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Panthers vs Texans: Carolina goes to Houston as 8-point favorites tonight

It’s been a while since the Panthers were more than a touchdown favorite on the road.

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

That was quite the upset last Sunday the Panthers pulled off to whip the favored New Orleans Saints 23-7. The underdogs rose up and put the NFL on notice. It also makes the Panthers a perfect 2-0 in both wins against their opponents and against the spread. I see the Panthers continuing this streak on Thursday Night Football.

The eight point spread reflects the opposite direction the two franchises appear to be headed at the moment. The Panthers have come out roaring to a 2-0 start while the Texans (1-1), winners in their season opener, lost in Week 2 by ten points to the Browns. But the loss to the Browns is not the worst of it: The Texans will start a rookie quarterback after losing starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor to injury. Third round selection Davis Mills will be getting his first NFL start and it will be a trial by fire in front of a national audience. Mills will be the second rookie the Panthers have faced already in this short season so it sets up well for the defense. It didn’t go so well for rookie Zach Wilson, the 2021 No. 2 overall pick, in the season opener. I can’t see Mills faring any better against a defense brimming with confidence.

Last week the Panthers actually opened as 3.5 point favorites against the Texans before the victory over the Saints. That victory caused a spike in bets on the Panthers. I’m wishing I had jumped on it myself. You can still get 7.5 points depending on which book you use. Check out the list of NFL football games today and those this weekend to compare different odds. They are all pretty close but as you know a half-point can make the difference between winning and losing. From Bookmakers Review:

I actually think the Panthers could cover a lot more points, at least 10 or 11. That is because the Panthers defense is playing really well right now. I expect Mills to turn the ball over at least a couple times due to the expected pressure in his face like he has never seen before.

On the other side of the ball Sam Darnold — with a potent Panthers offense — is also playing well. The Panthers put multiple scores on the Saints defense after all. The same Saints defense that held Aaron Rodgers to seven points in week one suddenly couldn’t stop the Panthers. The NFL media has taken notice of Darnold’s turn-around:

The blind faith the Panthers showed in Darnold — and they had a lot of it — is paying off early on. Darnold played well against the Jets in Week 1 and even better in Week 2, as the Panthers cruised 26-7 by a New Orleans Saints team that was coming off a Week 1 blowout of the Green Bay Packers. The Panthers are 2-0 to start the season.

Here’s some more information for you to chew on: The Panthers are 3-2 all-time versus the Texans and also 3-2 versus the spread. Okay maybe that’s not helpful. I just like to highlight teams the Panthers have winning records against.

So in summary, the Texans may at best keep it close in the first half but I fully expect the Panthers to salt this one away fairly early in the second half. I will warn you the recent betting trend is towards the Texans (+8) and the over 43 points. I am betting the opposite way in both cases. I assume the odds makers are looking at the Texans averaging 29 points a game thanks to putting 37 on the hapless Jaguars. That was with Taylor at quarterback. Mills is not as dynamic nor is he the athlete Taylor is. I’m feeling good about this one Panthers fans.

Moving to the total score I like the under this week. The reason is the Panthers defense. I don’t think the odds makers have adjusted to the Panthers defense being much better than advertised, hence the under has been the play for both Panthers games this season.

Score Prediction: Panthers 30 Texans 10

Over/under Prediction: Under 43 points

What’s your prediction Panthers fans?

Poll

Will the Panthers cover the eight point spread against the Texans?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Yes, easily
    (85 votes)
  • 20%
    No, but they will still win
    (24 votes)
  • 5%
    No, Texans pull the upset
    (6 votes)
115 votes total Vote Now

Keep pounding!