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How Travis Kelce injury impacts betting line for Lions-Chiefs opener

Updated September 7, 2023 - 4:20 pm

The knee injury to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has impacted the odds for the NFL season opener Thursday.

Host Kansas City is a consensus 4-point favorite over the Detroit Lions at Las Vegas sportsbooks after opening from a 6½- to 7-point favorite.

The Lions are +175 on the money line at the Westgate SuperBook and +173 at Circa Sports.

The total settled at 52½ at Circa and the SuperBook, while Station Casinos was at 53 and Caesars Sportsbook had 53½ an hour before kickoff. It is the highest total on the board for Week 1.

“Kelce’s injury probably affected (the line) about 1½ to 2 points,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said Thursday. “Money started showing on the Lions when we were at 6½, and we went to 6. When the Kelce news broke — and don’t forget the Chris Jones (holdout), too — we went to 5 and then 4½.

“The money is all on the ’dog so far. I think it will even out come game time. You never have to go begging for Kansas City money. There is Kansas City money around. I think we’ll probably be back to 5 for the game eventually, but not yet.”

Kelce was listed an inactive after he was hurt in practice Tuesday and will miss his first game because of injury since he was a rookie in 2013. Last season, Kelce set career highs with 110 receptions and 12 touchdowns while helping the Chiefs win their second Super Bowl in four seasons.

Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito reported ticket counts are nearly 2-to-1 in favor of the Chiefs, who are the consensus favorite at sportsbooks to win their second straight championship.

“We’re still seeing Chiefs money show, although the line has dropped,” Esposito said before Kelce’s status was announced. “The general public is still backing the Chiefs. … At this point we will still be Lions fans tonight.”

BetMGM reported that 61 percent of the spread tickets were written on Kansas City, while bettors have pounded the Lions money line, with 75 percent of bets and 61 percent of the handle on Detroit.

Detroit rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs has seen his receiving yards prop at BetMGM bet up to 32½ yards after opening at 25½ yards, with 99 percent of the handle on the over.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on X.

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Las Vegas handicapper Bruce Marshall is an analyst at VegasInsider.com. Each week, he provides the Review-Journal with NFL tech notes and trends.