Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season will kick off tonight with the Carolina Panthers taking on the Houston Texans on NFL Network at 8:20 p.m. ET. The Panthers are coming into this matchup with a record of 2-0 and a dominating win over the New Orleans Saints. As for the Texans, they are 1-1 on the season after losing 31-21 last week to the Cleveland Browns. In addition to the defeat, Houston lost starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor to injury. Rookie QB Davis Mills will make his first career start under the primetime lights.
Here, we’ll take a look at our picks for best bets for the Carolina Panthers matchup with the Houston Texans in Week 3 of the NFL season on Thursday Night Football. Odds come via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Spread: Panthers -8
Point total: 43
Moneyline: Panthers -435, Texans +330
Our picks for Panthers vs. Texans
Pick against the spread: Panthers -8
If Taylor was playing in this game, I might be more inclined to take the Texans on the spread. However, I’m going to go with the better team in the Panthers, who should and will make life tough on Mills.
In their first two games, Carolina’s defense has racked up 10 sacks and 21 quarterback hits. The Texans’ offensive line did a good job last week against the Browns, but I expect the Panthers to bring the heat to Mills. Then offensively, the Panthers should be able to put up some points with Sam Darnold, Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. Both teams have covered in their first two regular season games, but the Panthers are 7-0 ATS in their last seven road games.
Over/under 43 points: Under 43 points
The best play here is the under mainly because the Panthers could easily put up 20-30 points by themselves and I don’t expect Mills or this offense to have much success. The Panthers have the best run defense in the league only giving up 46.5 rushing yards per game. We’ve seen through two games that the Texans will make a concerted effort to run the ball. However, Houston will eventually have to put the ball in the air and it does not help that they missing Danny Amendola and rookie Nico Collins. This means a lot of the attention will be on Brandin Cooks, who is their best offensive player.
Preferred player prop: Robby Anderson over 43.5 receiving yards (-115)
For a TNF player prop, I’m going to side with Robby Anderson over 43.5 receiving yards. I believe this could be a huge Anderson game, especially with the Texans’ defense trying to limit Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore. Anderson is the No. 2 WR behind Moore and does not need many receptions or targets to hit this number. Last season, he went over this prop 12 times and has gone over this number once in the first two games this season. I also wouldn’t be opposed to playing his anytime TD prop at +175.
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