Panthers vs. Texans: TNF betting odds, preview, and pick

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September 20th, 2021

The 2-0 Carolina Panthers will look to turn up the heat on their hot start when they visit the 1-1 Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Thursday Night Football. 

Fri, September 24 2021, 12:20 AM

HOU Texans






O 42.5

CAR Panthers






U 42.5

Panthers own NFL's top defense

The season is young, but through two games, the Panthers — who went 5-11 a year ago — rank first in the NFL in both points allowed (10.5) and yards surrendered (190).

Granted, Carolina faced the winless New York Jets and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson in Week 1 and defeated a New Orleans Saints team that was missing eight assistant coaches because of COVID-19 in Week 2. Nonetheless, the NFC South's co-leader has displayed encouraging improvement on both sides of the ball.

The defense sacked Wilson six times for a loss of 51 yards, and intercepted him once in Carolina's 19-14 win. Against New Orleans, Carolina's D recorded two more interceptions and sacked quarterback Jameis Winston four times in a 26-7 victory.

The Saints' 128 yards on total offense marked the fewest under head coach Sean Payton.

On the other side of the ball, new Panthers signal caller Sam Darnold has totaled 585 yards on 68.5% passing, three touchdown passes, a rushing score, and has thrown one interception.

Running back Christian McCaffrey is also back to his old self. The versatile playmaker, who missed 13 games because of injury last season, has hauled in 14 catches for 154 yards and has run for 170 yards and a touchdown through two games.

Injury bug bites Texans in Week 2

Houston entered the 2021 season with the lowest projected win total (four games) but already has one victory against the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars.

This team, under new head coach David Culley, is 2-0 against the spread and has fought hard in its first two games, including last week's road contest against the Cleveland Browns.

In that matchup, Houston quarterback Tyrod Taylor went 10-of-11 passing for 125 yards and a touchdown, before he pulled his hamstring and was replaced by rookie Davis Mills with the game tied at 14.

On just his second drive, Mills threw an interception on a short pass to Andre Roberts in Houston territory.

He finished the day with 220 yards and two touchdowns on 8-of-18 passing, as Cleveland went on to win 31-21.

In addition to Taylor's hamstring issue, wide receiver Nico Collins left the game in the first quarter because of a shoulder injury. Safety Eric Murray also suffered a concussion and receiver Danny Amendola, tight end Antony Auclair, cornerback Terrance Mitchell, and safety Justin Reid each got injured.

Carolina Panthers vs. Houston Texans injury report

Carolina PanthersHouston Texans
WR Shi Smith: Questionable (shoulder)
WR Danny Amendola: Questionable (hamstring)
DB Myles Hartsfield: Out (wrist)
QB Tyrod Taylor: Questionable (hamstring)
LS Thomas Fletcher: Out (Hip)
S Eric Murray: Questionable (concussion)
G Pat Elflein: Questionable (hamstring)
WR Nico Collins: Questionable (shoulder)
DE Austin Larkin: Questionable (groin)
TE Antony Auclair: Questionable (eye)
CB Troy Pride: Out (ACL)
CB Justin Reid: Questionable (knee)
CB Terrace Mitchell: Questionable (head)

Panthers and Texans betting trends

  • The Panthers are 7-0 ATS in their last seven road games
  • The Panthers are 0-6 ATS in their last six Thursday games
  • The Texans are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as an underdog
  • The Texans are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall
  • The Under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings
  • The underdog is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings

Houston offense too hobbled for Thursday turnaround

In the offseason, the Texans picked up an assortment of veteran skill players, including Amendola and running backs Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay. In Week 1, the backfield duo combined for 110 of Houston's 160 rushing yards but managed just 43 yards on 19 total carries against Cleveland.

Carolina has allowed a league-low 46.5 rushing yards per game and just three rushing first downs per contest.

With Taylor and three receivers questionable for Thursday, Houston's passing game is in trouble, as well.

Look for the Texans defense to put up a battle, but Carolina will pull off the win to earn its first 3-0 start since 2015.

Score prediction: Panthers 27, Texans 18

Week 3 NFL pick: Over 42.5