We're just a week away from the opening of the NFL season, which means the sharps are officially coming out to play. Their first big move? Betting the Texans side of the opening night line against the Chiefs.
Until Tuesday, the opening night spread had been Chiefs +10. Then a sudden surge of money bet on Houston drove the line down to +8.5 at DraftKings. It also took a cut to +9.5 at FanDuel, per Action Network.
The real question is why the sharps are suddenly backing Houston? The reason may have as much to do with history as it does with the opening night matchup. A quick perusal of past openers shows that only the Packers in 2011, Seahawks in 2014 and 2018 Eagles covered their subsequent season opener against the Falcons, and that Eagles cover only came as a result of a narrow 1.5-point spread (the Eagles won the game 18-12). Within the last 10 years, that's a 3-6 record for the favorites against the spread, which is hardly encouraging for Chiefs fans (the 2019 game between the Bears and Packers doesn't count because neither was the defending champ).
There's plenty of reason to believe the Texans can give the Chiefs enough trouble to stay within that 10-point bracket. Like the Chiefs, the Texans were a top-10 squad in the 2019 Intelligence Index. If the Texans can show enough improvement in the defensive passing game to avoid being skinned alive by Patrick Mahomes despite preparing without any preseason competition, there's every reason to believe the opener will be competitive. After all, the Texans were within striking distance of the Chiefs in virtually every Quality Stat category in 2019, and even led in one key offensive metric.
None of which is to say that the Chiefs are sudden underdogs. It's just that being favorites by a full 10 points is asking an awful lot of a team on opening night, celebrating a title after a preseason devoid of any action against other opponents. The sharps waited until less than 10 days before kickoff, but they finally made clear they saw that, too.