Chiefs vs Lions Betting Trends: How to play the NFL Kickoff
Lots of bettors and casual fans alike are buying into the hype surrounding the Lions, and not without reason. From a business standpoint, what the NFL and Detroit have been able to do over the last few years is nothing short of remarkable. The Lions were 8-24-1 over the course of 2020 and 2021; however, the combination of a Hard Knocks spotlight, an outstanding offense powered by Jared Goff, and Dan Campbell’s leadership led the team to a 9-8 record.
The renewed enthusiasm in the Lions is great for both their brand and the league as a whole and can clearly be seen as bettors file in line to play Detroit +6.5 on the first game of the new NFL season. Though the hype is real for Lions fans, will Campbell’s team really have enough to get the better of Mahomes and Reid?
Why Bettors Might Fade Kansas City
Somewhat sneakily, the Chiefs are not very good ATS. They only covered 6 out of 17 times, ranking 4th worst in the league. Of course, part of the reason for this was that they played against double-digit spreads many weeks, but bettors still have to be cautious. On the other side, the Lions were the 3rd best team in the league when is comes to ATS betting, going 12-5 to cover at a 71% rate.
Additionally, the Chiefs will be without veteran DT Chris Jones, who recorded a team high 15.5 sacks on the season in ’22—about triple the next leading sack recorder for KC. In a matchup that is predicted to be a shootout, losing someone like Jones could prove costly in terms of pressuring Goff and getting the D off the field.
Detroit returns all lot of their playmakers around Goff, too. While they lost their leading rushes from the '22 season, they have refreshed--or maybe even upgraded--the position with Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs is 4th shortest in DraftKings OROY odds at +1000 and could prove ultra-dynamic in Dan Campbell's offense.
Why Bettors Might Want to Play Kansas City
Patrick Mahomes. Last we checked, he’s still the Chiefs Quarterback as they are in the midst of what many might call a dynasty run. Mahomes is coming off a 5000+ pass yard and 40+ TD season that ultimately netted the QB his second ring. His first challenge of the 2023-2024 campaign will be a Lions team that was terrible against the pass last season. Detroit was 2nd worst in the league last year in pass yards per play, 4th worst in opponent’s points per game, and the worst in the NFL in opponent’s total yards per game.
Additionally, though the Chiefs were a bit suspect against the spread last year, that was far from the case in their opener—a 44-21 blowout win against Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. The Chiefs were also marginally better at home ATS. They come into this one with some new faces at WR, surrounding stalwarts like Kelce. Look for rookie Rashee Rice and second year pro Sky Moore to give this offense some juice, especially if Richie James and Kadarius Toney can't go on Thursday.
While the Lions have a lot going for them in terms of hype, I don’t think they have the secondary necessary to holdup against Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. The Over is certainly in play here, but I find value going Kansas City -6.5. The blowout opener against Arizona last year ended at -6 on the books. We could be in store for a similar outcome.
Prediction: Chiefs 35 Lions 27