The NFL is back and starting with the biggest name in the sport, and arguably the biggest team in the sport. Sure, the Cowboys are no longer the dominant force they were in the ’90s, but they are still “America’s Team.” Then, you have Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time starting in the 22nd season of his illustrious career. Let’s see what betting angles are available for the game.
Brady and the Bucs are the NFC favorites and secondary favorites for the Super Bowl, so expectations remain high this season. They are the first team to ever return every one of their starters from the Super Bowl. The continuity will be there, and the offense could actually improve with the addition of versatile running back Giovanni Bernard. I expect Brady to enjoy short dump-off passes to Bernard. Health will be a major question for the Buccaneers. Antonio Brown and Chris Goodwin are both listed as questionable, but I expect both to probably play.
For the Cowboys, how will Dak Prescott be? He hasn’t played since early last season and his brutal injury. He didn’t even take a snap in the preseason. Now he faces a defense that manhandled the best quarterback in the league on the biggest stage. Prescott still is surrounded by some of the most talented skill players in the league with Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. One potential factor that could be an issue Thursday is Zack Martin being out. Above all though, the offense doesn’t matter if the defense doesn’t improve on their performance from last season where they basically couldn’t stop anyone.
Believe it or not, this game opened as less than a touchdown favorite for the Buccaneers. That is slightly surprising because there really aren’t many question marks on that side, almost all questions revolve around the Cowboys. The line has been pushed up to as high as nine in some places, but is only at -8 on FanDuel currently. Even better, new users that signup for FanDuel can enjoy a 40-1 bet opportunity and place a $5 bet on any team and if it wins they get back $200! This is a great game to bet on the Buccaneers because there is no reason they should lose this game other than a complete collapse or the worst Super Bowl hangover ever.
My play for this game is on the Buccaneers -8. I like them to win probably by 10+ points in the game. I don’t think the Cowboys will be able to move the ball as well as they like and Prescott should be a bit rusty. I also think it will take a couple of weeks for the newly improved defensive players to click. I don’t have a great read on the total, I could see this being an under, though. I think it could end up something like 31 – 17, Bucs, which would be a cover and under.
A few player props I like – Mike Evans to be the first touchdown scorer at +700. Brady looks for him in the red zone, and there are too many mouths to feed in the Tampa backfield for me to feel confident in them as one of the first scorers. I also like Brady to throw under 300.5 yards – I’ve already explained I think this game probably goes under and I don’t think Brady tries to run up the score in the first game of the season. In 9 of his 16 games, Brady threw for less than 300 yards and averaged only 264 yards per home start last year.