopped liver. He crossed this number in 12 of 16 games last year, and if you believe the Broncos are winning, that's even more reason to bet on this.