Thursday Night Football brings the first game of the 2023 NFL regular season. It's a doozy of a matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Detroit Lions. Let's try to start things off on the right foot with three wagers that could prove to be profitable.
Chiefs vs. Lions Betting Odds for Thursday Night Football
Chiefs: Spread -4.5 (-110), -285 Moneyline Lions: Spread +4.5 (-110), +185 Moneyline Game Total: 53 points
The total for this game has been fluctuating because of injuries on the Chiefs side, most notably the knee injury of Travis Kelce.
Chiefs vs. Lions Betting Picks This Week
Amon-Ra St. Brown was a target monster last season, receiving 146 of them over 16 games. He didn't let them go to waste, accumulating 106 receptions, 1,161 yards and six touchdowns. He stormed out of the gate with at least eight receptions in both of his first two games and would post at least seven receptions in a game 10 times.
The Chiefs could be without Kelce (knee) for this matchup, but with Patrick Mahomes under center, they are still one of the most potent offenses in football. They have some dangerous young wide receivers, including Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney and Rashee Rice. The Lions might be forced to throw a lot to keep pace with the Chiefs' offense, which could afford St. Brown with enough targets to hit this over.
Chiefs vs. Lions Best Bet: Amon-Ra St. Brown over 6.5 receptions (-125 DraftKings Sportsbook) for 1 unit
The move from the Packers to the Chiefs last season resulted in Marquez Valdes-Scantlingregistering career highs in receptions (42) and targets (81). His 687 receiving yards were just three short of his previous career best, too. Now in his second season with the team, Valdes-Scantling projects to be one of Mahomes' top wide receivers, especially with how injuries have plagued Toney early in his career.
While Valdes-Scantling doesn't rack up a ton of receptions, he comes with big-play upside. He averaged 16.4 yards per reception last season and has averaged 17.2 yards per reception for his career. Last season, he came out of the gate with at least 44 receiving yards in five of his first seven games. Given the uncertainty surrounding Kelce, the over here is the way to go.
Chiefs vs. Lions Best Bet: Marquez Valdes-Scantlingover 39.5 receiving yards (-115 DraftKings Sportsbook) for 1 unit
After rushing 12 times for 62 yards in Week 1 last year, Isiah Pacheco received an inconsistent workload for much of the first half of the season. However, he averaged 14 carries over their final nine games of the regular season. That enabled him to post at least 58 rushing yards in a game eight times. In their three playoff games, he topped 75 rushing yards two times.
Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire both enter the season healthy, but Pacheco should still receive the bulk of the carries for the Chiefs. McKinnon is a bigger weapon in the passing game and Edwards-Helaire has been unable to live up to the hype that came with being selected in the first round of the 2020 Draft. A significant workload against a Lions defense that allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game in the league last season could leave Pacheco with a juicy stat line.
Chiefs vs. Lions Best Bet: Isiah Pacheco over 51.5 rushing yards (-113 FanDuel Sportsbook) for 1 unit
Chiefs vs. Lions Prediction
Kelce is being considered as a game-time decision after suffering his knee injury at practice earlier in the week. Given the short turnaround and that this is the first game of the season, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Chiefs decided to exercise caution and sit him out. Still, with Mahomes and home-field advantage, I like the Chiefs to pull out the victory by a score of 27-24.