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2023 NFL Kickoff: Odds, Predictions & Best Bets For Chiefs vs. Lions

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

Adam Thompson  | 5 mins

2023 NFL Kickoff: Odds, Predictions & Best Bets For Chiefs vs. Lions

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The 2023 NFL betting season kicks off September 7, when Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs begin defense of their Super Bowl championship against Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions in the NFL season opener.

The Chiefs led the NFL in scoring last season en route to a second title in four seasons. The Chiefs are NFL betting favorites to win this season’s Super Bowl, as well. The Lions, meanwhile, surged from a 3-13-1 record in 2021 to a 9-8 mark last year and appear poised to take another step this season, led by an offense that last year ranked fifth in points. 

KC was favored by 6.5 points until Tuesday afternoon, when it was reported star TE Travis Kelce suffered a knee injury in practice and may not suit up. The line dipped two full points by Wednesday morning. 

Bookies.com veteran NFL handicapper Adam Thompson – who has hit on a whopping 62-64% of his NFL picks three years running, reveals his plays for the NFL Kickoff Game at Arrowhead Stadium. 

RELATED: NFL Kickoff 2023: Best Week 1 Picks to Back Today

Chiefs vs. Lions Point Spread Best Bets

The Lions are getting 4.5 points here. High expectations are a new thing for the Lions, who won just three games a year prior but was one of the top-performing teams against the spread. They’ve finished in the top four ATS in each of the past two seasons. 

While we can expect the newness of both offenses to take some time, the Lions have more questions than answers, and their defense, which ranked 29th vs. the run and 30th vs. the pass, has a lot more work to do. 

Four of the last six NFL Kickoff Games have been decided by a TD or more, with the average margin of victory 10.8 ppg. KC has been at the biggest stage before, this is a huge first step for Detroit. 

Kelce, the Chiefs' superstar TE and Mahomes security blanket, is questionable after hyperextending his knee in practice on Tuesday. We'll shy from Kelce props but still go with the Chiefs to cover the spread. 

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Lions vs. Chiefs Over/Under Best Bet

The total of 53.5 points for the NFL Kickoff Game is the highest for Week 1 by a whopping three points. On the surface, that makes sense. These top-five offenses averaged a combined 55.8 ppg last year. 

But the splits matter, especially for Lions games. Combined, KC at home and Detroit on the road last year averaged just 44.5 ppg. The points allowed figure for those same splits is roughly the same, at 44.8. Both numbers are nearly 10 full points below the O/U for the Thursday game. 

Detroit’s offense has new pieces at running back and won’t have Jameson Williams at WR here. KC is working with a new group of receivers as well, and nay not have Kelce. Just two of the last eight NFL Kickoff Games have gone over 54 points. The Under is a sound play for Lions-Chiefs and the Best Bet for the NFL Kickoff Game.

Lions vs. Chiefs Moneyline Best Bet

Kansas City is -218 on the moneyline, meaning it would take a $218 wager to win $100 in profit. Conversely, Detroit is at +180 (wager $100 to win $180 in profit). 

We’re taking KC to cover the spread, so naturally we believe it will emerge victorious. That said, this is a big price to pay against a Lions team that plays hard for coach Dan Campbell and is known for exceeding expectations. Mahomes’ Chiefs have been in the NFL Kickoff Game twice, winning by 14 and 15 points. We’re not in love with the moneyline, but if we’re taking a side, it’s on the Chiefs

Lions vs. Chiefs Top Player Props

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Over 40.5 Receiving Yards (-115)

MVS is going to be one of the top three WRs for Mahomes and the Chiefs. He's the only one Mahomes has thrown a pass to, however. Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney are new to the system and combined for two receptions and six yards in the preseason. 

If Kelce doesn't play, Mahomes needs a familiar face. Valdes-Scantling might be the only one out there. Toney's own questionable status boosts the value of MVS even higher. Last year he gained 44-plus yards in seven of the nine games he managed three receptions. The situation is prime for double that number. 

Patrick Mahomes, Under 0.5 INTs (-135)

Mahomes doesn’t mess around when it comes to Week 1. Since missing the 2017 opener, the last five opening starts to the season have been top-shelf for the Chiefs QB. 

In three of those five occasions, he’s passed for at least 337 yards. In all five of them, he’s thrown for three-plus TDs. The most consistent of the stats, however, is his interception totals. That total, over the Chiefs’ last five Week 1 games, is zero. Detroit’s D had just 12 INTs in 17 games last season. 

Mahomes has played in just one game without Kelce since 2016. He still threw for three TDs with zero INTs in a 36-10 win over the Steelers. 

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About the Author

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com
Adam Thompson
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He's long been established as one of the nation's premier handicappers, specializing in the NFL where he's hit on more than 60% over the past three years. Adam's NBA, PGA and horse racing picks have also produced major winners over the last 12 months. His customized NFL and NBA odds for players and teams have been picked up by hundreds of websites over the past year.