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The NFL season kicks off Thursday with the most lopsided matchup in oddsmakers' eyes, with the Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5, 54.5) hosting the Houston Texans as the biggest favorites in Week 1. Despite the public love for the home team, sharp money has moved the line in favor of the Texans, who are looking to avenge last year's wild playoff loss.
Here are our favorite trends, props, and bets for Thursday's season opener.
It's tough enough to fade the reigning champions, but doing so in this spot is even braver. Defending Super Bowl winners are 13-6-1 ATS in Week 1 over the last 20 seasons, while Chiefs coach Andy Reid is 10-2 straight up and 8-4 against the spread in Week 1 since 2008.
Never count out a vengeful foe, though - since 2018, squads looking to avenge a playoff loss from the season before are 9-5 ATS in the rematch with nine outright victories. The Texans are 8-5-1 ATS in their last 14 games against teams that beat them in their previous meeting.
This is also a classic spot to fade the big favorite. Since 2000, teams favored by nine or more points in Week 1 are 24-5 straight up but a paltry 9-20 ATS. The under is 18-11 in that span.
Speaking of the under, bettors have moved the total from an opening 55.5 to 54.5, and the trends support it. Under Reid, the Chiefs are 18-6-1 to the under when giving at least a touchdown at home, including 5-2-1 in that spot when the total is at least 49.
And in those 14 playoff revenge spots mentioned before? The under is 10-4, an average of 5.71 points below the total.
Will Fuller over 60.5 receiving yards
Fuller is among the most dangerous receivers in the league when he's on the field. Since the start of 2018, he's tallied at least 61 receiving yards in eight of his 16 regular-season games with at least 20 snaps played, averaging 72.3 yards in that span. He also torched Kansas City for 89 yards in last year's postseason contest.
He could threaten for 100-plus yards against a Chiefs secondary particularly vulnerable over the top. As the best remaining weapon from a year ago, expect Fuller to see plenty of volume from quarterback Deshaun Watson under the lights.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire under 12.5 rushing attempts
The Chiefs' new running back has the profile of a future star in this system, but that doesn't mean Kansas City will run him into the ground in Week 1.
In 2019, Damien Williams was the only running back to register more than 12 carries in a game, and he only did it three times during the regular season. The Texans' defense is also weaker through the air, where the Chiefs have the clearest advantage to exploit. Edwards-Helaire will get his chances on Thursday, but don't label him a workhorse just yet.
The Texans faced the Chiefs twice in 2019. The first time, they fell behind but pounded the rock for a comeback win. The second time they struck early, only to leave way too much time for a devastating collapse.
Don't expect Houston to turn this into a track meet after how they ended that last meeting. Kansas City's defense is especially thin up front, so the Texans' new-look rushing attack should get plenty of work, leaving little hope on a sky-high number for over bettors.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.