“How bout ‘dem Cowboys?” More like, “how is Dak Prescott?” The Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback will need to hit the ground running Thursday as he leads his team against the defending Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs kick off the 2021 NFL season as chalk per Las Vegas’ NFL odds.
|Game: Dallas Cowboys (0-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) |
Location: Raymond James StadiumDate: Thursday, September 9, 2021
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
|Dallas||+8 -110||+300||52 -110o||21½ -125o/-105u|
|Tampa Bay||-8 -110||-360||52 -110u||30 -115o/-115u|
The Dallas Cowboys may be underdogs but historically this franchise has beaten up on the Buccaneers. All-time, Dallas is 15-4 (13-4 regular season) against Tampa Bay and has won their last two meetings. But the Cowboys have not faced the Buccaneers with Tom Brady as the quarterback and all-time, Brady is unbeaten (5-0) against Dallas.
Next game: at Los Angeles Chargers
The Cowboys had a brutal 2020 thanks to a rash of injuries. Dallas finished with a 6-10 record and missed the playoffs for a second straight season. Cowboys fans would have lost plenty when betting online on their team. However, the Cowboys did close the year strong winning three of their final four games.
Where to begin? Quarterback Dak Prescott is going to go but has been batling a shoulder injury. Other notable absences also include defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (back) and a handful of COVID absences: star lineman Zack Martin and backup Brandon Knight along with wideout Noah Brown.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Next game: vs Atlanta Falcons
It looks like last season went okay for Brady and the Buccaneers. Oh yes, they only upset the almighty Kansas City Chiefs and won the Super Bowl. In fact, those who bet sports online could have cashed out like bank robbers if they bet the Buccaneers in the offseason. Tampa Bay was 7-5 at one point in the season but went unbeaten (8-0) to finish the season.
Tampa Bay will be missing a few backups but the most notable one would be running back Giovani Bernard, listed as “questionable” with an ankle injury. WR Antonio Brown (knee) is also banged up but has been taking reps in practice.
Betting on the Game
The line quickly moved toward the Buccaneers. It originally opened at 6.5 points but is now at eight points. There is plenty of money going both ways but the Buccaneers have received stauncher support.
Dallas was the worst NFL picks against the spread (ATS) last season with a 5-11 record. As a road underdog, the Cowboys covered one game out of five (1-4). The Cowboys have also not covered when facing Tampa Bay in its last three meetings dating to the 2015 season.
Tampa Bay, on the other hand, went 9-7 ATS but 5-2 in their final seven regular-season games. If we include the playoffs, the Buccaneers went 9-3 ATS in its final dozen games.
Conventional wisdom points to the latter version of the Buccaneers being the “true version” of the team. Once Brady & Co. acclimated to Bruce Arians’ system, the Buccaneers were rolling. The Cowboys are on the other boat as they will be working Prescott back slowly and will also miss their best guard in Martin.
This will allow the Buccaneers to start fast and “punch the Cowboys in the mouth” as they build up an insurmountable lead to cover the spread.
Tampa Bay sits as a -360 betting favorite with the comeback on Dallas at +300. Like the spread, the line has moved toward the Buccaneers as they opened at -280. Dallas opened at +230.
Everyone outside of Tampa Bay was burned by Brady last season as the ageless legend continued to prove it is unwise betting against him. Bettors are taking that to heart and siding with his Buccaneers as they look to kick off the 2021 NFL season with a big win.
No team has repeated as Super Bowl champs since the Tom Brady led Patriots in 2003 & 2004
— GOAT (@TomBradyEgo) September 6, 2021
Dallas has never beaten Brady though they have won their most recent game against Tampa Bay (December 2018). The Cowboys will be hard-pressed to slow down the Buccaneers’ offense as Dallas’s defense surrendered the fifth-most points last season.
The team is also missing its top edge rusher in Lawrence and the linebackers and secondary are pedestrian at best. On offense, Dallas will miss Martin’s run-blocking prowess. It may be up to Prescott to outduel Brady, which is a tall task to ask of the rehabbing signal-caller.
Unlike the point spread and moneyline, the totals (over/under) here have not moved as much. This could become a shootout or a one-sided affair for the Buccaneers. That is the path to the totals going “over”. Tampa may even account for 30 to 40 points of the totals if Dallas’s defense can’t keep up with the Bucs’ offense.
On the flip side, the Bucs could neutralize Dallas’s offense entirely. Tampa has one the best front-sevens and its secondary should be able to hold its own against Dallas’s talented wideouts. More than likely, this could be lower scoring than the 52 points slated on the sportsbook.