Panthers vs. Texans Prediction
The lone game on the NFL preseason docket tonight is expected to be a close, low-scoring affair according to oddsmakers. But will the Panthers knock off the Texans?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Carolina Panthers are a 1.5-point home favorite versus the Houston Texans, while the over-under is set at 36. The spread opened with the Panthers set as a 3-point favorite and the over-under was previously at 37.
HOUSTON TEXANS: As a team entering camp with a quarterback battle, the Texans will be an interesting team to watch this preseason as Tom Savage and rookie first round draft pick Deshaun Watson will each get ample opportunity to show why they should be the man behind center when the regular season opens. Savage is the early favorite to begin the season as the starter due to experience and knowledge of the offense, while the upside of the promising Watson means he is almost certainly the quarterback of the future. The Texans sported one of the top defenses in the NFL last year and will make life difficult for the Panthers when the starters are in.
CAROLINA PANTHERS: Cam Newton has been ruled out for this game, which is smart with a quarterback of his caliber who has had recent injury issues. Several other veterans will likely join him on the inactive list. Veteran backup Derek Anderson and third-stringer Joe Webb are in line to see much of the quarterback reps, while Garrett Gilbert should also see time in the second half. Don’t expect to see a lot of trickery out of the Panthers in preseason week one. Run the basics and try to get out of the game healthy
while evaluating talent in a game setting. Injuries were a huge issue in the Carolina’s decline last year and it would be nice if it could stay relatively healthy during the “meaningless” games.
Our Prediction: Never expect shootouts in the preseason, with the one exception being perhaps in week three when starters typically see their most time. This game has low-scoring affair written all over it, from the Texans’ QB uncertainty and strong defense to Newton being out for the Panthers. Carolina went 2-2 in the 2016 preseason, with its home games being a 19-17 loss to New England and an 18-6 win over Pittsburgh. Houston was 4-0 during last year’s preseason with three of those wins being by double digits. We’ll take the Panthers at home in what should be a close game without a whole lot of scoring.
NFL PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: CAROLINA PANTHERS -1.5