Due to injury, the Houston Texans will be forced to give third-round rookie quarterback Davis Mills his first NFL start on Thursday night when they welcome the unbeaten Carolina Panthers, who are better than TD favorites on the NFL odds.
How to Bet Panthers at Texans NFL Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 8:20 PM ET
- Where: NRG Stadium
- TV: NFL Network
- Radio: http://www.siriusxm.com/nfl
- Stream Option: http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/main/network/watch
- Opening NFL Lines: Panthers -7.5 (total 43.5)
Carolina leads all-time 3-2 and won the most recent one in 2019 by a score of 16-10 in Houston. Christian McCaffrey led the way in the win, totaling 10 receptions, 179 scrimmage yards (93 rushing, 86 receiving) and a rushing touchdown.
Why Bet on Carolina?The Panthers are a surprising 2-0 following a 26-7 upset of New Orleans on Sunday. Carolina hasn’t started 3-0 since 2015, when the Panthers started the season by winning their first 14 games and advanced to Super Bowl 50.
New QB Sam Darnold passed for 305 yards vs. the Saints, his fifth-career game with at least 300 passing yards, and two touchdowns for a 99.1 rating. Darnold will be looking to surpass 275 passing yards in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.
Christian McCaffrey rushed 24 times for 72 yards and a touchdown and added five catches for 65 yards despite dealing with some calf cramps. McCaffrey enters Week 3 with a league-best 324 scrimmage yards (170 rushing, 154 receiving) and leads all running backs with 14 catches. In three career games on Thursday Night Football, he has 255 scrimmage yards (85 per game) and four touchdowns (three receiving, one rushing).
D.J. Moore caught 8-of-11 targets for 79 yards and a touchdown vs. New Orleans and has reached at least six catches and 79 yards in back-to-back games. He has at least 90 receiving yards in two of his past three against the AFC South.
Guard Pat Elflein will miss some time after being placed on injured reserve. Elflein played 23 snaps in Week 2 before injuring his hamstring and failing to return. Dennis Daley, a sixth-rounder from Carolina’s 2019 draft class, will get the start at left guard on Thursday.
Defensively, the Panthers lead the NFL in: yards allowed per game (190.0); points allowed per game (10.5); passing yards allowed per game (143.5); rushing yards allowed per game (46.5); sacks (10); quarterback hits (21); and defensive third-down percentage (25.0). Defensive end Brian Burns is an emerging star, and they found him some help, signing free agents Haason Reddick, Morgan Fox, and DaQuan Jones this offseason.
Reddick has recorded 1.5 sacks in each of his first two career games as a Panther. Burns and aims for his fifth in a row with a sack, tied for the longest active streak in the league.
Why Bet on Houston?The Texans (1-1) lost 31-21 in Cleveland on Sunday and lost starting QB Tyrod Taylor for a while to a hamstring injury. He could miss up to four weeks. Through six quarters this season, Taylor completed 31-of-44 passes, 70.5 percent completion rate (average 9.4 yards per attempt), three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 122.9 passer rating. He also rushed for 55 yards on five carries and a score.
Taylor’s absence thrusts 2021 third-round pick Davis Mills into the starting lineup for the immediate future. It’s unfamiliar territory for the Stanford product, who started just 11 times over four years of college ball. In his NFL debut on Sunday, Mills completed 8 of 18 passes for 102 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception in the loss. Culley said to expect the same style of offense from the Texans with Mills under center.
“He’s been ready,” Coach David Culley said of Mills on Tuesday. “Now that he’s gotten those reps, I think there will be a comfort level in starting the game. I think in the second half when he had to go out and play, I think not having had those reps in practice and all of a sudden now, ‘I’m up,’ probably made a difference. And I think this week going into the game when we start the game and he’s out there, I think there will be a much better comfort level.”
The No. 2 QB will be Jeff Driskel, who will be activated from the practice squad. Deshaun Watson will remain inactive. Watson faces 22 active lawsuits with allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior, but he has not been restricted from taking part in team activities by the NFL.
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks led the team with nine catches for 78 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 and is aiming for his fourth consecutive game with at least 75 receiving yards. Two other receivers, Danny Amendola and Nico Collins, are out Thursday. Amendola has caught all six of his targets for 42 yards and a touchdown in two games with the Texans but is dealing with a hamstring injury. Collins is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.
- Panthers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 road games.
- Panthers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in September.
- Panthers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
- Texans are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games in Week 3.
- Texans are 4-11-1 ATS in their last 16 games following a ATS win.
- Texans are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 Thursday games.
Expert Prediction: Panthers 26, Texans 16
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