How Do Reigning Champs Perform on NFL Opening Night?

How Do Reigning Champs Perform on NFL Opening Night?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl defense begins Thursday night, when they play host to the Detroit Lions in the NFL’s regular season opener.

Since 2004, defending champs have gone 14-4 in the league’s Thursday night opener, with the L.A. Rams being the first team since 2017 to lose.

With the Chiefs set to kick off and Kansas sports betting abuzz, utilized data from to see how defending champs have done in the league’s opening Thursday Night Game. Since 2004, 2019 was the only year to not feature the Super Bowl champion on opening night.

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Super Bowl Winners on Opening Night

YearOpening GameSB Champ Record
2004Patriots 27, Colts 241-0
2005Patriots 30, Raiders 202-0
2006Steelers 28, Dolphins 173-0
2007Colts 41, Saints 104-0
2008Giants 16, Redskins 75-0
2009Steelers 13 , Titans 106-0
2010Saints 14, Vikings 97-0
2011Packers 42, Saints 348-0
2012Cowboys 24, Giants 178-1
2013Broncos 49, Ravens 278-2
2014Seahawks 36, Packers 169-2
2015Patriots 28, Steelers 2110-2
2016Broncos 21, Panthers 2011-2
2017Chiefs 42, Patriots 2711-3
2018Eagles 18, Falcons 1212-3
2020Chiefs 34, Texans 2013-3
2021Bucs 31, Cowboys 2914-3
2022Bills 31, Rams 1014-4

The Chiefs Super Bowl odds are the best in the NFL at +600, just ahead of Philadelphia.

Chiefs Looking to Continue Hot Streak

When the Chiefs and Lions go toe-to-toe at Arrowhead on Thursday, Kansas City will be hot to trot to continue the league’s championship opener stretch.  

Based on the early lines provided by BetMGM Kansas, it seems like the Chiefs should do just that Thursday. Kansas City is currently listed as a 6.5-point favorite, with a moneyline of -275 (the Lions are +220).  

Covering the spread in an opener wouldn’t be a new phenomenon for the Chiefs, as they thumped Houston, 34-20, in their season opener in 2020 on the heels of their triumph in Super Bowl LIV.

Based on recent trends, it seems like bettors should use Kansas sportsbook promos to back Patrick Mahomes and company Thursday night, as 14 of the last 18 Super Bowl champs have started the season 1-0.



Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years.

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