In the season-opening Sunday night primetime game the Dallas Cowboys play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom Brady is back and ready to after taking some personal time away from the Bucs. His opposing QB in Dak Prescott will get the start in the opener despite a sore ankle.
The Bucs are a 2.5-point road favorite in this NFC clash with the total sitting at 50.5. The public has slightly backed the Bucs in this game, as they opened as a 2-point favorite and are a 2.5-point favorite as of Friday.
Last season the Bucs were 10-9 ATS with an O/U record of 10-9 and the Cowboys were an NFL best 13-5 ATS with an O/U record of 8-10.
These teams met last season in the opener in Tampa Bay where the Bucs beat the Cowboys 31-29. Tampa had covered the spread in four straight against America’s Team before failing to do so last season.
Keep It Up Against Dallas
Brady is 6-0 all time against the Cowboys and looks to stay perfect against them Sunday night. The old man led the league with 5,316 passing yards last season and had 43 TD and only 12 INT.
Brady has the weapons with the likes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who combined for 241 receptions last season. However, Godwin is a. question mark with an injury and there are injury issues on the offensive line. Leonard Fournette re-signed with the team and will lead the RB corps. Still, it will be the passing game that is key and last season Tampa Bay ranked first in the NFL in passing yards per game while only 26th in rushing yards per game.
The Bucs bolstered their secondary last season, which was torched last season giving up the most completions. That secondary will be tested, as Tampa Bay should be strong against the run and the run D was the top-ranked unit in the NFL last season.
More Injury Woes
Prescott’s sore ankle is just another injury for the Cowboys, who have dealt with many and the season has not even started for them. Eight-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith tore his hamstring and is out and CB Jourdan Lewis and WR Michael Gallup are both listed as doubtful.
Ezekiel Elliott has endured two subpar seasons in a row but the team still owes him a ton of money. Tony Pollard made up for Elliot’s struggles rushing for over 1,000 yards last season and ranked second in the league last season averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
CeeDee Lamb is now the #1 WR with Amari Cooper gone and the team brought in free agent James Washington to be the #3 and he has to step up in this game with Gallop unlikely to go. Once the best in the league the Dallas offensive line is being rebuilt and may have some growing pains.
Micah Parsons was the Defensive Rookie of the Year last season and while up front the Cowboys are pretty good the secondary is a major issue. Trevon Diggs led the league with 11 INT but in coverage he gave up the most yards. The pass D is still a concern and that is especially the case with Brady at coming to town.
Key Betting Trends
Tampa Bay is:
7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite
5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. NFC.
3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite
16-6 ATS in their last 22 games overall
7-0 ATS in their last 7 games as a home underdog
13-3 ATS in their last 16 vs. NFC
Ok, so the Cowboys are 7-0 ATS in their last 10 games as a home underdog while the Bucs are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite. Well, throw those trends out the window. Last season in the Cowboys opening game against the Bucs Prescott passed for over 400 yards with three TD and one INT and still lost. That may happen again, as Dallas will not get much offense on the ground. Brady and company will be like usual in moving the ball down the field and scoring often. However, the Cowboys have talent and are at home and they will put up a fight. Still, they are banged up and playing the Bucs and the GOAT, which is why Tampa is the pick to win and cover.
PICK: Buccaneers -2.5