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Opening Panthers vs Texans Odds and Betting Lines for TNF Week 3

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in NFL Football

Sep 19, 2021 · 7:08 PM PDT

Carolina Panthers sack Jameis Winston
New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) is sacked by Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns (53) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sep. 19, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Westerholt)
  • The Carolina Panthers are opening as 7-point road favorites at the Houston Texans in the NFL TNF Week 3 game on September 23
  • Carolina is 2-0 and tied for top spot in the NFC South
  • Houston is 1-1 and tied for first place in the AFC South

Two weeks into the NFL season, the Houston Texans are treading water at 1-1. But that’s good enough for a share of the division lead in the woeful AFC South.

Meanwhile, following two games, the Carolina Panthers are right where everyone expected them to be – 2-0 and tied for fist place in the NFC South.

Wait, what?

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That’s right. Sam Darnold is 2-0 as the starting QB of the Panthers. The Panthers are opening as 7-point favorites over the Texans in the NFL odds as they travel to Houston for this week’s Thursday Night Football game.

Panthers vs Texans Opening Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Carolina Panthers -335 -7 (-114) O 43.5 (-105)
Houston Texans +146 +7 (+106) U 43.5 (-115)

Odds as of September 19th at FanDuel

Kickoff for Thursday’s game at NRG Stadium is set for 8:20pm ET. The weather forecast is calling for sunny, clear skies, 7 mph wind and a game-time temperature of 81 degrees.

A Big Number

Bettors doing their research will need to go all the way back to December 1, 2019 to find a longer point spread favoring the Panthers. That day, they took the field as a 10.5-point home choice over Washington – and promptly lost 29-21.

There are some online sportsbooks that are already bumping Carolina’s line to -7.5. It may not be a case of the Panthers being that good as the realization that Houston is actually that bad. Don’t be fooled by the 1-1 mark next to the Texans in the standings. That one victory was against the pitiful Jacksonville Jaguars. With 17 successive losses, the Jags are the free spot on the NFL bingo card.

The Texans are growing accustomed to staring at such a long point spread. This is the seventh time since the 2019 season that they’ve been an underdog of seven or more points. In those games, Houston is 1-6 straight up and 2-5 against the spread.

Houston was a 13.5-point underdog last week at Cleveland. The Texans lost but at least they covered, going down to a 31-21 defeat.

Defense Getting It Done

Two weeks into the season, the Panthers are the NFL’s best scoring defense. They’ve allowed a league-low 21 points.

Sure, maybe it wasn’t all that impressive when they held the New York Jets and rookie QB Zach Wilson on 14 points. But shutting down a New Orleans Saints team that scored 38 last week on reigning NFC Central champions Green Bay is an entirely different matter.

Carolina checked the Saints on 128 yards of total offense. That was the lowest output by a New Orleans team since 2001.

Saints QB Jameis Winston was 11-for-22 for 111 yards. He was picked off twice and sacked four times. If you’re Texans QB Tyrod Taylor, you’re looking at those digits and taking a big gulp – and not the kind you pick up at 7-Eleven.

Texans QB Question Mark

That’s assuming, of course, that Taylor is good to go for Thursday’s game. Houston isn’t certain who will be under center on Thursday. It won’t be disgruntled Deshaun Watson and it might not be Taylor, either.

Taylor left Sunday’s loss to the Browns with a hamstring injury. Rookie QB Davis Mills was at the helm of the Texans for the second half of that game.

Texans head coach David Culley wasn’t ruling out Taylor for Thursday’s game. At the same time, Culley was also admitting that he had no idea of the severity of Taylor’s injury.

The Panthers defense chased a healthy Winston all over the field in Sunday’s 26-7 drubbing of the Saints. Whether it’s Taylor on one good leg, or Mills making his first NFL start, Houston could be in for a very long night on Thursday.

It’s Going Long

The line on this game will be like the fat kid in a game of touch football. It’s going long.

The Panthers are 2-0 for the first time since 2018. That year, Carolina finished 11-5 and earned an NFC Wild Card playoff spot.

This spread only figures to grow more in favor of the Panthers, especially if the injury reports end up suggesting Taylor won’t be playing.

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