Kansas City ride the momentum of a stellar preseason to Houston where they hope to continue their solid form at the expense of the Texans. Can they spring the surprise in week 1 NFL betting?
Chiefs at the Slight Disadvantage
Of all the matchups in week 1 NFL betting, this one has to be one of the toughest to handicap. Fittingly, bookies roll out a rather tight NFL betting line with the Chiefs currently trading as the 1-point underdogs, all while matched at -105 NFL odds to win straight up and the totals are set to 40.5-points. Earlier in the week, the line opened at 1.5-points while the totals, which opened at 43-points have bounced around significantly (depending on where you shop) from an opening 43-points to a low of 40.5-points.
Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up a solid preseason going 4-0 SU and ATS and finished atop the AFC West pile. They outscored opponents 106-59 for a positive 47-point differential. The second highest differential after the free-scoring Philadelphia Eagles (56-points) and they did it at the expense of the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams.
In spite of their positive accounting, odds makers send the Chiefs into week 1 NFL betting as the underdogs, albeit notionally so. This isn’t as much a slight to the Chiefs as it is a recognition of the Texans and their glaring strengths in this game: home advantage and a stout defense.
Home advantage is going to be key for the Texans against the Chiefs and underscores their slight favoritism for this game as the -115 favorites to win straight up. On the other hand, their stout defense is matched up with the Chiefs’ solid defense, which was the second best scoring defense last season with a 17.2 ppg average. Indeed, many NFL bettors are confident these two opposing defences will figure somewhere in the Top 5 this season. It’s also probably why this game is trading on such a marginal point spread too.
Texans Slight Edge
The bookies are giving the Texans the slight edge in this game but a measly point spread is hardly a ringing endorsement. Something is going to have to give, obviously, NFL bettors in the know are well aware of how good J.J. Watt and the Texans defense can be. So money is riding on the offensive side of the ball in both camps giving
The Texans have made some big changes at quarterback, bringing in Cleveland Browns’ castoff Brian Hoyer. How he holds up in this game is going to be deciding.
Hoyer enjoyed a solid enough account for the Browns last season, but the organisation gave up on him down the stretch in order to make way for Johnny Manziel. That decision must have been crushing to the confidence, if not a bit of a slight – even though he seemed to take it in his stride. It denied him the chance to truly prove himself at a time when it matters most for starters: at the tail end of a season where the premium on the win is the biggest and can make the difference between a winning or losing season.
Hoyer is yet to really prove himself with any of the five teams he’s played for in the last seven years. He won the starting role over Ryan Mallet in Houston, but NFL bettors can bet there is a short expiry time on it. Hoyer is going to be without Arian Foster in week 1. The running back, who had a monster season with 1,246 yards and 8 touchdowns in 13 games, is out with injury. He will have DeAndre Hopkins and rookie Jaelen Strong.
Last season, the Chiefs went the entire 16-game slate without a wide receiver scoring a touchdown. Shocking! Alex Smith is sure to throw the ball down the field more often this season. Why else bring in talent such as Jeremy Maclin?
In fact, we were treated to some of that during the preseason game with the Tennessee Titans, in which the pair connected seven times for 65 yards and a touchdown. Still, the Chiefs were the most sacked team last season (seventh worst with 49 sacks allowed). Of all their issues, that has to be one of the biggest concerns going into the 2015-2016 NFL season. If J.J. Watt and the Texans’ defense get to have their way on the field, things could get painful for Alex Smith
NFL Betting Verdict
As mentioned above, the betting on this game is a tossup. There’s value on both sides of the coin as far as winning straight up is concerned. As well, it could go either way against the spread considering the question marks on offense combined with the quality of the defenses in question. Heck, even the NFL betting public seems divided.
When the line was trading at 1.5-points earlier in the week, we leaned towards the Chiefs on our NFL picks. Now that the line has dropped by half a point, the value seems to be shifting over to the Texans. But it’s likely to continue moving yet, all the way up to game time at the weekend, making it a spread that NFL bettors should probably wait on before betting. As a result, our value NFL pick at this time is to take the OVER the 40.5-points
NFL Picks: OVER 40.5 points at Bet365