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Week 1 Betting: Early Lions' Interest Wanes as Bettors Back Chiefs

Through the first month NFL Week 1 betting was available at the BetMGM online sportsbook, bettors loved the Detroit Lions' chances of winning a Week 1 game for the first time since 2017.

But over the last two and a half months, the interest has flipped toward the Kansas City Chiefs winning a ninth straight Week 1 game.

On May 12, the Chiefs opened as a -300 moneyline favorite — and a 7-point spread favorite — for the NFL Kickoff Game. Bettors had little interest in that price for the defending Super Bowl champions

The E Tunnel prior to the game between The Kansas City Chiefs and The Houston Texans in the Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 12, 2019.

Four weeks into Week 1 betting, the Lions owned 86% of the moneyline handle on 95% of the moneyline tickets. Despite the immediate one-sided betting, the numbers didn't move; the Lions were dominating interest as the +240 underdog.

The public was betting on the Lions' first Week 1 win since Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate torched the Arizona Cardinals in a 12-point home win to open the 2017 season.

They were betting on the Lions' first Week 1 over a (presumably) eventual playoff team since Stoney Case's 100 passing yards were enough to beat the New Orleans Saints in the 2000 season opener. That was also the last time the Lions won a Week 1 game as a moneyline underdog of at least +200.

While most of the public's tickets are still against history — the Lions' ticket share is 84% as of Aug. 21 — the money has flipped; the Chiefs now have 63% of the moneyline handle. And while the public has been pounding the Chiefs, they've moved -275 (and the Lions to +225).

Only the New York Giants lost more percentage points (56) than the Lions (47) of its moneyline handle share from mid-June until now. The Giants — +135 at home against the Dallas Cowboys (-165) — have 33% of the handle after owning 89% just over two months ago.

The surge in Chiefs' moneyline money has pushed their game within three percentage points of the Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers for most evenly split Week 1 moneyline betting. The Falcons (-175) have 51% of the handle to 49% for the Panthers (+145).

Also of note: The Lions' spread (+6.5, down from +7) has 66% of the spread handle on 57% of the tickets, and the over (54.5, up from 53.5) has 37% of the handle on 84% of the tickets.

You can view updated Week 1 NFL odds, sportsbook promos, and more at the BetMGM online sportsbook.