The NFL returns for Week 3 tonight as the Houston Texans host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. It doesn’t appear to be the sexiest matchup on paper, but both teams have been surprises to some extent and this could end up being another fun primetime game.
Neither team was expected to be a Super Bowl contender this season, but both have made things at least a little more interesting. The Panthers opened the season at DraftKings Sportsbook installed at +9000 to win the Super Bowl prior to Week 1, which was 25th in the league. They opened the season with home wins over the Jets (19-14) and Saints (26-7) and now sit at +5000, which is tied for 17th.
The Texans opened the season at +30000 to win the Super Bowl, which was worst in the league. They stunned the new-look Jaguars in Week 1, rolling over them 37-21. They improved to +10000 with that win, only to drop back to the bottom in odds at +50000 when they lost 31-21 to the Browns in Week 2. Cleveland pulled away late, but Houston gave them a tough time for much of the game. The Texans were expected to be the worst team in the league, but might not be quite so awful.
The Panthers are a sizable eight-point favorite. The line re-opened last Sunday at -4, but Tyrod Taylor’s hamstring injury changed that. The Texans placed him on IR and will start rookie Davis Mills. A short week and a new quarterback could give Houston a bit of an edge to keep this game close, but this is a chance for the Panthers to prove they are legit to a certain extent.
Carolina was favored over the Jets, but home dogs against the Saints. They took care of business in both games, but now are going on the road for the first time and are expected to win fairly handily. If they handle their business, that would be a good sign. It won’t drastically change their Super Bowl odds, but it would further show they can win the games they’re supposed to win. If they struggle in Houston, it would raise red flags about their case as a potential playoff team.
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