Carolina Panthers (2-0) at Houston Texans (1-1)
Both of these teams are unappealing to bet this week. The Panthers are 2-0, but they beat a terrible Jets team by 5 and then got a Saints team that was predictably flat after an emotional week one victory and that was also missing a significant amount of their coaching staff. Their defense could continue being an above average unit, but I still don’t trust their quarterback or offensive line and they’re not the kind of team that should be favorites of more than a touchdown on the road against anyone.
On the other hand, the Texans have one of the worst rosters in the league and now, one of their few bright spots, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, is injured and will be replaced by raw rookie Davis Mills, who looked lost in relief of Taylor last week against the Browns, entering a tied game and losing by 10 in a game in which the Texans lost the first down rate battle by 11.26%. The Texans beat the Jaguars week one, but the Jaguars are probably one of the worst five teams in the league and that was with Taylor.
Given the rest of this roster and how raw Mills is, this team reminds me of the winless 2017 Browns, who failed to cover in all but four games while being quarterbacked by Deshone Kizer and Kevin Hogan. For future betting purposes, I hope the Panthers are able to cover and win big against a terrible Texans team, so they remain overrated for future bets, but my numbers actually have the Texans as the right side at +9, even if barely. If this line was at -7.5 where it was earlier this week, I would take the Panthers. That’s how close this is for me and how little I have confidence in either side.
Carolina Panthers 20 Houston Texans 12
Pick against the spread: Houston +9