The 2020 NFL season officially begins this evening when the Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans in the NFL Kickoff game. The league’s 101st campaign will begin when the Chiefs raise a banner at Arrowhead Stadium to commemorate the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory and first title in fifty years. The Chiefs claimed the Lombardi Trophy in thrilling fashion, outlasting the San Francisco 49ers in a back-and-forth battle back in February, which ended up being the last time fans were able to witness two pro football teams take the field against one another due to the cancellation of the preseason. Fans have been itching for the NFL’s return since then and that patience will finally pay off with Week 1 starting up in just a few hours.
The Chiefs and Texans have met rather frequently in recent years, including splitting a pair of matchups last year. Houston won the first of those meetings after the club went into Arrowhead as 3.5-point underdogs and came out with a 31-24 victory thanks to an impressive performance from quarterback Deshaun Watson. The signal-caller threw for 280 yards and a touchdown and punched in two more scores on the ground to guide his side to a “W”. The Chiefs would get their revenge during the Divisional round of the AFC playoffs, however, roaring back from an early 24-0 deficit to ultimately win 51-31 and advance to the conference championship. Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was brilliant in that must-win matchup, connecting on 23-of-35 passes for 321 yards and a whopping five touchdowns while avoiding any turnovers. These organizations have met a total of 12 times since Houston came into the league back in 2002, with 10 of those occurrences taking place in the regular season and two in the playoffs. The all-time regular season series is tied at five games apiece, while the Chiefs hold a 2-0 advantage during postseason play. This rivalry—which has heated up since Mahomes and Watson both came into the league in 2017, stars who already rate as two of the best quarterbacks the league has to offer—will be renewed to start the 2020 NFL season, but oddsmakers aren’t expecting the Week 1 opener to have a competitive final score.
Kansas City opened as 10-point favorites for the NFL Kickoff game, although the line has dropped to nine at most sportsbooks as of Thursday morning. The public is largely on the Chiefs as they begin their title defense, evidenced by 59% of all bets and 63% of the money wagered against the spread on the home side. It’s hard to blame them, as the Chiefs are riding an NFL-best nine-game winning streak both straight-up and ATS into the 2020 NFL season, a stretch that began in November of last year and includes their three postseason victories that earned the franchise its first Super Bowl title since 1969. Sharps are on the Texans with the points even though they did not finish the 2019 campaign on a high note, losing two of their last three games both SU and ATS. They do have a history of playing this Week 1 opponent well, winning and covering in two of the last four meetings. These foes also tend to engage in higher-scoring affairs, with the total going over in each of the last three clashes. The over/under for the 2020 NFL Kickoff game is set at 54 points—the highest on the board in Week 1—a line that has bettors split. Oddsmakers opened the total at 55.5 points, but have steadily dropped it down in the days leading up to the start of the 2020 NFL season. Books have done so despite tickets the over generating more tickets—61% of all total bets are on that side—because the sharp money is overwhelmingly supporting the under. Right now, 58% of the handle is on the under, which helps to explains the line movement on this matchup.
Anyone seeking advice on how to bet on the season-opener should check out the against the spread predictions that pro handicapper Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com has sent along. The Vegas expert already provided his take on some of Sunday’s marquee matchups and has another can’t-miss pick in store for tonight’s primetime contest. You can find his projections at the end of this article, but first take a peek at the full schedule, start times, viewing guide and odds for every Week 1 game. There’s also notable betting trends, intriguing tweets, quotes from key players and more to get you prepared for Thursday night’s Chiefs vs. Texans matchup to open the 2020 NFL season.
NFL Week 1 Schedule And Odds
Matchup, Start Time ET, Network (Spread, Total)
Thursday, September 10
- Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:20 p.m., NBC (KC -9, 54)
Sunday, September 13
- Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots, 1 p.m., CBS
VIAC(NE -6.5, 43)
- Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. CBS (BAL -8, 48.5)
- New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. CBS (BUF -6.5, 39.5)
- Las Vegas Raiders at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. CBS (LV -2.5, 47.5)
- Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. FOX (SEA -1.5, 49)
- Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team, 1 p.m., FOX (PHI -6, 43)
- Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. FOX (DET -3, 44)
- Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m., CBS (IND -7.5, 45)
- Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., FOX (MIN -2.5, 46)
- Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals, 4:05 p.m. CBS (LAC -3.5, 44)
- Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m. FOX (SF -7, 47)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m. FOX (NO -3.5, 49.5)
- Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m., NBC (DAL -2.5, 51.5)
Monday, September 14
- Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants, 7:15 p.m., ESPN (PIT -4, 47.5)
- Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos, 10:10 p.m., ESPN (DEN -1.5, 41)
Thursday’s 2020 NFL Kickoff game will be live streamed via NBC Sports. Sunday Night Football will also be streaming via NBC Sports, while the Monday Night Football doubleheader will be streamed on WatchESPN. Out-of-market football games during the 2020 NFL season can be live streamed via purchase of NFL Game Pass.
Chiefs Vs. Texans Week 1 Betting Trends
- The Chiefs finished the 2019 regular season with a 10-5-1 ATS record, the second-best cover percentage (66.7%) in the NFL. The Texans were in the bottom half of the league after going 7-8-1 ATS (46.7% cover rate) over the same span.
