NFL: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Reinhold Matay / USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs started strong in 2019 and finished even stronger, winning their first Super Bowl title in 50 years. The team began the campaign with four straight victories and ended it with nine in a row, including three in the postseason. The Chiefs will attempt to extend their winning streak to double-digits when they host the Houston Texans on Thursday night in the 2020 NFL Kickoff Game at 8:20 p.m. ET.

Kansas City, which is seeking its fifth consecutive AFC West title, posted one of its playoff wins against Houston and overcame an early 24-point deficit en route to a 51-31 victory in the AFC Divisional Round. Kansas City is a nine-point favorite in the latest Chiefs vs. Texans odds from William Hill, while the over-under for total points scored is 54. Before locking in any Texans vs. Chiefs picks or NFL predictions, make sure you see what SportsLine's all-time No. 1 NFL expert Mike Tierney has to say

A national sportswriter whose work appears in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Tierney has covered the NFL for decades and reported from seven Super Bowls. He prefers to evaluate each game from the underdog's point of view and has used that philosophy to dominate the NFL, going 66-44 against the spread in 2019 and 63-46 in 2018. 

All-time at SportsLine (2016-19), Tierney is 282-222 on all NFL picks, returning $3,704 to $100 players. He's also had a sharp eye for the tendencies of the Chiefs, posting a 12-4 record on NFL against the spread picks for or against Kansas City. Anyone who has followed him is way up. 

Now, Tierney has locked in on Chiefs vs. Texans from every angle and released a confident against-the-spread pick. You can visit SportsLine now to see it. Here are several NFL lines and trends for Texans vs. Chiefs:

Texans vs. Chiefs spread: Kansas City -9
Texans vs. Chiefs over-under: 54 points
Texans vs. Chiefs money line: Kansas City -450, Houston +350
KC: Chiefs are 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 games in September
HOU: Texans are 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 contests played on Thursdays

Why the Chiefs can cover

The cancellation of the preseason as a result of COVID-19 means teams will be competing against opponents in Week 1 for the first time since last season and could be rusty. That shouldn't affect Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes as much since they proved last postseason that they can turn it on at the flip of a switch. The 24-year-old superstar helped the Chiefs overcome double-digit deficits in all three playoff games and earn their first Super Bowl championship since 1969. 

The youngest quarterback ever to be named Super Bowl MVP, Mahomes is the only signal-caller who has recorded at least 4,000 passing yards, 25 touchdown tosses and a passer rating of 100 or higher the last two seasons. Including the postseason matchup, he threw eight scoring passes and just one interception in two contests against Houston last year.

Why the Texans can cover

Houston must find a way to limit the effectiveness of Patrick Mahomes, and that solution begins with J.J. Watt. A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, the 31-year-old defensive end has been hit hard by injuries over the last four years but remains a force when healthy. Watt has hit double-digit sacks five times in his nine-year career and registered four in eight games last season. 

Instead of being expected to look to DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded to Arizona in March, Deshaun Watson will keep Kansas City's defense guessing since he has a number of options at his disposal. Will Fuller V logged a career-high 49 catches in 2019, while tight end Darren Fells tied for the team lead with a personal-best seven touchdown receptions.

Brandin Cooks caught eight passes for 107 yards the last time he faced the Chiefs, fellow newcomer Randall Cobb had three TD catches in his most recent game versus the club, and running back Duke Johnson has three scoring receptions in his last two games against Kansas City.

How to make Texans vs. Chiefs picks

Tierney has analyzed this matchup and while we can tell you he's leaning Under, he has discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. He's only sharing it here

Who wins Chiefs vs. Texans? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Texans vs. Chiefs spread you should jump on Thursday, all from the NFL expert who's brought in over $3,700 to $100 players and is 12-4 on Chiefs picks, and find out.