Lions vs Chiefs Odds, Prediction: Expert Pick Against the Spread for Thursday Night Football Week 1
Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Goff (left) and Patrick Mahomes.
Lions vs Chiefs Odds, Prediction, Expert Pick
We're looking for a Lions vs Chiefs betting pick tonight to kick off the new NFL season in Week 1 on Thursday Night Football, as we break down the latest odds in my prediction and pick against the spread.
Kansas City faces some key absences on Thursday Night Football in Travis Kelce and Chris Jones. The Chiefs will face an upstart Lions team coming off a nine-win season that's now the favorite in the NFC North.
Let's break down Lions vs. Chiefs odds and find our NFL pick in what should be an exciting opening matchup. While odds are on the move for Lions vs Chiefs with Kelce ruled out, bet365 does still have Detroit +4.5 — which matters to us, as you will see below.
Being on the road at Arrowhead Stadium is far from being an ideal season opener, but the Lions may have lucked out in terms of timing because they might get to play a version of the Chiefs sans Kelce and Jones.
Jones is one of the most valuable defensive players in the league, and his absence could affect the outcome of this game. His impact on the run game is clear when you look at opponents' yards per rush when he is on the field (4.3) compared to when he is off (5.8). Look for the Lions to try to exploit this with their new running back duo of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs.
Jones is also a difference-maker in the passing game, as he generated the third-highest pressure rate of all interior linemen last season. The Chiefs had a 36% pressure rate with him on the field (which would've ranked seventh) compared to just 32% when he was off (which would've ranked 21st).
The Chiefs go from a top-10 pressure rate with Jones to nearly being in the bottom 10 without him. This leads us to Jared Goff, who averaged 8.5 yards per pass attempt from a clean pocket and 4.3 yards per attempt when facing pressure last season.
It was the second-biggest drop in efficiency against pressure out of 40 qualified quarterbacks. Look for Goff to take advantage of a cleaner pocket and move the ball efficiently with Amon-Ra St. Brown and his two shiny new toys in rookies Gibbs and Sam LaPorta.
I’m estimating Jones’ potential absence is worth nearly a full point against the spread.
Bet Detroit vs. Kansas City at FanDuel
The Chiefs will also be without their top offensive player who isn't named Patrick Mahomes in Kelce, who is out with a knee injury.
Kelce is one of the most valuable non-QBs in the league given how productive he is in the passing game compared to other tight ends. Kansas City’s EPA/play was 0.1 higher when Kelce was on the field (vs. off).
Interestingly enough, there was no difference on pass plays, but it was run plays where the Chiefs struggled without Kelce. There is likely a ton of noise in this sample, but my guess is that defenses have to at least prepare for a potential pass play to Kelce when he's in. When he isn't, defenses can add an extra defender to help stop the run.
The last game Kelce missed was in Week 16 of the 2021 season — the Chiefs beat the Steelers 36-10. It’s worth noting that Kansas City still had Tyreek Hill then, so this could be the first time Mahomes is without Kelce and Hill.
In that game against the Steelers, the Chiefs ran the ball at a 10% higher rate (on early downs, when the game was still close), which could hint at the Chiefs potentially being more run-heavy against the Lions.
A higher run rate, with less efficiency, could be in store. If that's the case, it would have a significant impact on the total. So while Kelce may be worth 1-1.5 points against the spread, he could be worth closer to two points on the total.
Lions vs. Chiefs Expert Pick Against the Spread
Betting Picks & Predictions
If the Chiefs are without Kelce and Jones, I would lower their power rating by 2-2.5 points and would only project the Chiefs as 3.5-point favorites. After all, they still have one of the best QB/head coach duos in NFL history.
I already locked in the Lions at +6, but I do think they offer value down to +4.5. Unfortunately, the market is closer to +3.5 now with Kelce ruled out, but you can still get Detroit +4.5 at bet365 as of the time of this update. If you do, make sure to use our bet365 promo code!
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