Chiefs favored over Ravens in NFL season opener, but not by much

The NFL gave everyone a really good matchup for the first game of the regular season. The oddsmakers also think it'll be a good one.

The Kansas City Chiefs, as the reigning champions, will host the first game of the season on Thursday, Sept. 5. The NFL announced it will come against the Baltimore Ravens, who were the No. 1 seed in the AFC last season but lost the AFC championship game at home to the Chiefs. The rest of the NFL schedule will be announced Wednesday.

Once there's a game on the schedule, a point spread for that contest isn't too far behind. BetMGM posted a line for that first game on Monday morning, not long after Ravens at Chiefs was announced. The Chiefs will start their title defense as 3-point favorites at BetMGM against the Ravens.

The Chiefs being just a field goal favorite is surprising.

The Ravens were the better team throughout last season, but they lost in the AFC title game to Kansas City and they also didn't have a great offseason. Key free agents like linebacker Patrick Queen, edge defender Jadeveon Clowney, safety Geno Stone and guards John Simpson and Kevin Zeitler are no longer on the roster. The Ravens also lost defense coordinator Mike Macdonald, who left to become the Seattle Seahawks' head coach.

Of course, the Ravens added running back Derrick Henry and that could change the texture of the rematch against the Chiefs. In that AFC championship game loss last season, the Ravens panicked early on and abandoned the run. They had just six rushing attempts by running backs. That's unlikely to happen with Henry making his Baltimore debut.

The Ravens have a little bit of a transition and a tough road game to start the season. The Chiefs return most of the team that won another Super Bowl the last time we saw them.

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will face the Baltimore Ravens to start the 2024 NFL season. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Chiefs' big loss of the offseason was cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, who was traded to the Tennessee Titans after he was unhappy to receive the franchise tag. The Chiefs also might be without receiver Rashee Rice, who could face a suspension from the NFL due to a car accident in Dallas in which Rice left the scene.

The Chiefs didn't lose too much else and added players like receiver Marquise Brown in free agency and receiver Xavier Worthy in the draft.

The Chiefs lost the season opener last season to the Detroit Lions. That was without Travis Kelce, who was injured, and Chris Jones, who was holding out. Injuries happen in August but as it stands the Chiefs will look a lot like they did in February when they knocked off the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.

The perception of the Chiefs coming off two Super Bowls, especially at home as they raise another banner, is that they are the top team in the NFL. That's why it's surprising the line for Week 1 is just a field goal. But the Ravens are consistently among the NFL's top teams too, and looking for revenge.

If the point spread is accurate, we're in for a good game to kick off next season.