The Carolina Panthers will attempt to remain perfect when they take on the Houston Texans in a key Thursday Night Football matchup. The Panthers are coming off a season-opening 19-14 victory over the New York Jets and a 26-7 triumph over New Orleans last Sunday. Meanwhile, the Texans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-21 in Week 1 before falling to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. With that being said, it's time to continue our NFL odds series and make a Panthers-Texans prediction and pick.

Here's how the bookmakers have set the odds:

NFL Odds: Panthers-Texans Odds

Panthers: -7.5 (-110)
Texans: +7.5 (-110)
Over: 44 (-110)
Under: 44 (-110)

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Why The Panthers Could Cover the Spread

The Carolina Panthers are off to a terrific start to their 2021 campaign. Quarterback Sam Darnold is completing 68.5 percent of his passes. He threw for 305 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in their Week 2 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Running back Christian McCaffrey looks like his old self before the injury. He finished with 137 yards from scrimmage, including 72 yards rushing against the Saints.

In his last meeting with the Texans, McCaffrey rushed for 93 yards, a touchdown and 10 catches for 86 yards.

Carolina's defense is allowing only 10.5 points and 190 yards per game this season. Shaq Thompson leads the Panthers with 14 tackles, Hasson Reddick has three sacks, and Jaycee Horn has one interception. Some may argue that statistically, the Panthers have the best defense in the league across the board through two games. The Texans have also lost six of their last nine home games. Additionally, the Panthers are 7-0 against the spread in their previous seven road games and 4-1 against the spread in their last five games overall.

Why The Texans Could Cover the Spread

The Texans made a statement in Week 1 after all the off-the-field drama regarding former quarterback Deshaun Watson. Newly appointed quarterback Tyrod Taylor has stepped up in a big way through the season's first two games. Taylor is completing 70.5 percent of his passes for 416 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, due to a hamstring injury to Taylor, the Texans will start Davis Mills at quarterback. In his NFL debut on Sunday, Mills completed 8-of-18 passes for 102 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the loss to Cleveland.

Defensively, Houston is allowing 26 points and 375 yards per game. Zach Cunningham leads the Texans with 13 tackles, Whitney Mercilus has one sack and Justin Reid has two interceptions. The Texans have played about a game and a half of excellent football, and Mills looked respectable at quarterback. The Panthers are the better team; however, they are also 3-7-1 against the spread in their last 11 games as a favorite of five or more points.

Final Panthers-Texans Prediction & Pick

Away teams are at a natural disadvantage on Thursday night because they must travel and get one less day in an already condensed week to prepare. However, this will be a big game for Davis Mills as the national spotlight will be on him for the first time in his young career.

The Panthers' offense is red-hot, and the Texans' defense allows at least 26 points per game. If Mills cannot keep up offensively with the Panthers and has a few turnovers, then this game can get out of hand early. I would ride the better team with the points on Thursday night.

FINAL PICK: Panthers -7.5