Panthers vs. Texans Betting Picks & Odds: Is Houston Undervalued at Home?

Panthers vs. Texans Betting Picks & Odds: Is Houston Undervalued at Home? article feature image

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyle Allen

Panthers at Texans Betting Picks & Odds

  • Spread: Texans -4
  • Over/Under: 47.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Odds as of Thursday and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Cam Newton (foot) is out for a second consecutive game, but backup quarterback Kyle Allen thrived in relief with four touchdowns in the Panthers’ 38-20 win over the Cardinals last week. Can Allen repeat that success on the road against Houston?

Our experts cover the most important angles of this game, including Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a staff pick.

Panthers-Texans Injury Report

The Panthers could be without DT Kawann Short, who ranks second on the team in pressure rate, with a shoulder injury for a second consecutive game. CB Donte Jackson (groin) also missed practice on Thursday, which could be good news for the Texans’ high-powered receivers if Carolina is short-handed in the secondary.

Everyone on the Texans except OL Seantrel Henderson (illness) is trending towards playing. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Christian McCaffrey vs. Panthers Defense

The Texans defense has been shockingly poor against the run after ranking first overall in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA in 2018. They’ve dropped to the 14th most efficient rush defense and were gashed by Alvin Kamara (7.5 yards per carry) and Latavius Murray (7.2 YPC) in Week 1.

Now the Texans face McCaffrey, who ranks second among all running backs with 318 rushing yards.

panthers-texans-betting-odds-pick-preview-nfl-week 4-2019
Mark J. Rebilas-USA Today Sports. Pictured: Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey should also thrive in the passing game. He has taken 59 of 62 of the running back carries and 21 of the 22 Carolina running back targets, a combined 95% of the team’s running back touches. That should bode well against a Houston defense that has allowed the second-most receptions (24) and sixth-most receiving yards to opposing running backs this season.

Allen was superb (261 passing yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions) in Carolina’s 38-20 win at Arizona last week. Look for him to produce another efficient performance with McCaffrey at the center of the offense yet again.

The Texans were able to limit the Chargers backfield duo of Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson to 14 carries for 62 rushing yards. However, they did allow Ekeler to have seven reception on seven targets for 45 receiving yards.

With Newton still sidelined, the key to a Houston win centers around stopping McCaffrey, both in the rushing and passing game. — Mike Randle

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Texans -4
  • Projected Total: 47.5

Last week I docked the Panthers only 2-2.5 points for the switch from Newton to Allen while the market moved the line from Panthers -2.5 to Cardinals -2.5 — a full five-point swing.

After watching some film on Allen I realized that he was definitely being undervalued, so Panthers +2.5 became one of my top bets of Week 3. But now that the public saw Allen light up the Cardinals for a 38-20 victory, it looks like the public might have over adjusted the other way.

We need to be very cautious about evaluating a team’s offense immediately after facing a porous Cardinals defense. I have the Texans as 5.5-point favorites here, which means there’s some value on them at -4 — and this is coming from someone who was admittedly bullish on the Allen-led Panthers a week ago.

The Panthers are fairly stout against the pass, but more vulnerable against the run. Still, the Texans aren’t equipped to take advantage of that with a backfield featuring Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. It’s a bit telling that they brought in C.J. Anderson to try out this week — they’re aware their glaring weakness is going to prevent them from attacking the Panthers on the ground.

This sets up as an ideal under. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Texans -4

This pick comes down to the Texans passing offense vs. the Panthers passing defense.

The Texans have probably the league’s best quartet of wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, Kenny Stills and Keke Coutee. The Panthers, meanwhile, are No. 27 in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA.

panthers-texans-betting-odds-pick-preview-nfl-week 4-2019
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson.

As I mention in my Week WR/CB matchup piece, I expect cornerback James Bradberry to tail Hopkins. In his three-plus seasons as a shadow man, Bradberry has been very inconsistent. He either completely shuts down his receiver 100%, or he gets dominated by his opponent. Given Hopkins’ incredible technical skills as a route runner and his physical dominance on contested catches, I’m expecting ‘Nuk’ to blow up Bradberry’s spot.

Cornerback Donte Jackson has the speed (4.32-second 40-yard dash) to keep pace with Fuller, but Jackson is still somewhat raw as he enters his second season. For his career, he’s allowed a 68.8% catch rate, and when he’s bad, he’s very bad: Last year, he had four games with at least five receptions and 100 yards allowed. He can be exploited, and Fuller is likely to beat him for a big play at some point. The fourth-year wideout ranks No. 13 in the league with 310 air yards.

In the slot, Stills and Coutee should be able to get open against cornerback Ross Cockrell, who allowed six reception on eight targets last week.

I like the Texans to put up points at home.

While Allen has looked good for the Panthers in his two career starts, I’m not ready to think of him as a starter-level quarterback based on two starts against hobbled defenses.

The Texans at home against a vulnerable secondary and a backup quarterback? Yeah, I’ll lay the points. I’d bet this to -5.5 if necessary.

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