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The first Thursday Night Football game of the 2023 NFL season will take place between the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions. In that game, there are storylines galore, along with plenty of prop betting options to benefit from. Here, we look at our top-three Chiefs vs Lions prop picks for Thursday’s kickoff game in Kansas City.
First up, we will take a flyer on Noah Gray to score a touchdown for the Kansas City Chiefs in this contest. Gray should see more action than usual in this game, given that Travis Kelce is in doubt to even play in the contest due to a knee injury sustained in practice this week. With Gray getting more snaps, look for the Chiefs to utilize him in the red zone as he will not be expected to do much.
If Kelce doesn’t play, the entire passing offense for the Chiefs changes in a dramatic way. They have really put their eggs into the Travis Kelce basket, so to speak, as their receiving corps is not nearly as dangerous as it used to be. Because of that, the tight end position will be prioritized no matter who is on the field for Week 1.
Kansas City also has a creative play caller to help get the ball to Gray in a situation where he has to step up and fill in. Andy Reid is so good at using misdirection and creative passing plays to get his players open. If Gray does see significant action here, look for Reid to find a way to get him some easy catches that could result in six points.
Next, we will bet on the first possession of this game to be a punt at plus money. This is the first game of the regular season, and both of these teams will be knocking some of the rust off in live game action for the first time this year. Look for them to do so with some unsuccessful early drives and for the first drive to result in a punter sending the ball away to the other team after a failed third down conversion.
This is another prop market where the loss of Travis Kelce could be huge if the Chiefs get the ball first. Patrick Mahomes is so good at finding Kelce, who is a matchup nightmare, in big third down situations. Without Kelce to have to defend, the Lions will be better equipped to get a stop on third down and to force the Chiefs into a punting situation if they end up getting the football first.
Meanwhile, the Lions have their own adjustments that need to be made in this game early on. They have an entirely new running back corps to work with this season, with D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams going to new franchises this season. They will be relying heavily on a rookie running back in Jahmyr Gibbs, and their first offensive possession could be ugly as well.
Finally, we will bet on the prop market that asks which half of football will be the highest scoring. Our selection is the second half, which comes in at a plus price of +110. This game should feature a relatively slow start, but it should open up as both teams get more comfortable offensively as things wear on.
Specifically, it should be the ability of the Chiefs to problem-solve and generate offense without Kelce that should improve as this game moves forward. Look for Reid and Mahomes to identify weak points in the Detroit defense as this game progresses, and for them to take advantage of those weak points in the third and fourth quarters of play. Additionally, look for the red zone execution to improve as this game wears on and defenses start to get a little worn out.
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Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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