2020 NFL season kicks off with a weirdie: Chiefs-Texans on TNF is one serious outlier

Thursday, 10 September 2020 14:10 EST

NFLbets isn’t quite sure how to factor Covid into the crapshoot that is already week 1 of any football season, but we realize the sportsbook beckons and so we offer some advice beginning with that kickoff game, namely

Houston Texans +9½ at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 54 points
Betting Kansas City -9.5 vs HoustonIf you’re thinking that those lines are gaudy, you’re spot on. Since 2010, Texans-Chiefs is only the 19th opening-day game to kick off (presumably) with a spread of 8 points or more and is just the 3rd with an over/under of 54 or more. Like most prescient NFL bettors, sportsbooks usually play week 1 conservatively, but clearly scoreboard-spinning is expected from the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs all season long.

And here come the gaudy numbers. In the 18 previous NFL games since 2010 kicking off with at least an 8-point spread, the favorite is an unsurprising 14-4 SU, but the underdog is 13-5 ATS! Note, too, that a favorite of 8 or more points in week 1 hasn’t won and covered since 2014.

Even wackier are the results of the big over/under games. In the three aforementioned games of 54-point over/unders, the under is 2-0-1. Hey, don’t blame us for small sample size: The only week 1 NFL game with this high an over/under prior to 2013 was a Marino Dolphins vs Fouts Chargers game back in 1986. (Final score: San Diego 50, Miami 28.)

In case you’re wondering about Venn diagramming, no worries: Never has a week 1 game gone off with a 8-point spread and over/under of at least 54 points.

So, yeah. The odds offered on this game are an outlier. But (adopts Al Pacino demeanor) Patrick Mahomes is an outlier! This Kansas City Chiefs offense is an outlier! This whole fucking season is an outlier!

Therefore, we’re going to split the difference: <strong>Take the Kansas City Chiefs -9½ vs Houston</strong> and <strong>take the under on an O/U of 54 points</strong>.

The thinking, such as can be done for a week 1 game, goes something like the following. With highly imbalanced tendencies, e.g. the 8-point favorite going 14-4 SU/5-13 ATS on opening day, the bettor can apply one of two schools of thought: The numbers give a glimpse into modern-day football and thus the trend will continue, or the imbalance is not sustainable in the long run and will begin to approach a 50/50 ratio.

We’re taking the latter tack because, well, the Chiefs offense is explosive and deadly from nearly any formation anywhere on the field. The coaching staff is utterly unchanged from last season’s Super Bowl staff, and, of course, this is 2020. We’re thinking offenses are going to start this season well ahead of the defense in terms of readiness. Which offense do you like more in that situation? We’re thinking that even if no offense manages to go over 20, the Chiefs might still be good for 35.

As for the Texans, let’s put it this way: Do you trust this new-old offense to get, likesay, three TDs? With another medicore OL? In week 1? In 2020? That’s why you’re taking the under.

–written by Os Davis