After months of uncertainty, the 2020-21 NFL season is finally here.
The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will kick off the new year against the Houston Texans on Thursday night, and the betting public couldn’t be more excited. The Chiefs are a hefty 9.5-point favorite in the season opener, but the Texans enter the game as an enticing underdog. There’s also a wild betting trend that screams Houston on Thursday night.
The Chiefs and Texans kick off the 2020-21 NFL season
The defending Super Bowl champs start their road to repeat Thursday night against the Texans. The game is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET, and it will air on NBC.
The last time these two teams faced off was in the AFC Divisional Round last season. The Texans jumped out to a 24-0 lead, but Patrick Mahomes and company stormed back to eventually crush Houston 51-31.
This matchup will be much different for a variety of reasons. For one, Arrowhead Stadium won’t be its normal, ground-shaking self Thursday night. The typically raucous environment will be limited to 22% capacity Thursday, so only 16,000 fans will be admitted into the stadium.
On the field, the new-look Texans will try to shake off a busy offseason to avenge their playoff loss from last year. DeAndre Hopkins and Carlos Hyde are gone, and former Pro Bowler David Johnson joins the fold as the starting running back.
The Chiefs also have a new face on offense in rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has massive expectations entering year one.
The Chiefs are a 9.5-point favorite against the Texans
The Chiefs beat the Texans by 20 points in last year’s playoffs, and they start the rematch as 9.5-point favorites in the highly anticipated week 1 matchup. The over/under currently sits at 53.5.
After a 51-31 final from last season, the Chiefs and the over might seem like the obvious play. Mahomes will be running and gunning to start the year after signing his massive contract extension.
However, when wagering on early NFL games, it’s wise to look at past trends and attack them. In this matchup, there’s a trend that’s been wildly profitable over the last 25 years, but it involves fading the reigning champs.
The betting trend that screams to take the Texans Thursday night
No one’s going to be running to the window to bet the Texans Thursday night. After all, they gave up 51 points to the same Chiefs team a few months ago, and they’ve lost some firepower on offense since their last matchup.
However, you might change your mind after hearing about the crazy trend involving huge NFL underdogs in week 1.
Since 1995, underdogs of eight or more points have covered the spread 71.7% of the time. In the last 10 years, those underdogs are 14-4 against the spread.
It usually takes every team a week or two to start clicking, so week 1 in the NFL is mostly a toss-up. Yes, the Chiefs return most of their starters and are still the most dominant team in the NFL. And yes, most bettors will be taking the Chiefs Thursday night.
But that creates some value on the Texans. Watson is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and 9.5 points is a ton in week 1. Do you trust the Texans to continue the trend of big underdogs covering to start the season?