The Carolina Panthers finished with two home victories and one win against NFC South opponents each of the last two seasons. They’ve already matched those totals through two weeks of the 2021 NFL schedule, defeating the New York Jets in their opener before dominating division-rival New Orleans in Week 2. The Panthers will take to the road for the first time this year when they visit the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football. Houston began the season with a home victory against Jacksonville before falling at Cleveland on Sunday in a game in which starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a hamstring injury.
Kickoff from NRG Stadium is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET. Carolina is an eight-point favorite in the latest Texans vs. Panthers odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 43. Before locking in any Panthers vs. Texans picks or NFL predictions, make sure you see what SportsLine expert Larry Hartstein has to say.
SportsLine’s senior analyst and Early Edge podcast regular entered the 2021 season 351-291 all-time on NFL sides (plus $2,212), including a 326-280 against-the-spread mark. He was an astounding 8-1 in Week 2 and is 9-3 against the spread overall this season.
In addition, Hartstein has an amazing 30-18-3 record on his last 51 picks involving Houston, returning more than $1,000. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, Hartstein has locked in on Panthers vs. Texans from every angle and released a confident against-the-spread pick. You can visit SportsLine now to see it. Here are several NFL lines and trends for Texans vs. Panthers:
- Texans vs. Panthers spread: Carolina -8
- Texans vs. Panthers over-under: 43 points
- Texans vs. Panthers money line: Carolina -400, Houston +310
- CAR: Panthers have covered seven straight road games
- HOU: Texans are 4-0 against the spread in their last four contests as underdogs
Why the Panthers can cover
It’s only been two weeks, but being out of the New York spotlight appears to be agreeing with Sam Darnold. The 24-year-old quarterback was shipped out of town by the Jets after three troublesome seasons, but has begun to demonstrate why he was the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. After throwing for one score and running for another against his former team in Carolina’s season-opening victory, Darnold registered his first 300-yard passing performance (305) since Week 12 of the 2019 campaign and had a pair of TD tosses in Sunday’s triumph over New Orleans.
With Darnold under center, the Panthers have a pair of players with more than 150 receiving yards after two games. One is D.J. Moore, who has 14 catches for a team-high 159 yards and a touchdown and will aims for his third consecutive 1,000-yard season. The other is running back Christian McCaffrey, who also has hauled in 14 passes for 154 yards while rushing 45 times for 170 yards and a score.
Why the Texans can cover
Houston is hoping for a similar performance to the one it had at home against Jacksonville in its season-opener. The Texans accumulated 449 total yards in the victory over the Jaguars while managing 302 at Cleveland on Sunday. They will have to rely on rookie quarterback Davis Mills, however, as Taylor reportedly could miss up to four weeks with his hamstring injury.
The 22-year-old Mills, who was selected out of Stanford in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, made his debut much earlier than expected, as he replaced Taylor at the start of the second half in the 31-21 loss to the Browns. He completed eight of his 18 attempts for 102 yards and threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks early in the fourth quarter to get the Texans with 24-21. Mills made half of his completions to Cooks, so expect him to look the veteran receiver’s way often on Thursday Night Football.
How to make Texans vs. Panthers picks
For Thursday Night Football, Hartstein is leaning Under the total, but he also says a critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s sharing it only at SportsLine.
So who wins Texans vs. Panthers on Thursday Night Football? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Panthers vs. Texans spread you should jump on, all from the NFL expert who’s an amazing 30-18 on picks involving Houston.