The 2-0 Carolina Panthers, one of the surprise stories in the NFL during the two-game sample size, will travel to the 1-1 Houston Texans for a Week 3 clash on “Thursday Night Football.”
The Panthers are one of four road favorites on the Week 3 slate.
Here’s our betting preview for the interleague clash between the NFC South-leading Panthers and the AFC South Texans. All lines and prop bets are from DraftKings Sportsbook.
(-8) Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
The Panthers are one of five NFL teams to start the season 2-0 against the spread and one of three teams to do so while winning both games straight up, as well. Carolina, in fact, is 7-0 against the spread in each of its last seven road games dating back to the 2020 season. The Panthers have yet to play on the road this season after home wins over the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints.
The Texans are one of the other four teams to be 2-0 against spread this season.
The Over has cashed in each of Houston’s two games this season and has hit four straight times dating back to the 2020 campaign. Carolina, on the other hand, has yet to defeat the total, as both of their games have stayed on the Under.
Of note, first-year NFL quarterbacks are winless against the spread when facing a non-rookie starter this season. The Texans will start rookie third-rounder Davis Mills, while Sam Darnold is making his third straight start for the Panthers. Darnold looks much better than he did during his time with the Jets.
First-half line, total
Carolina -4.5, 21.5
First touchdown scorer
Christian McCaffrey +330
DJ Moore +750
Robby Anderson +1000
Brandin Cooks +1200
Mark Ingram +1300
Phillip Lindsay +1500
Terrace Marshall +1600
Chris Conley +1600
David Johnson +1800
Sam Darnold +1800
Sam Darnold over/under 267.5
Davis Mills over/under 210.5
Christian McCaffrey over/under 81.5
Mark Ingram over/under 36.5
Phillip Lindsay over/under 20.5
David Johnson over/under 18.5
Sam Darnold over/under 6.5
Brandin Cooks over/under 69.5
DJ Moore over/under 68.5
Christian McCaffrey over/under 50.5
Robby Anderson over/under 43.5
Terrace Marshall over/under 27.5
Chris Conley over/under 26.5
Anthony Miller over/under 25.5
Dan Arnold over/under 24.5
PICK: Panthers -0.5 after first quarter (-110)
Given the aforementioned fact that the Texans will be working with a rookie quarterback in his first-ever start, we can’t imagine Houston comes out firing against Carolina. Additionally, the Panthers have yet to allow a point in the first quarter through two weeks, scoring one first-quarter touchdown themselves.
It could be a rude awakening for both Mills and even Texans head coach David Culley. The last time the Panthers, who lead the league in yards allowed per game, played a rookie quarterback (Zach Wilson of the Jets), they sacked him six times in a Week 1 win. Culley, a first-year head coach, is working on short rest for his first time at the helm, which goes to show it could take him a quarter or two to feel comfortable.
If you can get the Panthers at relatively even money in what essentially is a first-quarter pick ’em, it should be pretty enticing.