Carolina Panthers vs. Houston Texans
Date/Time: September 29, 1 p.m. ET
TV Coverage: FOX
Opening Odds: Houston -4 | O/U 46
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The Panthers’ fans probably thought that this season is already over after a 0-2 start and Cam Newton’s foot injury. However, backup quarterback Kyle Allen restored their hope with a comfortable win over the Arizona Cardinals on the road. Allen is facing a tough test in Week 4 against the Houston Texans and their sturdy home defense. He will have to work a lot to prove he is not just a one-week wonder.
Opening Odds Analysis
The spread line opened with -4 on the Houston Texans, considering they are looking better early in the season and are playing in front of their fans. Bettors believe in Deshaun Watson more than in Kyle Allen early on, and that’s the main reason the line has shifted to Houston -4.5. The total hasn’t changed from its opening 46, as both offenses displayed strong performances in Week 3.
Carolina Panthers News and Notes
Although the Panthers’ fans practically gave up after going into the season with a 0-2 record and with Cam Newton aggravating his foot injury, backup QB Kyle Allen led Carolina to a 38-20 road win over Arizona. Newton is in jeopardy to even miss the rest of the season with a potential Lisfranc injury – a condition in which the ligaments in the foot rupture and cause instability. This diagnosis is not confirmed yet, but for this game, head coach Ron Rivera will hand another start to Allen.
Allen completed 19 of 26 passes for 261 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions, while Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey impressed with 188 total yards, including an incredible 76-yard touchdown run. Tight end Greg Olsen was Allen’s primary weapon at Arizona as the veteran recorded 75 yards and a couple of TDs. Still, he is struggling with a minor back injury and is facing the Texans defense which is the 7th in the NFL against tight ends.
Carolina is averaging 20.50 points per game so far (15th in the NFL) and is facing Houston’s defense that is allowing 21.00 points per contest (17th). Considering that the Texans didn’t allow more than 24 points at home in the last 11 games, the visitors could struggle here.
Houston Texans News and Notes
After a tight home victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Houston Texans upset the odds with a 27-20 road win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Deshaun Watson delivered a big passing display, but surprisingly, none of his three TD passes went to star wideout DeAndre Hopkins. Watson completed 25 of 34 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns, and he connected with two tight ends for scores. Jordan Akins scored two touchdowns (3/73 on the day), while Darren Fells had five receptions for 49 yards and one score.
The offensive line did a great job in protecting their QB who was sacked just twice, and if they continue with good work, Watson will be extremely hard to handle, given his scrambling ability and quick legs. Lamar Miller is on the injured reserve list with a knee injury, which means that Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde will continue to split work in the backfield.
Houston has a top 5 rushing offense, averaging 153.00 yards per contest, and the hosts should have a relatively easy job against the Panthers’ defense that is letting 133.00 yards (26th) to the opposing runners. Watson could struggle as Carolina’s D is much better when it comes to defending passes, allowing just 186.00 yards per game (2nd).
3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall
2-6 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win
0-4 ATS in their last four games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game
14-3 ATS in their last 17 games in Week 4
4-1 ATS in their last five home games vs. a team with a losing road record
Betting Pick: Houston -4.5
Houston is a way better team than Arizona, and I don’t think Carolina will score more than 20 points in this one. The Texans could find it hard to move the chains through the air, but their rushing offense is among the best in the NFL. I am backing Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson, and of course, Deshaun Watson (two rushing TDs already) to run the show and cover the spread.