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Chiefs vs. Lions: Who Has the Betting Edge in NFL Week 1?

Last Updated: September 8, 2023

This article originally appeared at FanDuel Research.

The league is back! Let’s kick off our Week 1 NFL picks with the latest Chiefs vs. Lions prediction, odds, and prop bets overview from our friends at FanDuel.

As the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs will host the Detroit Lions at Arrowhead Stadium for the opening game of the 2023 NFL season.

Both teams have the playoffs in their sights for the upcoming season, meaning NFL fans are in for a treat on Thursday night. The game kicks off at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC and can be streamed on Peacock and NFL+.

The Chiefs look primed to defend their title this year. FanDuel Sportsbook’s NFL odds have them with +600 odds to take home the Lombardi trophy again this year, making them the current favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII. Their win total line is set at 11.5 for the season, a mark only the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles can rival on the eve of the season.

The Lions are fresh off their first winning season since 2017 and will be aiming for their first division title this millennium — they haven’t taken down the NFC North since 1993. They are currently the favorites to do so with +145 odds on the FanDuel Sportsbook’s divisional betting odds market, beating out the Minnesota Vikings’ +260 odds. The division appears to be up for grabs after Aaron Rodgers’ departure from the Green Bay Packers.

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Lions head coach Dan Campbell has done wonders to turn their team around since taking over in 2021. Their offense finished fifth in the league in total points and fourth in total yards a season ago, but the team suffered due to its arguably league-worst defensive performance. The Lions could become a powerhouse team in 2023 if their young defense, led by 2022 second-overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, can take a step forward.

Let’s get started with the Week 1 NFL picks.

Week 1 Chiefs vs. Lions Odds, Spread, Total & Moneyline

  • Spread: Chiefs -5.5 (-105)
  • Total: 52.5
  • Moneyline:
    • Chiefs: -230
    • Lions: +190

Chiefs vs. Lions Prediction & Matchup Analysis

The Chiefs are 5.5-point favorites for the first game of the 2023 season. Their 2022 Super Bowl run featured the highest-scoring offense in the league, which they rode to a league-best 14-3 record. Central to their success has been two-time MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has been arguably (almost definitely) the best quarterback in the NFL since becoming the Chiefs’ starter back in 2018.

Kansas City is still expected to have one of the league’s best offenses in 2023. numberFire’s preseason Power Rankings give the Chiefs’ offense a league-best 130.7 score heading into the season, over 20 points higher than the second-ranked Lions’ 108. Their defense comes in closer to average-looking on a league-wide scale, earning a 12th-ranked 29.1 score in numberFire’s model.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they are likely to be missing pivotal players on both sides of the ball on Thursday night. All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce suffered a knee injury in practice earlier this week and is now questionable at best to play in the season opener. With their eyes on yet another deep post-season run, the Chiefs may be cautious with their star tight end’s health in Week 1.

The team is also preparing to be without star defensive tackle Chris Jones as the two sides work out a new contract. Jones contributed incredible stats for the Chiefs last year, posting 15.5 sacks (fifth in the NFL) and a whopping 17 tackles for a loss (seventh), and his absence will be sorely felt against the Lions’ strong offense.

By comparison, the Lions will enter Thursday night’s game at relatively full health. Starting quarterback Jared Goff has thrived in offensive coordinator Ben Johnson’s system over the last two years, finding particular success due to his connection with stud receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. St. Brown’s 196 receptions since his 2021 debut rank eighth-most in the league in that time. Expect to see plenty of Goff’s pass attempts head St. Brown’s way in the opener.

The Lions mixed things up in their run game this offseason, moving on from D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams even after those running backs’ successes last year.

The team signed former Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery to a healthy three-year contract before taking electric playmaker Jahmyr Gibbs 12th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Behind one of the stronger offensive lines in the game, the Lions’ rushing attack will be a force to be reckoned with this season — and could be the key to keeping Mahomes off the field in their Week 1 tilt.

Defensively, a successful night for the Lions might look like getting a stop against the Chiefs’ offense. Expect this one to be a high-scoring affair in line with their league-high 52.5-point total.

Week 1 NFL Picks: Chiefs vs. Lions Prop Bets

All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Jahmyr Gibbs Rushing Yards: O39.5 (-114)

The Lions’ offense was one of the best in the league at generating explosive plays a season ago while Gibbs was one of the most explosive rushers in the college football ranks during his three-year stay in the NCAA. His pairing with the Lions seems like a match made in heaven.

While he is expected to split work with Montgomery throughout the season, the Lions still seem more likely than not to want to get the ball into their new playmaker’s hands in Week 1. Lions backs averaged 110.6 combined rushing yards per game last season, meaning both Gibbs and Montgomery could eclipse Gibbs’ 39.5-yard line comfortably on Thursday night — especially if Chris Jones isn’t leading the Chiefs’ defensive line.

Jerick McKinnon Receiving Yards: O26.5 (-114)

If Kelce does miss the season opener with his knee injury, it’s not really clear how the Chiefs’ pass-catching depth chart will shake out. Only Marquez Valdes-Scantling seems guaranteed to play close to a full set of snaps, while receivers like Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney, Rashee Rice, and Richie James will have to compete with each other for opportunities in the passing game.

However, running back Jerick McKinnon could be swimming in targets if Kelce is unavailable. The veteran back finished the 2022 season with more receiving yards (521) than rushing yards (291) and faces little competition for looks out of the backfield from Isiah Pacheco.

In the 12 games the Chiefs played from Week 6 on last year, McKinnon topped that 26.5-yard mark eight times as a receiver — while playing with Kelce and former teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster. He could exceed 26.5 receiving yards in the first half if Kelce sits on Thursday.

David Montgomery Any Time TD Scorer (+105)

The Lions put Jamaal Williams in position to score a league-high 17 rushing touchdowns last season. After they let Williams walk in free agency, they quickly signed Montgomery to be his replacement in their offense. If anyone is going to score a rushing touchdown on Thursday night, Montgomery may be the most likely candidate.

The Lions are certain to want to get the ball into teammate Gibbs’ hands, but Montgomery’s 222-pound frame offers a bit more upside at the goal line than Gibbs’ 199 can offer. We saw last year how the Lions preferred to have Williams as their designated goal-line back, a role Montgomery should have no problem assuming in 2023.

— Aidan McGrath

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