- The 2-0 Carolina Panthers are 7.5-point road favorites over the 1-1 Houston Texans in Week 3 of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football showcase
- TNF Betting Record: 0-0 ML; 0-1 ATS; 0-1 O/U; -2 units
- Rookie Davis Mills starts at quarterback for Houston in place of the injured Tyrod Taylor
The Houston Texans are playing host to the Week 3 NFL Thursday Night Football game coming off a victory and facing the Carolina Panthers minus their starting quarterback. Tyrod Taylor is hurt. Davis Mills is in.
As Yogi Berra would’ve said, it’s deja vu all over again. Last week, the Washington Football Team came into the Week 2 TNF game off a Week 1 victory and without injured starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. They still won, though, 30-29 over the visiting New York Giants.
Oddsmakers don’t see that equation adding up to victory for the 1-1 Texans. The unbeaten Panthers (2-0) are the 7.5-point road favorites in this game. Carolina and Houston are among five NFL teams that are 2-0 against the spread this season.
Panthers vs Texans Opening Odds
|Carolina Panthers||-405||-7.5 (-118)||O 43.5 (-104)|
|Houston Texans||+320||+7.5 (-104)||U 43.5 (-118)|
Odds as of September 22nd at FanDuel
The kickoff is set for 8:20 pm ET. The forecast is for clear skies, 9 mph wind and a temperature of 82 degrees. But that’s only going to matter if they opt to open the retractable roof at NRG Stadium.
The news of Taylor going on the injured list for perhaps as much as a month with a hamstring injury created a jolting impact on the betting line for this game. The spread grew from an opening line of Carolina -7 to Panthers -7.5. In spread betting, 87% of the wagers are backing the Panthers.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 19, 2021
As for the moneyline, Houston’s underdog status swelled from +146 up to +320. Carolina’s favored line lengthened to -405 from -335. In moneyline wagering, 87% of all bets are also on the Panthers.
The only element of the line that is unchanged is the total. It remains at relatively low number of 43.5 points. Bettors are less certain on this aspect of the game. They’re going with the Over but only at a 62% rate.
That Darnold Cat
Coming into this season, in 38 career starts, Panthers QB Sam Darnold ended up posting one three-game win streak over that span. He’s poised to do it again.
On the subject of trends, the Panthers are 2-0 for the first time since 2017. They’ve made the playoffs in six of the seven seasons that they’ve opened 2-0. However, they’re just 4-3 straight up in Week 3 when coming into that game 2-0.
Darnold is 0-2 in Week 3 starts. He missed one with the Jets through injury. Don’t be fooled into thinking he’s been sensational for the Panthers. Darnold isn’t among the top 10 in any key NFL passing stat.
— GMFB (@gmfb) September 20, 2021
It’s defense that’s winning for Carolina. The Panthers suit up the #1 scoring D in the NFL (10.5 points per game). They’ve allowed a league-low 380 yards.
The Panthers are stuffing the run. They’re permitting an NFL-low 2.7 yards per carry. That means Houston’s rookie QB Mills, in his first career NFL start, will need to beat Carolina through the air. More bad news for Mills? Carolina also leads the NFL with 10 sacks.
Along with Taylor, the Texans have also lost rookie wide receiver Nico Collins to IR for a month with a shoulder injury. That’s problematic because Collins is the backup to veteran Danny Amendola (hamstring), who is doubtful.
In the Texans secondary, right cornerback Terrance Mitchell (concussion) and free safety Justin Reid (knee) are questionable. Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn (leg muscle) is on IR. However, PK Joey Slye was returned to the practice roster, leaving Houston’s kicker a question mark.
The Texans have placed QB Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) and WR Nico Collins (shoulder) on IR. They'll each miss at least three weeks.
— Full Press NFL (@FullPressNFL) September 21, 2021
The Panthers face an issue at right defensive end. Starter Morgan Fox and his backup Yetur Gross-Matos are both listed as questionable with ankle injuries.
Rookie QB starters are 1-5 SU and ATS through the first two weeks of the season. Houston won’t activate disgruntled Deshaun Watson even without Taylor. Jeff Driskel was added from the practice roster to back up Mills.
— Ryan 🤷🏼♂️ (@RyanLancaster94) September 21, 2021
Carolina is 4-1 ATS in the last five games and 7-0 ATS over the past seven road games. Each of the Panthers’ last five games have gone Under. The total has also gone Under in four of the last five Panthers-Texans games.