- Kansas City went 3-0 SU and ATS during its Super Bowl run in the 2020 NFL Playoffs, while Houston won and covered in the Wild Card before falling to the Chiefs and failing to beat the number in the Divisional round.
- Both squads were pretty much even in terms of where their games landed on the total, with the Chiefs splitting their regular season over/unders at eight games apiece and the Texans having a slight edge towards the under with nine games going below the total compared to seven that went above.
- The average total for a game involving Kansas City in 2019 was 47.4 points (6.6 below tonight’s total). Houston contests averaged 47.7 points (6.3 fewer than the Week 1 over/under).
- Over the last 20 seasons, teams favored by nine or more points in Week 1—such as the Chiefs in the 2020 NFL Kickoff game—are 24-5 SU but only 9-20 ATS.
- Super Bowl champions are 13-6-1 ATS in their first game of the following season. Teams getting a chance for revenge against the opponent that knocked them out of the playoffs are 9-5 SU and ATS in rematches the next year.
Chiefs Vs. Texans Tweets:
Patrick Everson reported that sharp bettors have been playing the Texans and the under for this Week 1 matchup, but the books will be rooting for a Houston cover tonight due to heavy public interest on the Chiefs:
Nick Jacobs tweeted out the full injury report for both sides involved in the 2020 NFL season opener:
Tom Pelissero gave more insight into the status of Texans wideout Brandin Cooks, a player the organization acquired via trade in the offseason to help fill the void left by dealing star receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals:
Aaron Wilson relayed a quote from Texans head coach Bill O’Brien on the hype surrounding star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, who will be dueling for the third time in less than a year to start off the 2020 NFL season:
Adam Schefter pointed out that Mahomes and Watson combined to sign $633 million in contract extensions this offseason:
Adam Teicher posted Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s humorous response to a question about how he plans to take advantage of finally having a Super Bowl ring:
Chiefs Vs. Texans Quotes:
Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes was extremely complimentary of his Week 1 opponent and quarterback counterpart in Houston, saying the following about Deshaun Watson (via HoustonTexans.com):
“Deshaun and the Texans are a great football team. There’s a lot of great talent around him and he makes a lot of big plays in big games. I think I said something to him last year at the end of the game, that we’re going to have these battles for a long time. We’re two opponents in the same conference in the AFC, so I’m sure I’ll see a lot of games against him”
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt spoke about what his organization needs to do in order to finally get over the hump and reach the AFC Championship this year after falling short despite four playoff appearances over the last five seasons (via HoustonTexans.com):
“Scoring more points than the teams we face. I mean, there’s many things. We talked about it in our last session. We’ve got to be better in the redzone on defense. We want to get off the field on third down. We want to maximize our takeaway opportunities and give the ball back to the offense and let Deshaun (Watson) and those guys do what they do on that side of the ball. From our perspective, that’s what it comes down to. It comes down to stopping the run in the early downs, putting them in tough situations on third down and getting off the field. Then when they do get down there in the redzone, holding them to field goal opportunities or taking the ball away. Really, when you break it down, that’s what it comes down to.”
Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu believes that the Texans still boast a great receiving corps despite the departure of DeAndre Hopkins, pointing out that they added a crafty veteran with the free agency acquisition of Randall Cobb back in April (via HoustonTexans.com):
“They’re still a talented group. I think with or without DeAndre, I think they have the ability to wreck a football game. There’s still a lot of speed out there. They removed Hop but they brought in (Randall) Cobb, who is a veteran, who I’m sure is going to possess some of the same traits DeAndre possessed. Hop was able to come to the line and tell his receivers if it was Cover 2, man-to-man, or Cover 4, it kind of helped the other receivers play fast. They’re still a dominant group. I think it’s going to be a tough challenge for us”
Houston head coach Bill O’Brien said that his practice routine hasn’t changed despite relinquishing play-calling duties for the 2020 season (via USA Today):
“I wouldn’t say that practice is too much different because even last year [offensive coordinator] Tim Kelly would relay the play in to Deshaun (Watson) quite a bit. So Deshaun is very used to hearing Tim’s voice in the helmet. Relative to my role, it’s really the same. Maybe I can spend a little bit more time watching the defense and watching them, especially early in practice and things like that. So maybe that’s a little bit different. But overall, I don’t think it’s too much of a different role for me, relative to practice.”
Kansas City head coach Andy Reid said that the coronavirus pandemic limited the amount of celebrating his team could do after winning a championship and doesn’t think there will be any Super Bowl hangover going into the 2020 NFL season (via CBS Sports):
“This is a weird one because of the pandemic. Nobody got to go out. You always worry about guys celebrating and coaches celebrating and all this, well there wasn’t a whole lot of celebrating going on because we were confined to our homes. The thing I can go off of now is just the way the guys have worked and they’ve worked their tail off. I’m proud of them for that. They came back with a great attitude. I think everybody – probably around the league this is true, but everybody is just so glad to get back playing. There’s a great energy.
Chiefs vs. Texans NFL Kickoff Pro Predictions
Pick: Texans +9
Prediction: Chiefs 28 – Texans 24