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Top 5 Betting Tips for the NFL Pro Bowl in 2022

| February 1, 2022 9:16 am PDT

The NFL Pro Bowl comes the week before the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl pits the best players in the AFC against the NFC. It has taken place in Hawaii since the 1970s, but the NFL has experimented with different stadiums.

I wouldn’t say the Pro Bowl is a popular betting event, but bettors love their football. This gives them a chance to bet before the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl features your typical bets with spread, moneyline, and over/under.

This might be your first-time betting on the Pro Bowl, so I want to give you a few betting tips. Let’s check them out.

Place Your MVP Bets on the Young Stars

The Pro Bowl features the best players in the league. Typically, that consists of veterans that have been around for a few years. However, we’ve seen young players make their mark early in their careers.

I’d say part of the reason that happens is veterans don’t take the Pro Bowl as seriously as some young players. Those players want to come out and show they are among the best players in the league. I can think of three examples of a young star showing out in the Pro Bowl.

In 1994, Marshall Faulk was a rookie running back for the Indianapolis Colts. Faulk had a great rookie season, accumulating 1,800+ scrimmage yards. He went into the Pro Bowl looking to leave his mark.

That’s exactly what he did, rushing for a Pro Bowl record 180 yards on 13 carries. He took home MVP after leading the AFC to a 41-13 lead.

A few years later, Randy Moss accomplished this feat. Moss wasn’t a rookie, but he was coming off a great sophomore season. Moss stole the show in the Pro Bowl with a record 212 receiving yards. He also recorded nine receptions and a touchdown.

My final example comes with Adrian Peterson. Peterson made the Pro Bowl his rookie season after rushing for 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The NFC found themselves in a 24-7 hole early in the second quarter, but Peterson helped lead a comeback. He rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, leading the NFC to a 42-30 victory.

These players were hungry to showcase their talent in the Pro Bowl. Their team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, so this was their next best chance to show everyone they belonged among the league’s elites.

Keep that in mind if you bet on the MVP of the Pro Bowl.

Regular Season MVPs Can Lead You to Success

This might seem obvious, but not everyone goes hard in the Pro Bowl. People might think the league MVP might take it easy since they know they are among the best players in the game. However, that’s not always the case.

We’ve seen five NFL MVPs win Pro Bowl MVP in the same season. Walter Payton was the first to accomplish this feat in 1978. He had 13 carries, 77 yards, and the game-winning touchdown to lead the NFL to a 14-13 victory.

Less than 10 years later, Joe Theismann accomplished this feat. Theismann had some extra motivation, as his Washington Redskins lost the Super Bowl a week before.

Theismann took out his frustration on the AFC. Check out his numbers.

  • 21/27
  • 242 yards
  • 3 touchdowns

Peyton Manning came into the 2005 Pro Bowl on the heels of breaking the then-record for most passing touchdowns in a season. Manning came out firing, throwing three touchdowns in the first half. It only took six completions for Manning to reach 130 yards. The AFC earned a 38-27 victory.

Our last two MVPs to win Pro Bowl MVP came in the last few years. Patrick Mahomes earned Pro Bowl MVP in 2019 after passing for 156 yards and a touchdown.

The following year, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson put his skills on display. Jackson threw a pair of touchdowns in the first half. Check out his final numbers.

  • 16/23
  • 185 yards
  • 2 touchdowns

Honestly, you could put Mahomes and Jackson in my first section considering their performance came in their second season.

These MVPs showed that you don’t need to take your foot off the pedal in the Pro Bowl. I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of a bet with them in the Pro Bowl.

Take Note of the Drop Outs

As much as we’d love to see the best players in the Pro Bowl, it’s never going to happen. Some of the top players in the league won’t participate for various reasons. They range from playing in the Super Bowl, injuries, etc.

The NFL moved back to the typical AFC vs. NFC format in 2017. That year, 13 starters didn’t play in the Pro Bowl because of injuries. Ten of those 13 starters came from the NFC, but it didn’t affect the outcome.

In 2018, we saw it go the other way. The NFC lost 10 of their starters, including four offensive linemen. The NFC held a 20-3 lead at halftime, but perhaps that lack of depth took its toll in the second half.

