The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had 31 players last year play at least 200 snaps. All 31 of those players will return for the 2021 season, which means continuity and stability heading into Week 1.
They open defense of their Super Bowl trophy against the Dallas Cowboys, who have been a nice moneyline play as regular-season road underdog of seven points or more. That’s the situation as they sat as 7.5 point underdogs early this week over at new NFP sponsor FanDuel Sportsbook (which is offering generous bonus offers and perks for new bettors this week).
Since 2009, the Cowboys have been in this situation as big road dogs nine times and won outright 6 times! The OVER has prevailed 7 of the past 8 times for Dallas in this situation, which means the trends (according to our colleague Trend Dummy, who points out that Super Bowl winners almost always win their season opener the next year) point to DOG and OVER.
Dak Prescott returns from injury and Tom Brady aims for his umpteenth Super Bowl berth.
Why Dallas can cover the spread
The Cowboys’ offense was not the same without Prescott last season. They finished 24th efficiency according to Football Outsiders, after finishing 2nd in 2019. When Prescott was healthy, the Cowboys put up electric offensive numbers. Prescott threw for 1690 passing yards in just four complete games. That’s good for 422 yards per game.
The defensive side of the ball is where the question marks emerge for the Cowboys. Dan Quinn takes over for Mike Nolan after the Cowboys finished 23rd in defensive efficiency. They drafted Micah Parsons in the first round and are banking on guys like Treyvon Diggs and Randy Gregory to step up this season.
Injuries could be a factor in this game for the Cowboys. Zach Martin is out due to Covid-19, and La’el Collins is banged up but will play. (See props and live odds on game day at FanDuel).
Why the Buccaneers can cover the spread
Tom Brady is 44 years old and currently has the third-best odds to win the MVP award, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Buccaneers are running back their entire core coaching staff and the team from last season. Not only did the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl, but they also dominated towards the end of the season.
They won their last four regular-season games, outsourcing their opponents 148-75. Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans came out earlier this week and said they are far and beyond ahead of where they were last season. That is scary to think about.
Cowboys Buccaneers Betting Pick
The Cowboys’ injuries of offense scare me. Vita Vea is back from injury and will be in the trenches where Zach Martin is supposed to be. Just from top to bottom, the Buccaneers have the better roster. I can’t trust the Cowboys in this game.
Everyone loves trends, but they don’t always predict the future. And there are competing trends here. The Cowboys have been terrible against the spread as a road team and terrible on Thursdays. But they are very tough as an underdog.
Tampa is also terrible on Thursdays and their recent run of OVERs is opposite of their historical trend against Dallas which is 11-2 favoring the UNDER. Here goes…
UNDER is 11-2 Tampa Bay’s last 13 games against Dallas
Cowboys are 7-1 SU past 8 vs Bucs
Cowboys are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games on the road
Cowboys are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games played on a Thursday.
Cowboys are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games when playing as the underdog
Bucs won eight straight SU
OVER is 19-6 Tampa Bay’s last 25 games against NFC foes
OVER is 9-3 Tampa Bay’s last 12 games played in September
Bucs are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games played on a Thursday.