Seven teams enter Week 3 of the 2021 NFL schedule with 2-0 records, and the most surprising one is the Carolina Panthers. After posting a mere five victories last year, Carolina has won its first two games for just the eighth time in its 27-year history. The Panthers will aim for their fifth 3-0 start when they visit the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football. Carolina last won its first three contests in 2015, when it reeled off an astounding 14 consecutive victories en route to a 15-1 record and third straight NFC South title.
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 -8Texans vs. Panthers over-under: 43 pointsTexans vs. Panthers money line: Carolina -400, Houston +310CAR: Panthers have covered seven straight road gamesHOU: Texans are 4-0 against the spread in their last four contests as underdogsWhy the Panthers can cover
Carolina came up with a strong defensive effort against New Orleans last Sunday and recorded its first division win of 2021, matching its total from each of the previous two seasons. The Panthers allowed only six first downs in the 26-7 victory and limited the Saints to just 128 total yards, including 48 on the ground. They sacked New Orleans quarterback Jameis Winston four times and intercepted him twice while stopping the Saints on nine of their 11 third-down attempts.
One of the Panthers’ top defensive players in Sunday’s win was Haason Reddick, who recorded 1.5 sacks to double his season total and climb into a tie for third-most in the league. The 26-year-old linebacker, who signed a one-year contract in March after spending his first four NFL seasons with Arizona, registered a career-high and team-leading 12.5 sacks with the Cardinals last year. Reddick was the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft after playing four years at Temple under Panthers current head coach Matt Rhule.
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.