- Chiefs opened as 10-point favorites over Texans
- Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins during offseason
- Kansas City's core championship roster returns
We can’t think of a better way to kick off the 2020 NFL season than with a rematch of one of the most aesthetically pleasing, hyper-offense playoff games of all-time. In case you forgot, the Chiefs rallied back from a 24-0 deficit to beat the Texans in the AFC Divisional playoff game last winter, 51-31. As we know, Kansas City – 12-4 straight up, 10-5-1 against the spread during the 2019 regular season – proceeded to rally back time and time again to win Super Bowl 54, while Houston – 10-6 SU and 7-8-1 ATS – spent much of the past offseason retooling their roster.
|Week 1: Houston Texans vs Kansas City Chiefs Game Info|
|Date: September 10, 2020, 8:20 p.m. ET|
|Stadium: Arrowhead Stadium|
|TV Coverage: NBC|
|Opening Odds: Chiefs -10 | O/U 54.5|
|How to Bet: Best Online Sportsbook Reviews|
Kansas City opened as a 10-point home favorite, but has since ticked down to Chiefs -9.5. The Texans moneyline opened at +375, but now ranges anywhere between +335 to +380. The point total opened at 54.5 before a slight dip to 53.5 / 54 at most books. The TOTAL has gone over in four of the past six Chiefs-Texans matchups.
Kansas City is 7-0 against the spread in their last seven home games, while Houston is just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Thursday night contests.
Andy Reid is 6-1 straight up through his first seven opening week games as head coach of the Chiefs.
Houston Texans News and Notes
Deshaun Watson just inked a four-year, $160-million contract extension, but the lofty price tag for his services are also quasi-linked to the Texans’ 2020 overhaul of the offense. Gone is Watson’s favorite target, DeAndre Hopkins, traded to the Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson. Once an elite fantasy football stud, Johnson has been hobbled by injuries and inefficiencies the past few seasons. The 28-year-old tailback was held to fewer than 3.8 yards per carry the past two seasons and ranked outside the top 40 running backs in YPC last year. While Houston’s offensive line was upgraded prior to the start of the 2019 season, it still struggles run blocking and ranked fifth-worst according to Pro Football Focus’ rating system. Makes you wonder why head coach Bill O’Brien pulled the trigger on the Hopkins-for-Johnson trade, right?
Though Watson lost D-Hop, he gained the speedy Brandin Cooks, formerly of the Rams and a guy who averaged 1,149 receiving yards per season 2015-2018, and veteran slot target Randall Cobb, who posted nearly 900 receiving yards for the Cowboys last season. So, the receiving cupboard isn’t completely bare, but may come down to if Will Fuller V can remain on the field. After missing nine games during the 2018 season, the talented receiver missed five more last year. If you extrapolate out his 2019 averages in those 11 games, he’d rack up nearly 1,000 receiving yards in a 16-game campaign.
From the “isn’t that profound” department, the Texans secondary failed to contain the Chiefs pass attack during that AFC playoff game and it doesn’t appear offseason acquisitions necessarily upgraded the unit. Houston allowed the ninth-most pass yards per attempt last year and will be the Achilles’ heel in the Texans attempt to earn the upset at Arrowhead.
On the injury front, Phillip Gaines is questionable with a ankle and defensive end Jonathan Greenard questionable with a hamstring injury.
Kansas City Chiefs News and Notes
The Chiefs return 20 of 22 starters this season. Kansas City didn’t rebuild, just reloaded.
One caveat to that previous statement is running back Damien Williams. Last year’s starter elected to opt-out of the 2020 season due to pandemic-related, player-safety concerns. So, first-round rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire will earn the lion’s share of the carries against the Texans this Thursday. Edwards-Helaire made a name for himself as a integral part of the LSU Tigers’ National Championship squad. His ability to catch out of the backfield only fortifies his odds of remaining a three-down back this season.
It’s Week 1 and we’re fresh out of superlatives to describe a Chiefs passing game that returns Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins. Mahomes is the odds favorite to win not only Offensive Player of the Year, but also Most Valuable Player. Meanwhile, Kelce is among the favorites to lead the league in receiving touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski was the last tight end to lead the league in that category back in 2011.
As is the case with the Texans, Kansas City’s secondary, at times, features sieve-like qualities. When the expected touchdown track meet starts, Kansas City’s defense will need to hold Watson’s bevvy of receivers in check to allow pass-rushers Chris Jones and Frank Clark time to work.
Betting Pick: Chiefs -9.5
We don’t know, what we don’t know and thanks to pandemic-related limitations, i.e. no preseason games, limited access and analysis, Week 1 capping is as clear as mud. However, from a seek-and-destroy strategy standpoint, I like Andy Reid over Bill O’Brien in this matchup. It might be an ugly 10-point win, but the Texans secondary can’t stop Mahomes and company… again.