The Carolina Panthers are rarely road favorites of a TD or more (just four times in franchise history) but that is the situation as they head to Houston for the Week 3 Thursday Nighter. The game opened at -3 for Carolina but was bet up to -8.5 by Tuesday at Draft Kings sportsbook.
The Panthers are off to a scorching hot start. They are 2-0 and coming off a statement win against the New Orleans Saints. They won 26-7 and completely shut Jameis Winston down.
Davis Mills will get his first career NFL start for the Texans after Tyrod Taylor was placed on IR Tuesday morning. Mills was drafted in the third round this year and will look to lead an offense that has already put up 58 points through two games.
Neither team has rewarded bettors on Thursday, as the Texans are 3-9 ATS and Panthers are 2-9-1 ATS. There are UNDER trends at play here according to Trend Dummy’s database dive (see list of trends below).
Why Carolina Panthers can cover the spread
The Panthers are currently first in team DVOA, an analytic metric Football Outsiders uses to rank the league. Not only are they first in team DVOA, but they are also first in defensive DVOA.
They have only allowed 21 points through two games, and only 190 yards per game. The 190 yards allowed per game is first in the NFL and 44 yards fewer than the second-place Buffalo Bills.
Sam Darnold has been great through two games. Darnold is 6th in the league in QBR and looks like the quarterback the Jets took with the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady has done a terrific simplifying the offense for Darnold.
Carolina has covered the spread in seven straight road games.
Why Houston Texans can cover the spread
The Texans have not been the dumpster fire that many people predicted. The win in Week 1 was impressive, and only losing by 10 points against the Browns on the road isn’t the worst outcome in the world.
Their offense has been interesting to watch. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly is using a pistol formation offense that has caught teams off guard. They are 10th in the NFL in points per game. Davis Mills had his struggles last week but he was coming in halfway through the game against a tough Browns defense. He still had 102 yards and a touchdown in spot duty.
The Texans have been terrific for bettors in the role of underdog, rolling to a 6-1 ATS mark in their last 7 games when playing as the underdog
Panthers Texans Betting Pick
The overreaction to the Panthers through two weeks is funny to watch. Many experts did not have them in the playoffs, and now they are 8.5 point favorites on the road? The Panthers win but the Texans cover.
Anytime TD Prop Picks
D.J Moore +110
I am not big on taking anyone less than +125, but Moore has been awesome. He has 159 yards on 14 catches and a touchdown through two weeks.
Brandin Cooks +200
Cooks is easily the best offensive player on the Texans. He already has 21 targets through two games and had the touchdown reception from Davis Mills last week.
Longshot: Sam Darnold +310
My longshot bet of the night is Darnold finding the end zone. He had a rushing touchdown in Week 1 and is a big-bodied quarterback primed for quarterback sneaks.
Carolina Houston Betting Trends
This is the biggest road favorite number for Carolina since Dec. 27, 2015 when they were -7 at Atlanta and lost. Carolina has only been favored by a TD or more on the road four times in their history! All four games played UNDER.
Panthers 7-0 ATS past 7 road games
Carolina has played 5 straight games UNDER
Panthers 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 games played on a Thursday.
Texans 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games.
Texans 3-12 SU in their last 15 games played in Week 3.
Texans 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games played on a Thursday.
Texans 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games when playing as the underdog
The last 6 times Houston was a home dog of TD or more, they gave up at least 33 points.