Lions vs. Chiefs Predictions, Picks, Odds Today: Will Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs Win Without Travis Kelce?

How will the Chiefs perform without Travis Kelce and Chris Jones? Our team of betting experts break down the odds for Lions vs. Chiefs, give their predictions, and more.

Starting today, tell your family that you will be unavailable every Monday night, Thursday night, and Sunday for the next few months — the NFL season is officially back!

Tonight, we have the Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs to kick off the 2023 NFL regular season. The Chiefs are the favorites in this one, but they might potentially be without both Travis Kelce and Chris Jones. Without two of their best players, can Patrick Mahomes lead the Chiefs to victory against the up-and-coming Lions?

In this preview, we break down the betting odds, and PFN’s Trey Wingo, Chief Content Officer David Bearman, Director of Betting Brian Blewis, and Betting and Fantasy Analysts Kyle Soppe and Jason Katz give out their Lions vs. Chiefs predictions and picks.

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Lions vs. Chiefs Betting Lines, Start Time, and More

All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook unless stated otherwise.

  • Spread
    Chiefs -4.5
  • Moneyline
    Lions +170, Chiefs -205
  • Over/Under
    52 total points
  • Game Time
    8:20 p.m. ET
  • Location
    Arrowhead Stadium
  • How To Watch
    NBC, FuboTV

Lions vs. Chiefs Predictions

Wingo: No Chris Jones and potentially no Travis Kelce? No problem for Kansas City in my mind. The Chiefs still have the best player in the NFL at the most important position. Patrick Mahomes won the AFC Championship when JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, and Kadarius Toney all went down with injuries. I’ll take Kansas City and lay the points.

My best player prop bet on this game? Hammer the over on Mahomes’ rushing total of 17.5 yards.

Picks: Chiefs -6.5 (-110) made before the line movement, Patrick Mahomes over 17.5 rushing yards (-122 at FanDuel)

Bearman: I didn’t think I would get closing line value (CLV) in the first game of the season, but here we are. As noted weeks ago in our really early Week 1 predictions piece and again this week, I took the Lions at +7.

No, I didn’t know Kelce would get injured or that the line would move to as low as 4.5. My analysis, as written in that piece, was that the Chiefs, as good as they were as Super Bowl champs, were not a betting juggernaut, going just 6-11 ATS last year, including a terrible 2-6 at home.

Best Bet: Lions +7 (-110) made before the line movement

On the flip side, the Lions were the second-best team in the NFL last year at 12-5 ATS. Yes, new year, new teams, but we all agree that the Lions seemed to get better, and while they might not meet the expectations we’ve heard all offseason, I still think they come out and cover 7 points. As for 4.5?

If that line hits 4, I am going to take Kansas City and play for the middle, another thing I didn’t think I would be able to do in Game 1.

Picks: Lions ML (+200) using DK “Up 7” promo, Patrick Mahomes over 2.5 TD passes (+114)

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Blewis: After the Kelce news, I took Lions ML (+190) in DraftKings’ early win promo, in which your moneyline bet on either side cashes as soon as they take a 7-point lead. But besides that, I missed the value in taking Detroit.

Instead, I’m looking at player props, specifically at the Lions’ new backfield. Instead of re-signing Jamaal Williams for less money, the Lions signed David Montgomery to a three-year, $18 million contract in free agency. In today’s NFL, that’s a lot of money for a running back.

I’m going to bet on Montgomery replacing Williams and his 17 rushing touchdowns from last season as this team’s goal-line back and take his anytime TD prop at +110, especially against a run defense potentially without Jones.

For my other pick, if you buy the recent reports that Jahmyr Gibbs will be heavily involved as a pass catcher for the Lions, then his receptions prop is too enticing to pass up, especially against a Chiefs defense that surrendered the most receptions to running backs last season. Give me the over on 3.5 receptions.

Picks: Lions ML (+190) using DK “Up 7” promo, David Montgomery anytime touchdown (+110), Jahmyr Gibbs over 3.5 receptions (-130)

Soppe: There is no shortage of ways to be the season opener, including all of the same-game parlay options I already gave you, so let’s boil things down to single bets.

Kelce’s injury obviously deserves monitoring, as it impacts the odds across the board. Regardless of his status, Isiah Pacheco to find the end zone is a good bet in my eyes.

Running backs have rushed for 11 scores in Kansas City’s past 10 covers, and even if you don’t think the home team covers this number, you have a team that could be more conservative in close with their ace pass catcher either out for banged up.

As for who runs in the score, I think we can probably rule out the creative play that gets Kelce the rock in close. Jerick McKinnon is a unique player with an important role, but he has one rushing score in 30 career games with the Chiefs, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire has one game with more than 10 carries since early December of 2021.

The total for this game remains in the 50s, and Pacheco remains a tough tackle, especially for a Lions run defense that was the third-worst in both yards per carry and rushing scores allowed.

Best Bet: Isiah Pacheco anytime touchdown (+130)

As for my other pick, bankroll management is the key to surviving Week 1 and the NFL season, for that matter, so let’s get creative here using DraftKings’ “Up 7” promotion.

Let’s say you bet $25 using that promo on the Lions moneyline. You can then bet the Chiefs to win at the best price available to you, the amount being to win $25. This way, in the worst case, you break even because one of these teams will win.

But winning both is on the table, as we’ve seen the Chiefs fall behind early and win in plenty of circumstances. This isn’t retirement money, but it’s a way to inch ahead and give yourself a rare can’t-lose situation!

Picks: Lions ML (+170) using DK “Up 7” promo, Chiefs ML (-205)

Katz: Last year, the Lions lost six games in which they scored at least seven points. In those games where the Lions didn’t get shut out by an elite defense, Goff had at least 37 pass attempts in all of them. The Chiefs are not going to hold the Lions to single digits. They can score 20+ in what will likely be a losing effort. Plus, it’s not like losing is necessary for this one to hit.

Best Bet: Jared Goff over 35.5 pass attempts (-115)

There are a lot of moving pieces in this game. With Kelce out, how Mahomes will distribute the football is a complete mystery. Someone is going to smash their projected usage, but it’s anyone’s guess as to who. That has me looking at the Lions’ side of things for some value, and two things stood out to me.

Late Addition: Justin Watson over 14.5 receiving yards (-110)

We really don’t know how Dan Campbell is going to utilize his running backs. Gibbs to record 75+ rushing yards sits at +650 at DraftKings. Would it really shock anyone if he carried the ball 10 times for 80 yards? And next week, that line is something like +200?

On a similar note, Montgomery under 1.5 receptions is +154. Montgomery is a very capable receiver. However, he was brought in to be the Williams replacement. Last season, Williams had exactly three games with more than one reception, including nine games with zero.

Leans: Jahmyr Gibbs to record 75+ rushing yards (+650), David Montgomery under 1.5 receptions (+154)

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