TNF Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs Betting Preview

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
Published on:

The 2023 NFL season begins Thursday night, with the Super Bowl-champion Chiefs opposing the Detroit Lions in Kansas City. There is plenty of hype surrounding this game, with the Chiefs a 4½-point favorite (total at 52½), according to NFL odds.


Detroit is the favorite to win the NFC North this season, an unfamiliar position in Michigan. The Lions were 8-9 in 2022, missing the playoffs (narrowly) a year ago  but returning nearly the same team.

Kansas City was at full strength to begin its defense of the title, that is until tight end Travis Kelce hyperextended his knee at Tuesday’s practice. He’s doubtful to play Thursday, and after that is anyone’s guess.

Regardless, KC (14-3 in ‘22) is the overwhelming choice to win an eight consecutive division title in the AFC West. Kelce’s injury has moved the odds ahead of this game, and just about all of the numbers involving the Chiefs.

Some Dropping Odds

Kansas City opened about a touchdown favorite in this game, As was mentioned above, the number is now 4½ (over-under 52½), That’s a combination of Lion respect and, more recently, an injured Kelce.

Moneyline has the Chiefs priced at -210, Detroit at +175.

“D” in Detroit?

There’s still some issues regarding the consistency of the offense, but the Lions’ defense needs to come through as well. Aidan Hutchinson is getting respect in Defensive Player of the Year wagering, priced at 28-1 (+2800), as per NFL regular-season awards.

It will be the secondary that’s going to get tested in this game. Detroit surrendered an NFl-worst 392.4 yards/game last season.

Quarterback Jared Goff had more than 4,400 yards through the air a season ago, teaming with wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (nearly 1,200 receiving yards), among others.

Expect the Lions to go after Kansas City on both offense and defense.

Chiefs Without Kelce

There were remarkable offensive numbers in Kansas City over the past few seasons, due in large part to the connection between MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5.250 passing yards, 41 touchdowns, 12 interceptions in 2022) and tight end Travis Kelce (110 receptions, 1,338 catches, 12 touchdowns in ‘22). An injured (hyperextended) knee suffered by Kelce this past Tuesday has put a wrench into that tandem. As of this (Wednesday) writing, Kelce’s not supposed to play Thursday.

It’s no surprise that the Chiefs led the league in scoring (29.2 points/game) a season ago (Detroit finished fifth at 26.6 ppg). 

KC’s without standout defensive tackle Chris Jones, going after a new contract.

A Cowardly Lion Choice

There’s no better time to overreact than the first game of the season. While the Chiefs are a wounded team, they’re still the champs playing at home.

What to make of the Lions, favored to win a division they haven’t captured since 1993? It’s a good team that has its holes, however.

Obviously, stopping Patrick Mahomes is the key, Kansas City has so many weapons on offense, being without Kelce won’t completely stymie them. 

We were all set to take Detroit +6½ in this game. A falling line (now at 4½) gives us pause, but we’ll ride the Lions to at least cover in the opener of the 2023 season.

- Dan Shapiro,

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