We’ve been waiting all year for Thursday night. A pair of expected division winners will open the 2023 NFL season in the first of 272 games to be played from now until early January. The Kansas City Chiefs will open their title defense at Arrowhead Stadium against the rising Detroit Lions, who missed out on the postseason a year ago due to a tiebreak.
KC is favored by 6.5 points, slightly down from the opening number of seven. The Chiefs were unsurprisingly favored in all nine of their home games in 2022 and had a perfect 9-0 record in those matchups.
Against the spread, however, Kansas City was 3-5-1 on home turf, while Detroit was 4-3 straight up as a road underdog and 5-2 ATS. Those expectation-beating performances buoyed the Lions to their first winning season since 2017 and have the franchise on the brink of their first division title in thirty years.
The Chiefs are the favorite to win the Super Bowl again this season; the Lions have the ninth-best odds currently, according to DraftKings. In prep for their season-opening matchup in KC, we’ve got a PrizePicks prop card lined up and detailed next.
It might seem square, but Mahomes and coach Andy Reid have combined for impressive season debuts over the last five seasons. Reid is well known for his record off bye weeks, and that trend of extra preparation translating to on-field success also applies to their Week 1 games.
Since Mahomes rookie season in 2018, Kansas City is 5-0 in their first game of the year, with the QB averaging 308.4 yards per game and throwing for 18 touchdowns. The Lions allowed the third-most passing yards to opposing teams in 2022 and were 31st in opponent net yards per pass attempt.
That must be music to Andy Reid’s ears, and we’re expecting a big game from the two-time MVP on Thursday night.
McKinnon re-established himself as an offensive threat worth game planning around in 2022 while setting career-best marks in targets, catches, receiving yards, and total touchdowns within the exciting Chiefs’ offense.
It was an unexpected resurgence from a player who’d missed two seasons due to injury before the pandemic and was stuck in a crowded backfield where opportunities come at a premium.
McKinnon caught three or more passes in seven of Kansas City’s final ten regular season games last year and in all their last six home games. We expect Mahomes to look his way 5+ times on Thursday and trust him to reel in at least three of those targets.
The Cal product developed a turnover-prone reputation during his final three seasons in LA, and understandably so, given that only three quarterbacks tossed more picks from 2018-20 than Goff.
Since the Matthew Stafford trade that landed the former Ram in Detroit, Goff has thrown 15 interceptions in 31 games compared to 48 touchdowns in the same span.
We project that Goff, the seventh-highest-rated passer in the league over the last two years, will avoid throwing a pick in the Lions’ opener.