Panthers vs. Texans Point Spread: NFL Week 3 Odds, Prediction

Payton Matthews | Updated Sep 21, 2021

Week 3 of the NFL season kicks off Thursday night with the 2-0 Carolina Panthers visiting the 1-1 Houston Texans.

Carolina
3-4
AT
September 23, 2021, 8:20 PM ET
NRG Stadium
Houston
1-6
Pointspread -9 -105
Moneyline -400
Over / Under o +43

73%

Betting Action

27%

Pointspread +9 -115
Moneyline +325
Over / Under u +43

73%

Betting Action

27%

The two Thursday night games this NFL season have been incredibly entertaining and both have gone down to the wire. It would be a bit of an upset if it happens again this Thursday to kick off Week 3 as Carolina visits Houston. The Panthers are 7.5-point favourites to win on the NFL odds, with a total of 44 points.

NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis

These teams combined for just nine wins in 2020 but are one-third of the way to that total already with the Panthers a surprising 2-0 and the Texans at 1-1.

Houston is under first-year head coach David Culley. His hiring was a major surprise because Culley was 65 (now 66) and while he had more than 25 years of NFL experience as an assistant, he had never even been an offensive or defensive coordinator. Part of the thinking behind the hiring was that Culley was considered a “players coach” and he could help convince star QB Deshaun Watson to rescind his trade demand. Of course, that was before all the off-the-field issues regarding Watson came to light. He remains on the roster and is paid weekly but has been inactive each week and that should be the case the rest of the season unless Watson is actually traded. That’s unlikely until his legal problems are resolved.

These are two of the new franchises in the NFL so they have played just five regular-season games. Carolina leads 3-2 and has won the past three. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in those five.

Carolina Panthers

Carolina’s biggest off-season decision was trading for Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. And while it’s obvious the former No. 3 overall pick will never be a star, he does look reborn with a change of scenery. He’s completing 68.5 per cent of his passes for 584 yards, three scores and one pick. That’s good for a rating of 100.5 that would shatter his previous career best.

The Panthers, however, have mostly been winning with defence, which was a problem area in 2020. They lead the NFL in points allowed per game (10.5), yards allowed per game (190.0, also first in both rushing and passing yards allowed), sacks (10) and defensive third-down percentage (25.0). The free-agent signing of Haason Reddick (three sacks) has proved brilliant and end Brian Burns (two sacks) is an emerging star. Left guard Pat Elflein will miss Thursday’s game due to injury. Carolina is 4-12-1 ATS in its past 17 as a road favourite.

Houston Texans

The big question here is whether starting QB Tyrod Taylor will play. He hasn’t been ruled out as of this writing, but it’s considered highly unlikely after the veteran left Sunday’s loss in Cleveland with a hamstring injury. That means rookie third-round pick Davis Mills would start and practice squad QB Jeff Driskel likely would be elevated to the active roster to serve as Mills’ backup – because activating Deshaun Watson is a non-starter. Mills, from Stanford, was 8-for-18 for 102 yards with a TD and pick in relief of Taylor on Sunday.

Rookie receiver Nico Collins, who showed some promise in camp and started in Week 2, will miss 3-4 weeks with a shoulder injury. Fellow wideout and veteran Danny Amendola is in question with a thigh injury. The Texans are 4-0 ATS in their past four as dogs.

NFL Prediction: Who Will Win Panthers vs. Texans?

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