Panthers vs. Texans: The best Christian McCaffrey player prop bets for TNF
The 2-0 Carolina Panthers will try to keep their perfect record intact when they visit the Houston Texans on Thursday night, and keeping that streak going is a hell of a lot easier when you have an absolute machine in the backfield.
Christian McCaffrey is the lynchpin that holds the Carolina offense together, and it’s easy to see why. He’s only the third player in NFL history to record over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season and has all the tools to smash more records in 2021.
McCaffrey is on track for another monster season both on the ground and through the air, and he can keep that momentum going against a Texans team fresh off defeat in Cleveland and starting a rookie at QB.
Fri, September 24 2021, 12:20 AM
We've examined Thursday night's matchup closely and have the three best prop bets for Christian McCaffrey below.
Over/Under 85.5 Rushing Yards
The naysayers will point to the fact that the Panthers are on the road on a short week and McCaffrey missed some playing time in Week 2 as he suffered from cramps during the second half. However, there are too many reasons to believe "Run CMC" will beat this line.
The Texans gave up a combined 146 yards on 24 rushes to Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb last week as the Browns ran in three scores on the ground. Houston’s run defense ranks 22nd in the NFL even after playing one of the worst run offenses in the league in Week 1 when they faced the hopeless Jaguars. There’s no doubt you can run on this team.
And that’s exactly what McCaffrey will do. Through two games he has had at least 20 targets in each, and posted 98 yards on the ground against the Jets and 72 against the Saints – two teams with solid run defenses. In 2019, McCaffrey had nine games in which he had 19 or more rushing attempts, and his average yards in those games was 110.
In seven of the nine he beat this line, and in the 2019 game with the Texans he ran 27 times for 93 yards. The volume is guaranteed again on Thursday, and McCaffrey is so explosive he’ll find plenty of room to run. Back the Over.
Over/Under 47.5 Receiving Yards
It’s a similar story when it comes to McCaffrey’s ability as a pass catcher. He’s had at least six targets in each game this season and caught nine passes for 89 yards against the Jets and five passes for 65 yards against the Saints.
In his 11 games in 2019 in which he had at least five catches, McCaffrey averaged 79 yards per game and 8.7 yards per reception. He cleared 58 yards in 10 of those 11 games – including the one against the Titans when he racked up a huge 10 catches for 86 yards.
Again, the volume will be there. McCaffrey has a 22% target share for the Panthers and is only a very marginal second to No. 1 wide receiver D.J. Moore. Moore has 19 targets, 14 catches, and 159 yards to McCaffrey’s 15 targets, 14 catches, and 154 yards.
McCaffrey should be a key feature in the passing game on Thursday again, making this line look low.
Two or more Touchdowns
The one thing that may be missing from McCaffrey’s box scores this year are the touchdowns. He's just has the solitary TD through two games, which by his standards is shockingly low.
But I’m fully expecting McCaffrey to get into the end zone on Thursday, and think the odds of him scoring at least twice are worth a wager. In the 19 games he played between 2019 and 2020, McCaffrey scored multiple touchdowns in nine of them. Now he faces a Texans defense that just gave up three rushing touchdowns to the Browns.
This feels like it could be a monster game for "Run CMC", who can feast on Houston’s run defense and find plenty of joy in the red zone. The points line for the Panthers is set at 26.5, and the Texans giving up 29 points per game last season (ranked 27th in the league).
McCaffrey scored more than half of all the Panthers' touchdowns in 2019, and can add another couple to his resume on Thursday.