Thursday Night Football: Betting Texans vs. Panthers (Week 3 2021)

Odds, predictions, trends, and news for the Week 3 Thursday Night Football matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans.

Sam Darnold has escaped from Adam Gase's grip (Photo by Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire)

After placing Tyrod Taylor on IR with a hamstring injury, the Houston Texans will turn to rookie QB Davis Mills for their Week 3 Thursday Night Football clash with the Carolina Panthers.

Meanwhile, the Panthers are one of the early surprises of the 2021 season. They’ve started 2-0 with new quarterback Sam Darnold, who looks far better after pulling a Kurt Russell and escaping from New York.

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TNF Betting Details: Houston vs. Carolina

Point Spread: Carolina (-8.0) at Houston (Opened at -7.0)

Over/Under: 43 points (Opened at 43.5)

Moneyline: Carolina -400; Houston +325

BetIQ Win Odds: Carolina 78%

BetIQ NFL Predictions: Point Spread | Over/Under | Moneyline Value

Injury Report

Notable Thursday Night Football News

Davis Mills Gets The Start

With Taylor on IR, the Texans will turn to Mills, a third-round pick out of Stanford, as their starter. Deshaun Watson, who remains sidelined because of an ongoing legal investigation, will not be active.

Mills played the second half of Houston’s Week 2 loss to Cleveland and didn’t exactly stand out in his debut. He went 8-for-18 for 102 passing yards, threw an interception in the third quarter, and fumbled on a sack (though Houston recovered it).

Two years ago, we took a look at how first starts for non-first-round quarterbacks turned out, which may be of interest as you assess Mills’ outlook.

Panthers Defense Surges

The Carolina defense has gotten off to a great start in 2021. It currently ranks first in all of the following categories:

  • Points allowed (21)
  • Yards allowed (380)
  • First downs allowed (22)
  • Passing yards allowed (287)
  • Rushing yards allowed (93)
  • Yards per carry allowed (2.7)
  • Sacks (10)
  • Sack rate (14.5%)
  • QB hits (21)

Of course, two games don’t mean a ton, and we’ll see how that performance holds up as the Panthers face tougher competition over the course of the season. But Carolina’s defensive line and pass rush has been fierce so far, so a rookie like Mills could be in for a tough night.

Carolina’s defense faced the Jets and rookie QB Zach Wilson in Week 1. They then dominated the Saints last week, though New Orleans was without several offensive assistants. Still, holding a team coached by Sean Payton to six total first downs is typically an impressive feat.

Football Outsiders has Carolina ranked as the No. 1 team (before opponent adjustments) through two games on the strength of the defense.

Houston vs. Carolina Betting Trends

  • Thursday Road Favorites: There’s no compelling evidence that Thursday road teams perform worse than other road teams. Since 2012, road favorites of six or more points with the same amount of rest as the opponent are 10-1 SU and 7-3-1 ATS, though the small-sample-size warning is clearly in effect there.
  • Carolina as Favorite: Carolina has underperformed in recent years as a favorite. Since the start of the 2016 season, the Panthers are only 20-20 SU as a betting odds favorite, and 15-24-1 ATS. They did win and cover in their only game in that role so far this season.
  • Covering Dogs: The Texans have started 2-0 against the spread as an underdog in both games. Since 2011, teams that have started 2-0 ATS as dogs and are underdogs again in Week 3 are 4-8 SU and 5-5-2 ATS. The four that were dogs of more than a field goal went 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS.

TNF Stat Projections and Player Props

Using the most similar games from the last five seasons, where the spread was approximately 8.0 points and over/under was approximately 43.0 points, here are the average offensive statistics for teams like Carolina (favorite) and Houston (underdog).


Here are the most common over/under totals on some key players for Thursday Night Football:

Sam DarnoldCARPassing Yards265.5
Sam DarnoldCARCompletions23.5
Davis MillsHOUPassing Yards211.5
Christian McCaffreyCARRushing Yards82.5
Christian McCaffreyCARReceiving Yards49.5
Mark IngramHOURushing Yards35.5
David JohnsonHOUReceiving Yards17.5
Brandin CooksHOUReceiving Yards68.5
Brandin CooksHOUReceptions5.5
D.J. MooreCARReceptions5.5
Robby AndersonCARReceiving Yards43.5
Robby AndersonCARReceptions3.5

Sportsbook Promos

Here are some promotions available at various sportsbooks for Week 3:


  • Don’t Worry About Blown Leads: Moneyline bet is paid out as a winner if team is up by 10+ points at halftime


Caesars Sportsbook Links: CO | IN | IA | MI | NJ | TN | VA | WV

  • Thursday Boost: Christian McCaffrey Over 99.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards on Sep. 23 BOOSTED to +100 
  • Thursday Boost: Sam Darnold & Davis Mills Each Over 1.5 Pass TDs on Sep. 23 BOOSTED to +375 
  • Thursday Boost: Christian McCaffrey to Score 3 or More Touchdowns vs Texans on Sep. 23 BOOSTED to +650 
  • Thursday Boost: DJ Moore & David Johnson Each Score a Touchdown on Sep. 23 BOOSTED to +1000 
  • Thursday Boost: Brandin Cooks First Touchdown Scorer vs Panthers on Sep. 23 BOOSTED to +1000 
  • Thursday Boost: Robby Anderson, Mark Ingram & Terrace Marshall Jr. All Score a Touchdown on Sep. 23 BOOSTED to +7500 


  • New signups: Bonus of 20% on first deposit
  • New signups: Bet $1 on tonight’s game and get $150 in Free Bets Instantly


  • Risk-Free First Bet: Get a risk free first bet up to $1,000 when you deposit $10 or more


  • New signups: Get a deposit match for deposits of $150 to $250
  • Thursday Boost: +130 – Christian McCaffrey 125+ total yards and 1+ total TD (Boosted from +110)
  • Thursday Boost: +170 – Sam Darnold to have 250+ Passing Yards and 2+ Passing Touchdowns (Boosted from +150)
  • Thursday Boost: +300 – Brandin Cooks to have 50+ Receiving Yards and 1+ Touchdown (Boosted from +270)