Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans picks and predictions: Best TNF prop bets

Esten McLaren
Sportsbook Wire

The Carolina Panthers (2-0) visit the Houston Texans (1-1) for the Week 3 Thursday Night Football matchup at NRG Stadium. Kickoff will be at 8:20 p.m. ET. Below, we look at the Panthers vs. Texans prop bets, and make our best NFL picks, predictions and bets.

Texans QB Davis Mills, a third-round pick of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Stanford, takes center stage for the home underdogs in his first NFL start. He replaced the injured Tyrod Taylor last week and completed 8 of 18 attempts for 102 yards and a touchdown with an interception and a fumble.

The Panthers, led by star RB Christian McCaffrey and new QB Sam Darnold, suddenly look like contenders. They crushed the rival New Orleans Saints 26-7 last week. The defense has been very strong and forced 2 turnovers in Week 2.

Also see:Panthers at Texans odds, picks and prediction

Panthers at Texans prop bets, picks and predictions

Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports' betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 3:11 p.m. ET.

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey UNDER 19.5 rushing attempts (+100)

McCaffrey has 170 rushing yards on 45 carries and a league-high 324 yards from scrimmage through two games. While he's undoubtedly the No. 1 weapon in the Panthers offense, a Week 3 game in which the Panthers are 8.5-point favorites sets up as an early-season rest opportunity after his injury-plagued 2020 campaign.

The former All-Pro will help his team build an early lead, but he should get some time off in the second half ahead of what are likely to be more competitive games against the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in the next two weeks.

Fourth-round pick Chuba Hubbard received 8 carries in last week's win and should get another healthy dose in Houston.

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Texans QB Davis Mills UNDER 211.5 passing yards (-114)

The bet I want to make against Mills' NFL starting debut is Under 1.5 passing touchdowns but at -217 there just isn't enough of a reward. However, we can correlate the bookmakers' expectations there with better value for him to finish with 211 or fewer passing yards.

Carolina is second in the NFL through two games with just 4.9 passing yards per attempt allowed. Yes, it's just two games, but one of those was against the Saints and QB Jameis Winston, who racked up 5 passing TDs against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1.

Mills will have plenty of passing attempts with the Texans expected to be trailing for much of the game but the Panthers have held strong in garbage time thus far.

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Texans TE Pharaoh Brown OVER 1.5 receptions (-200)

Brown started both games and caught 4 of 5 targets for 67 yards in Week 1 before being targeted just once in the loss to the Browns.

Still, he proved himself to the coaching staff in the season opener and the rookie Mills should be directed to lean on the 6-foot-6 option to safely move the ball rather than take risks downfield to WRs Brandin Cooks or Chris Conley.

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