Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans Betting Preview/Player Prop

23 September 2021

Week 3 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday night as the Houston Texans host the Carolina Panthers. There is not much familiarity between these two teams, and that could make for an interesting matchup in this game.

Carolina comes into Week 3 with a perfect 2-0 record, and they have benefitted from playing a soft schedule up to this point. The Panthers did blow out the New Orleans Saints in Week 2, but Carolina will have to continue to prove the doubters wrong.

Houston is 1-1 on the young season after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars and then losing to the Cleveland Browns. The Texans are in a transitional period with the franchise, and they are not expected to be a playoff contender this season.

The Carolina Panthers are 7.5-point road favorites over the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football.

Panthers Playing Some Defense

Carolina has given up just 21 total points so far this season, and they completely shut down a solid Saints offense in Week 2. They will now be facing a Texans team that is starting a rookie quarterback, and they are going to be coming after him.

Running back, Christian McCaffrey is back for the Panthers, and he has racked up 170 rushing yards and a touchdown this season. McCaffrey is also a big factor in the passing game, and the Texans' defense will have to account for him.

Quarterback Sam Darnold has played well since joining Carolina, but he has yet to really take over that offense. Carolina will need Darnold to continue to improve to stay in the playoff hunt.

No Taylor for Texans

The Houston Texans will be without quarterback Tyrod Taylor on Thursday night, and that's a massive blow. Taylor has racked up 416 yards and three touchdowns this season, but an injury in Week 2 derailed the team.

Davis Mills is going to start under center for Houston, and there are some questions about how he will handle his first NFL start. Running back Mark Ingram II can help take some pressure off, and he has run for 126 yards through two games.

It will be the defense that gets tested on Thursday night as the Texans have allowed over 29 points per game. Houston isn't going to put up a ton of points, and the defense has to keep them in this game.

Carolina Keeps on Winning

If Tyrod Taylor was still healthy for this game, then the Texans would have a great shot of winning at home. Taylor was playing well for Houston, but it's hard to see a rookie quarterback doing well in his first start against a great defense.

Carolina looks like a team that is built to have success throughout the season, especially if they keep getting some stops. The Panthers are not facing a dominant defense on Thursday night, and that should allow the offense to get going as well.

This is going to be a much more competitive game than the spread suggests, and it will come down to the final few minutes. Take the 7.5-points and bet on the Houston Texans at home on Thursday night, but it will be the Carolina Panthers that wins to move to 3-0.

Player Prop

Davis Mills (-215) Under 1.5 TD Passes

A year ago, Mills was taking snaps for the Stanford Cardinal. He did well enough in college to earn a third round pick in this year’s draft. But with the Texans set at QB with Deshaun Watson and Tyrod Taylor, starting in the NFL was probably the furthest thing from his mind.

That all changes tonight. With Watson’s off-field legal troubles continuing to keep him sidelined and Taylor being ruled out for tonight’s game with a hamstring injury, the offense is Mills’ to lead.

He did get some solid reps when pressed into action last week against the Browns and went 8-for-18 for 102 yards with a TD and pick. Head coach David Culley said he expects Mills to be more comfortable this week after taking first-team reps in practice.

But going up against a Carolina defense that ranks tops in the league in yards allowed (190.0 ypg) and sacks (10.0) is asking a lot. We expect Mills to be more of a game-manager with Culley keeping the playbook conservative to avoid mistakes.

As a result, we’ll take Mills (-215) to stay under 1.5 TD passes against the Panthers.

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