Check out the scoring in the second half.

  • AFC Touchdown
  • AFC Touchdown
  • NFC Field Goal
  • AFC Touchdown

The AFC came back to claim a 24-23 victory. I think the biggest example of drop outs making a difference was 2019.

That year, the only starters for the NFC that played were Kyle Juszczyk and Alex Mack. It was a little better on defense, but they were still missing many of their top players. That led to the NFC accumulating 148 total yards in a 26-7 loss.

In 2020, the AFC saw very few starters miss the game. Four players missed the game because of the Super Bowl, but the only other AFC starters not to participate were DeAndre Hopkins, Maurkice Pouncey, and Joey Bosa.

The NFC had many more absences, but they managed to keep it close. In the end, the AFC held off a late rally to win the game.

It’s essential to make note of players opting out. It’s one of the top keys in the Pro Bowl betting strategy. The 2019 Pro Bowl showed us how big of a difference it can make.

Pay Attention to the Backups

This is an extension of my previous section, but we should always be aware of the backups in the Pro Bowl. The starters will see playing time in the first half, but they won’t be on the field when it matters most.

Is anyone familiar with the 2004 Pro Bowl? The AFC used a big half from Steve McNair and Peyton Manning to take a 31-13 lead. Jamal Lewis opened the second half with a touchdown run to give the AFC a 38-13.

Marc Bulger took over at quarterback for the NFC in the second half. Bulger was the fifth alternate for the NFC after Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb didn’t play.

Bulger came in and led the NFC on a big comeback. He threw four touchdowns to make it a 45-40 game. The NFC pulled ahead for good on a 32-yard pick-six by Dre Bly. Bulger’s four passing touchdowns were a Pro Bowl record.

We talked about this earlier, but the 2018 Pro Bowl featured a big comeback. The NFC held a 20-3 lead, but players like Alex Smith, Derek Carr, and Delanie Walker helped lead a comeback.

All three of those players made the roster as an alternate. Walker’s two touchdowns earned him MVP.

We’re seeing more and more players opt out of the Pro Bowl because of injuries. The Pro Bowl used to be after the Super Bowl, so you didn’t have to worry about Super Bowl players missing the Pro Bowl. Now, that’s an issue.

Backups and alternates will become more and more critical in the Pro Bowl. Honestly, I’d look at them when placing a Pro Bowl bet. They’ll likely be on the field more than the starters. We know they’ll play in clutch moments.

Be Aware of the Rules

The Pro Bowl might be an NFL game, but it doesn’t follow the same rules as a regular-season or playoff game. The NFL wants to keep the game as safe as possible since it doesn’t mean anything at the end of the day.

A big rule is the lack of kickoffs. Following a score, a team will start the next possession from their 25-yard line. That’s something to keep in mind if the return specialist is good at kickoffs but average in punt returns.

There is no intentional grounding in the Pro Bowl, so quarterbacks can freely throw the ball away without worrying about a penalty. This leads to fewer hits on the quarterback, meaning a smaller chance of injury.

Another way to protect the quarterback is not having a blitz. Only one defensive lineman can blitz the quarterback. This is a big rule because it neutralizes elite pass rushers.

Those are the significant rule changes that could impact betting in the Pro Bowl. Not being able to blitz the quarterback is a huge advantage for the offense. Defensive linemen can affect the run game, but they don’t have as much power in the passing game.

There are a few other rules in the Pro Bowl. One that catches my eye is a running clock on incompletions. This will lead to longer drives and fewer chances for a team looking to make a comeback.

The clock will stop in the final two minutes of each half, so it’s not impossible to put together a late drive.

It might look a little weird at times, but you won’t notice these rule changes most of the time. I wouldn’t let them make a big impact on your bet, but make note of them.

Betting on the Pro Bowl in 2022

The Pro Bowl isn’t a marquee event like the MLB or NBA All-Star Game. However, it puts the best players in the NFL in one game to decide which conference has the upper hand.

Hopefully, these betting tips give you a better sense of how to bet on the Power Bowl. Together, we can all win some money.

Bettors can use the top NFL betting sites for their favorite Pro Bowl bets.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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