Super Bowl 56 is still over a week away, but for those of us that can’t live without our fill of football for just one week, the NFL has us covered.
The 2022 Pro Bowl will take place on Sunday, Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. ET with the AFC and NFC battling it out at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
After last year’s edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL’s annual All-Star Game returns to give us something to watch wager on and quench our weekly thirst for NFL action.
While betting on an exhibition game with zero consequences and a history of volatility is generally not the best way to secure a profit, that’s probably not going to stop us from throwing a few dollars down.
Without further ado, let’s get into the odds and my favorite bets.
Please note that all NFL gameday odds and lines are current as of 4 p.m. ET on Friday, February 4.
Pro Bowl Best Bets
AFC vs NFC Prediction
Since reverting to the AFC vs NFC format in 2017, the AFC has won four consecutive Pro Bowls.
Their roster is pretty stacked once again. We’ll see Los Angeles Chargers star Justin Herbert and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes taking the majority of snaps under center before giving way to rookie Mac Jones.
Those three will have Jonathan Taylor, Nick Chubb, and Najee Harris in the backfield and Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Stefon Diggs, Diontae Johnson, Mark Andrews and hometown Raider Hunter Renfrow as primary targets.
We’re never really able to forecast how much defense will be played in this game, but I don’t expect NFL sack leader T.J. Watt to be taking it easy out there.
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Meanwhile, the NFC will be trotting out Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins. Murray could certainly excel in this type of atmosphere, but Wilson struggled all season long and is only here because Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers opted out.
Opt-outs due to injury or unspecified reasons were a common theme for the NFC, which had to replace several more players than the AFC.
Both teams will have quality rosters, but there is a slight drop-off from players like Cooper Kupp (Super Bowl) and Davante Adams (Unspecified) to Mike Evans and CeeDee Lamb.
In the end, this game will likely come down to effort over talent, which makes picking a side difficult, but I’ll back Herbert and Mahomes to bounce back and put on a show after disappointing ends to their respective seasons.
Pro Bowl Score Pick: AFC 31, NFC 24
Best Bet: AFC -1 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
In a game with zero consequences, you’ve got to pick your narratives and stick to them.
I believe that the AFC, as winners of the last four Pro Bowls and with less replacement players, should be favored by more than a point here.
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The AFC has a massive coaching advantage — Mike Vrabel definitely wants this win more than Matt LaFleur — and the more talented squad.
I’m sticking with them to extend this winning streak to five.
Best Bet: Under 62.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
We should know relatively quickly what kind of defensive effort we’re going to get this year, so I’d probably hold off on the total and make a live bet early in the first quarter.
However, for the purposes of this piece, I’m going with the Under.
In the early 2010s, we saw some Pro Bowls combine for around 100 points, but over the past few years, some semblance of defensive effort has returned.
Three of the four editions since reverting to the AFC-NFC format in 2017 have finished with fewer than 50 points, so I only think we’re getting this number because of 2020’s 71-point outburst.
Again, we should be able to know early on, so this is definitely a better live bet, but the Under feels like the smarter play here.