The last six months of 2020 have been, for a lack of a better word, miserable.
But amazingly enough, the NFL season is here and appears to be heading for a smooth launch to the season, after many of us wondered if we would ever get to this point.
Tonight marks the kickoff of the 101st season of NFL Football, and we get things started with the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs playing host to the Houston Texans, a team the Chiefs knocked out of the playoffs with a 51-31 victory en route to their aforementioned Super Bowl title.
Since that playoff game took place some nine months ago, a lot of things have changed in the world, but not many things changed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City returns all but two starters from their Super Bowl-winning roster, and managed to potentially get even better on offense for the 2020 NFL Season with the selection of former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Texans meanwhile enter the new season with Deshaun Watson now set to be a Houston Texan for at least six more seasons, but they will be without superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded to Arizona in the offseason in one of the most puzzling moves leading into the new campaign.
Houston received former Pro Bowl rusher David Johnson in the trade, and also went out and acquired the services of former Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks to replace Hopkins in the lineup. Cooks will be a game-time decision on Thursday night, with David Johnson set to start in the Texans backfield. Both players will be heavily under the microscope for the Texans all season, but particularly tonight where all hands will be needed on deck for Houston to start the season with a shocking upset.
For those sports bettors foaming at the mouth for some betting action that doesn’t require watching a stream of the computer playing Madden NFL 20, your day has finally come. Here are our favorite bets of the evening as we head into the first game of the 2020 NFL Season.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire OVER 55.5 Yards Rushing — (-131) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Potentially our favorite player total of the night comes with rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire topping 55 yards rushing in his NFL debut. In each of the two matchups between Houston and Kansas City a season ago, the Chiefs elected to attack the Texans secondary every way conceivable, but that was due more to the fact the Chiefs rushing game was pedestrian at best for most of the 2019 season.
That is no longer the case, as Edwards-Helaire should step into the Chiefs lineup and almost immediately contribute to a Chiefs offense that is filled to the brim with speed and talent across the board. We think Andy Reid will lean a bit more on the running of Edwards-Helaire as the offense gets back into game form and CEH will sail over the 55.5 number against a downright terrible Texans defense.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire First Touchdown Scorer — (+550) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Continuing our love of the rookie running back, we are going to also sprinkle a little bit on Edwards-Helaire being the first Chief to find the end zone tonight at +550. Nothing too crazy here given the other weapons on the Kansas City offense, we just envision the running game getting going a little earlier than the passing game.
Patrick Mahomes OVER 2.5 Touchdown Passes — (+107) at DraftKings Sportsbook
There’s no other way to splice this, the Houston Texans secondary is atrocious. Mahomes threw for 8 touchdowns in two games against Houston last season, topping this number in each game, and we see Mahomes getting into this exact same rhythm after some of the rust is shaken off in the early stages of the game. If the Texans are unable to manufacture any type of consistent pressure on Mahomes tonight, it could be one long evening for Bill O’Brien’s defensive unit. We’re jumping at Mahomes eclipsing this number with plus-money involved, and he may not even make you wait that long to do it.
Will Fuller OVER 63.5 Receiving Yards — (-130) at DraftKings Sportsbook
The juice on this price is a bit steep, but we’re going to pounce on the over 63.5 receiving yards for Will Fuller here, especially if Brandin Cooks is a no go for tonight. Fuller is still the Texans’ best deep-ball threat, and while the Chiefs defense is not the worst unit in football, it still has a knack for giving up big plays. We expect Watson and Fuller to connect on at least one deep throw, and for Fuller to squeak past the 63.5 total here.
Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs Game Prediction
Week 1 in the NFL is almost always a chaotic and unpredictable week of games, and with no preseason football to gauge off of, it’s anyone’s guess how the first week of games will play out. Fortunately for bettors, we don’t have to go too far back in history to see what happened the last time these two teams met, as Kansas City beat Houston 51-31 just nine months ago.
The Chiefs have returned nearly everyone from the lineup that took the field that cold January afternoon against Houston, and the Texans not only did not add anyone of significance to put them on the same level as the defending champs, they got noticeably worse by trading DeAndre Hopkins for 20 cents on the dollar and by not adding anyone to a defensive unit that ranked 28th a season ago.
We think Houston keeps it semi-close early before the Chiefs blow off the doors late. Kansas City begins their title defense with a convincing victory, covering the spread and inching the total over.
Texans-Chiefs Tale of the Tape:
Line: Chiefs (-9)
Total: O/U 53 (-110)
Kickoff: 8:20 PM ET
Game Trends of Note
- With Patrick Mahomes as starting QB, the Chiefs are 7-0 SU in September and 6-1 against the spread; The Texans are 4-7 SU and 5-6 against the spread with Deshaun Watson under center in September.
- The Chiefs are 12-4 ATS as a favorite over the last two seasons.
- The Chiefs are 11-3 ATS in conference games over the last two seasons.
- The OVER hit in both matchups between Houston and Kansas City in 2019.
- Teams favored by 7.5 points or more in Week 1 of the NFL season are 3-11 ATS since 2013 (Chiefs currently are 9-point favorites)
The Hook Predicts
Chiefs 38, Texans 17
The Hook YTD Record: 0-0
The Hook Best Game Bets
Chiefs (-9); OVER 54
The Hook YTD ATS Record: 0-0
The Hook YTD Over/Under Record: 0-0