Thursday Night Football Preview & Player Props: Texans at Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans
Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans (photo credit: USA TODAY Sports)

The NFL season kicks off on Thursday night, as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans in the first game of the season. In this article, we’ll break down the matchup from an NFL betting perspective and provide a few free picks for the game.

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-9)

Thursday, September 10, 2020, at 8:20 p.m. ET
Arrowhead Stadium
Kansas City, MO

An NFL season like no other we’ve seen before is here, as the Houston Texans kick things off by traveling to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in what is a playoff rematch from last season. In that wild playoff game, the Texans jumped out to a 24-0 lead, only to see Patrick Mahomes and the KC offense roar back, taking the lead by halftime and winning in blowout fashion, 51-31. It will be interesting to see how this game plays out, given the drastic changes coming, which gets us to our first point.

No Fans in the Stands

The biggest question by far coming into the season is how the lack of crowds will affect home-field advantage. There may not be a better place to test this than at Arrowhead Stadium in an opening-week primetime game. Normally, sportsbooks view home-field advantage as a 2.5- or 3-point edge, but that rule of thumb will likely change this season.

Both quarterbacks, Mahomes for the Chiefs and Deshaun Watson for the Texans, are coming off fresh, big-money extensions this summer, so it will be interesting to see how their gameplay is affected, if at all, and if they come out of the gate making every dollar worth it.

Life After DeAndre Hopkins

There is little doubt what the most notable, and talked about, offseason transaction was. It was the surprise trade of former All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was sent from the Texans to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson and two draft picks. One of those picks was spent on DT Ross Blacklock, who should slot into Houston’s starting defensive line.

Even if Blacklock has a great rookie campaign, all eyes will be on Johnson, who was benched in the middle of last season for the Cardinals and rarely looked to after. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien needs Johnson to work in order to save face, so expect him to get his new weapon involved early and often.

Point Spread Pick: Chiefs (-9)

On the point spread, the Chiefs are 9-point favorites over the Texans. All signs are pointing at the Chiefs once again being the class of the NFL this season. After winning the Super Bowl last season, they are returning 20 of the 22 players who started in Super Bowl 54 against the San Francisco 49ers, including nearly all of the skill-position players. Running back Damien Williams did opt-out for the season though.

On the other side, we have already discussed how the Texans went through a good amount of change, especially on the offensive side of the ball. It doesn’t seem likely that the Texans will hang blow-for-blow with this Chiefs team, though the lack of fans is likely to cut down on the mistakes for the Texans, at least on the offensive side of the ball.

To make free player prop picks, check out the SharpSide sports betting app, available now for iOS and Android.

Travis Kelce Player Prop: Over 5.5 catches

Travis Kelce had a career year last season, and perhaps his best game came in this very matchup, facing the Texans, when he caught 10 balls for 134 yards and 3 touchdowns. While we certainly don’t expect a similar line in this one, Kelce should be able to feast in the middle of the field.

The Texans are strong up front and solid in the secondary, but the linebacking core is the team’s weak point. Kelce should find plenty of space in the middle, which is why we like the player prop for over 5.5 catches more than the player prop for over 70.5 yards, though that looks tempting.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire Player Prop: Over 20.5 receiving yards

This play is a bit risky considering that Clyde Edwards-Helaire has yet to step onto a professional football field. However, if even part of the hype around this combination of player and system is true, then there should be no problem for Edwards-Helaire to hit the over on receiving yards for this player prop.

Edwards-Helaire hit the over on this number in his last eight games at LSU last season, save for the College Football Playoff Semifinal, where he hardly took the field due to injury. Edwards-Helaire can hit this cover on any play, so take the over and enjoy.

To make free player prop picks, check out the SharpSide sports betting app, available now for iOS and Android.

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