Thursday Night Football Player Prop Bets Week 3 – Panthers vs. Texans
The Carolina Panthers will travel to Houston to take on the Texans in this week’s Thursday night matchup. It’s still early, but Carolina looks like a real dark horse in the NFC. They are in position to move to 3-0 on Thursday.
Houston has looked better than expected, but Tyrod Taylor is out with a hamstring injury.
How will this battle play out for individual players? Let’s check out my favorite player prop bets.
Brandin Cooks Under 72.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
Brandin Cooks likely won’t receive much recognition because he plays for the Houston Texans. However, he is off to a great start this season.
- Week 1: 132 yards
- Week 2: 78 yards
He is the beneficiary of better-than-expected quarterback play and lack of competition for targets. Unfortunately, his quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, will miss this game with a hamstring injury. That means third-round pick Davis Mills will start.
Mills was okay in relief for Taylor last week. He went 8/18 with 102 yards. Mills also had one touchdown and one interception.
My concern for Mills, which also applies to Cooks, is the Panthers’ defense.
Through two weeks, Carolina has the number one pass defense. They had their way with rookie Zach Wilson in Week 1. Last week, they held the Saints to just 111 passing yards.
The Panthers’ elite secondary, featuring Donte Jackson, Jeremy Chinn, and Juston Burris, is showing out early. I think they’ll have another big game against Mills and the Texans’ offense.
I think it’ll be a tough night for Mills and the Texans’ offense. Unless Cooks can catch a deep ball, I don’t see him hitting 72.5 receiving yards.
Mark Ingram Under 35.5 Rushing Yards (-115)
Coming into the season, we had no idea who the Houston Texans lead back would be. David Johnson and Phillip Lindsey were the early favorites, but no one really knew.
In Week 1, Houston surprised everyone by giving Mark Ingram 26 carries. He didn’t have as big of a workload in Week 2, but 14 carries still marked a team-high.
Through two weeks, it’s safe to say Ingram is the lead back. So, the lead back should be able to muster 35.5 yards, right? Well, I don’t know about that.
Ingram may be the lead back, but his yards depend on volume. His 40 carries rank fifth in the league, and his 126 yards are 15th. Now guess where his 3.2 yards per carry rank.
Do you remember when I said the Panthers have the best pass defense? They also have the best run defense.
They’ve yet to allow a rusher to gain more than 25 yards on the ground. That includes holding Alvin Kamara to five yards on eight carries.
The only way Ingram receives a ton of volume is if the Texans control the game. I really don’t see that happening, and I expect the Panthers’ defense to have their way.
Christian McCaffrey Over 45.5 Receiving Yards (-120)
Last week, I bet on Christian McCaffrey going over 43.5 receiving yards. On the second play of the game, he had a 32-yard reception. Let’s just say there wasn’t much sweating with that bet.
Everyone wondered if McCaffrey’s role would change with Sam Darnold taking over. So far, McCaffrey continues to excel in the passing game.
- Week 1: 89 receiving yards
- Week 2: 65 receiving yards
Honestly, I can’t believe the sportsbooks haven’t adjusted this prop to over 50 yards yet.
The Carolina Panthers don’t rotate running backs, so the backfield is basically McCaffrey’s. Therefore, he will accrue all of the running back receiving yards.
In Week 1, the Jacksonville Jaguars running backs had 43 receiving yards. Last week, the Cleveland Browns backfield had 56 receiving yards, with third-string running back Demetric Felton scoring on a 33-yard catch and run.
Honestly, the only way I don’t see McCaffrey hitting this is if the Panthers take an early lead and go run-heavy. However, they dominated their last game, and McCaffrey still had plenty of work in the pass game.
Because of that, there’s no need to worry about a limited workload.
Keep riding the hot hand of the Panthers’ lead back.
DJ Moore Over 67.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
Coming into the season, everyone was looking forward to the reunion of Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson. However, DJ Moore has completely run away with the WR1 role.
To be fair, maybe we should’ve seen it coming. Darnold always favored his slot receiver with the New York Jets. Moore is the best receiver he has ever played with.
This season, the duo is off to a great start.
Moore went for six catches and 80 yards in Week 1. He backed that up with eight receptions for 79 yards. His 14 receptions rank just outside the top 10.
Darnold has taken a liking to Moore. And what helps Moore’s ability to hit the over is his big-play potential. Dating back to last season, Moore’s longest reception in a game is at least 20 yards in six of his last eight games. That includes four games with a reception over 35 yards.
The Panthers haven’t been afraid to let Darnold air it out. His longest completion has been over 30 yards in each game.
In their first two games, the Houston Texans have allowed a pass-catcher to have the longest reception of at least 29 yards four times. I think Moore becomes the fifth on his way to over 67.5 receiving yards.
Sam Darnold Under 34.5 Pass Attempts (-125)
It’s still early in the season, but Sam Darnold has really impressed me. I thought the former New York Jets was a bust, and a trade wouldn’t do much to his value. However, he has proved me wrong and looks strong in the Carolina Panthers offense.
Even with Christian McCaffrey in the backfield, the Panthers haven’t limited Darnold’s attempts.
- Week 1: 35 attempts
- Week 2: 38 attempts
I don’t expect them to limit him this week, but I think we’ll see them drop just a little bit.
For starters, I think the Panthers will control this game. There’s no need to go pass-heavy with the game in full control.
Last week, they had full control of the game, and they still attempted 38 passes. However, the New Orleans Saints have enough firepower to make a comeback. The Houston Texans can’t say the same with a rookie quarterback.
In my mind, this is a McCaffrey game. I think the Panthers will ride him and may even get rookie Chuba Hubbard into the game.
I think we’ll see Darnold’s attempts in the upper 20s. They may sneak into the 30s, but unless I’m completely wrong about the landscape of this game, I don’t see a reason to go pass-heavy.
My Top Panthers vs. Texans Prop Bet for Week 3
- Christian McCaffrey Anytime Touchdown Scorer (-250)
I made sure to save this one for the end. I’ve been talking about how high I am on the Panthers’ offense. I fully believe they control this game, and McCaffrey is going to be their top guy.
Once they get inside the 10, it’s all McCaffrey. He has a great chance to score through the air or on the ground.
If you’d like to bet on this game, check out Dan Vasta’s prediction and pick.