It’s a new week in the 2021 NFL season, which means that it’s time for another Thursday Night Football matchup. This week’s contest will be played between the Carolina Panthers (2-0) and the Houston Texans (1-1).
It’s a matchup between two teams that are doing a lot better than others thought they’d do before the 2021 campaign even begin. The Panthers are off to a hot 2-0 start, looking like a completely different team from last year. At the same time, the Texans are currently in a tie for the AFC South lead with a 1-1 record. Which team will keep the momentum going after Thursday Night Football?
Read on for betting odds (Bovada) and analysis as to what you can expect.
Panthers vs Texans General Information
Tonight’s matchup will be played at NRG Stadium in NRG Stadium — home of the Texans. Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. EST and the game can be viewed on the NFL Network, as well as multiple streaming platforms.
Thursday Night Football: Panthers vs Texans Odds
Odds via Bovada as of Thursday, September 23
- Carolina Panthers (2-0) vs Houston Texans (1-1)
- Moneyline: Panthers (-420) vs Texans (+315)
- Spread: Panthers -8.0 (-115) vs Texans +8.0 (-105)
- Total: 43.0 — Over (-110), Under (-110)
Complete odds list and prop bets available at Bovada.
Panthers Projected to Go 3-0
The Panthers will enter their Thursday Night Football matchup as the -420 favorites over the Texans. As mentioned before, Carolina has shocked a lot of people this season as it’s coming off of a Week 2 26-7 win over the New Orleans Saints. Part of the reason why the Panthers have had such a successful start is because of Sam Darnold’s play. The former New York Jets QB has looked like a different player since joining his new team, completing 68.5% of his passes over the first two weeks for 584 yards and three touchdowns to an interception.
Another reason why the Panthers have been successful has to do with finally having running back Christian McCaffrey back in the backfield after he missed a majority of the previous season. McCaffrey has been electric this season, rushing for 170 yards and a touchdown on 45 attempts while also hauling in 14 receptions for another 154 yards. In other words, he should be fine against a Texans defense that’s given up 116 rushing yards per game in 2021 (17th).
Another thing to mention is how good Carolina’s defense has been, surrendering just 10.5 points per game — ranking first in the NFL heading into Thursday Night Football. That’s great news considering how the Texans will be starting rookie QB Davis Mills tonight now that Tyrod Taylor has been placed on the injured reserve. If the Panthers can get to Mills early and often, they could take control of the game before it truly gets started.
Texans Thursday Night Football Odds
Even after an impressive 1-1 start to the season, the Texans are still the +315 underdogs ahead of tonight’s game. A big part of that has to do with them starting Mills against the Panthers. The 22-year-old third-round pick made his NFL debut in relief for Taylor last weekend, throwing 102 passing yards for a touchdown and an interception. While that seems decent on paper, it’s important to note that he completed just 44.4% of his passing attempts, which isn’t going to cut it in the NFL.
The Texans might also have a weakened secondary tonight. Free safety Justin Reid is listed as questionable for tonight’s matchup while cornerback Terrance Mitchell has officially been ruled out. That isn’t great news considering how the Panthers are currently averaging 282 passing yards per game (9th) on an average of 36.5 attempts (12th). After what Carolina did to New Orleans’ defense last week, the Texans defenders need to have a performance of a lifetime to continue their surprising start to the year. While it’s not necessarily a “must-win” game, a victory would provide more separation in a division that Houston was never expected to be competitive in, in the first place.