This Week 3 Thursday Night Football matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans is the story of two teams with new quarterbacks and reasons for optimism. Let's hope it lives up to last week's standard, as last week's TNF battle did not disappoint. The Giants and the Football Team gave us plenty of action, and hopefully, you were able to cash on some of the wagers in last week's article, including the lotto ticket for a Daniel Jones rushing TD that paid +450.
This week’s matchup appears to be more one-sided, at least according to SI Sportsbook. Here’s what’s on tap for tonight.
- Moneyline: Carolina (-450) | Houston (+310)
- Spread: Carolina -8 (-111 | Houston +8 (-111)
- Total: 43 - Over: (-111) | Under (-111)
- Game Info: September 23, 2021, 8:50 pm ET | NFL Network
As you've probably heard by now, Tyrod Taylor's bad luck continues. After starting the season in career-best form (Taylor currently has the league-best QB ranking at 84.6), Taylor officially hit the IR yesterday, and he will miss a minimum of three weeks with a hamstring injury. Deshaun Watson is still inactive, and rookie Davis Mills will get the start Thursday night. The third-round pick out of Stanford entered the game on Sunday after Taylor left, completing 8-of-18 for 102 yards, a touchdown, and one pick. The Texans lost to the Browns 31–21, covering the 12.5 point spread and moving their record to 1-1.
On the other side, the 2-0 Carolina Panthers have been dominant across their first two games. Sam Darnold is proving to be a serviceable QB in an offense that runs around superstar RB Christian McCaffrey while the Panthers' defense has been stout. The Panthers have allowed only 21 points across two games this year while scoring only 45. The majority of the money is coming in on the Panthers' side of this game, making a good value if you like the Texans here with the line moving to +8 for Houston after opening at +4.5.
I agree the points total will be low, and I am taking the UNDER on 4.5 total touchdowns scored at -110.
With that said, why not bet on all four of them? All odds are taken from the SI Sportsbook.
(Note: Odds subject to change)
Christian McCaffrey anytime TD (-250)
This one is almost too easy. McCaffrey is, quite simply, a stud. Last week he saw 78% of the red zone opportunities and 100% of the red zone rushes for Carolina. McCaffrey carries a huge workload and is a threat both on the ground and through the air, already combining for 324 all-purpose yards on the season. The Houston run defense is easy to run over, and McCaffrey will find pay dirt Thursday night. There’s a lot of juice on this bet for a reason.
D.J. Moore anytime TD (+130)
Look no further than DJ Moore if you'd like a better return betting on a Carolina touchdown. Moore has quickly become Sam Darnold's favorite target, seeing 19 targets across the season's first two games for 159 yards and a score. Moore has been playing 85% of the snaps, and this Houston secondary got lit up by Marvin Jones, Jr. and DJ Chark two weeks ago.
Brandin Cooks anytime TD (+170)
Cooks is on track for yet another 1,000-yard season. This will be his sixth if you're counting. The veteran WR has already earned 21 targets for 14 catches, 210 yards, and a score. That score was a two-yard connection with QB Davis Mills. Not only did Cooks' targets double from seven to 14 in Week 2, but he also leads the league with 303 air yards. Nico Collins is on the IR, Danny Amendola is unlikely to suit up, and Cooks will be the guy that Davis Mills looks for on Thursday.
Phillip Lindsay anytime TD (+340)
This Texans backfield is a three-headed monster, and the Carolina run defense has been the best in the league so far this year. So, yes, this is a lotto ticket. Mark Ingram and David Johnson have flip-flopped in usage from Week 1 to Week 2, but Phillip Lindsay's usage has remained steady. Lindsay is playing on 25% of snaps, but he has a TD in each game so far, one rushing and one receiving. I'm betting Lindsay is the goal-line back this week, and he sneaks one in again despite the Panthers' strong run defense.