The Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs will kick off the NFL football season on Thursday and the opening betting line for their contest has seen only minimal movement as the two teams prepare for this matchup.
It’s often said only one team is happy at the end of an NFL season, and in 2022, that team was the Chiefs, who took home a Super Bowl victory. As has become a tradition over the last 20 years, the NFL has scheduled the champions to host the opening game of the season. And per usual, they open the game as the heavy favorites—when the schedule was released in May, the Chiefs were a full touchdown favorite over the Lions.
While the Lions ended their 2022 season falling a half-game short of the playoffs, it’s easy to argue that they also entered the offseason as a “happy team” after winning eight of their last 10 games and beating the Green Bay Packers in the finale, keeping their rivals out of the playoffs. The Lions have gotten better this offseason and most believe they’ve built a true contender, capable of competing with anyone in the NFL.
“We look forward to this challenge of playing the Lions,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in his Sunday press conference. “We know they’re a heck of a football team. Obviously, they finished strong last year. (Lions coach) Dan (Campbell) has done a great job with that group the last couple years. He’s got a couple good coordinators, good players, so, our guys know that and we’re going to have to prepare ourselves for a heck of a football team.”
As of Monday, the folks over at DraftKings have only slightly adjusted the game line, with the Lions now +6.5 points.
Despite all the offseason hype the Lions have gotten, it’s no surprise the Chiefs are heavy favorites. They’re the defending champions and appear to be headed toward dynasty status—they’ve been in three of the last four Super Bowls, winning two. Additionally, Reid is 8-0 in his last eight season openers with the Chiefs, with an average margin of victory of 12.4 points in each of these games.
Still, the Lions believe they’ve built a roster capable of overcoming the odds and will give the defending champs all they can handle.
“Obviously, a big challenge with this team,” Campbell said on Friday. “Coach Reid, I’ve got a ton of respect for. He’s been one of the most consistent winning coaches in this league for a very long time, and really all that he has on that staff, not to mention the players that they have over there. They have a number of guys that present challenges for us. Certainly, it starts with their quarterback (Patrick Mahomes). I think this halfback’s (Isiah Pacheco’s) pretty good, (Travis) Kelce we know about. I think this offensive line has improved and then defensively, man, this is a fast defense and I think (Nick Bolton’s) a bell cow over there at linebacker. But man, we’re excited. Can’t wait to get this one going.”