Cowboys vs. Buccaneers Point Spread: NFL Week 1 Odds, Prediction

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Sep 05, 2021

The NFL is officially back as the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Dallas Cowboys to kick-off Week 1 on Thursday night. 

Dallas
4-1
AT
September 09, 2021, 8:20 PM ET
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa Bay
5-1
Pointspread +9.5 -110
Moneyline +350
Over / Under o +52.5

38%

Betting Action

62%

Pointspread -9.5 -110
Moneyline -431
Over / Under u +52.5

38%

Betting Action

62%

Tom Brady continues to turn back the clock as the 44-year-old quarterback looks to make the Bucs the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls, since Brady himself did it with the New England Patriots in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.  Dallas’ QB1 Dak Prescott, on the other hand, is looking to rebound from a devastating ankle injury that ended his season early, last year.

Tampa opens as a heavy 7.5-point home favourite to win on the NFL odds, with the total at 51.

NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis

These teams haven’t met in the regular season since 2018, before the Brady-era in Tampa Bay.  Dallas won 27-20 at home in that tilt.  Prescott threw for 161 yards and one touchdown in the win.  Jameis Winston (now in New Orleans) led the Buccaneers with 366 yards and a TD.  The total has gone Under in five straight games in this all-time series.

Dallas struggled to cover last year, going 5-11 against the spread.  They’ve lost nine of their last 11 road games, but have won seven of their last eight games against the Bucs.  The Cowboys ended the 2020 season by hitting the Over in five of their last seven games.  The total has gone Under in five of their last six in Tampa.

Including last year’s playoffs, Tampa has won their last eight games.  Historically, they haven’t been great to open the season.  The Bucs have dropped 10 of their last 14 Week 1 games, including a 34-23 loss to New Orleans last season.  They’ve covered in five of their last six games overall and four of their last five at home.  The total has gone Over in four of Tampa’s last five games against NFC East teams.

If you’re looking for NFL player props, Prescott is a great option as the +205 favourite to win Comeback Player of the Year.  He’s also in the Top-10 of favourites to win the NFL MVP at +1713.

Dallas Cowboys

Last year, Prescott was on pace to have the best season of his career before a fractured and dislocated ankle suffered in Week 5 against the New York Giants ended his season.  In his last 14 starts, dating back to 2019, Prescott has a 27-8 TD-INT ratio and has thrown for 4,635 yards with a 98.5 passer rating.  The receiving trio of Amari Cooper (1,114 receiving yards in 2020), CeeDee Lamb (935 yards) and Michael Gallup (843 yards) should expect more short range targets as Prescott reacclimatizes to the speed of a regular season NFL game.  Also expect running back Ezekiel Elliott to have a big game.  Without Prescott in the lineup, defences were able to focus on Elliott last year and he recorded career lows in rushing yards, TDs and average rush.  He’ll likely have a big bounce-back season.

There was some bad news for Dallas on Sunday as the team announced starting right guard Zack Martin tested positive for COVID and will mis the game.  Connor McGovern is expected to replace Martin.  The 23-year-old played in 14 games last season and made eight starts.  Right tackle La’el Collins, who missed all of last season due to hip surgery, returned to practice on Sunday after dealing with a minor neck stinger and is expected to play on Thursday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The defending champs come into the season at +603 to win the Super Bowl on the NFL futures odds, trailing only Kansas City (+444).  Tampa Bay is fielding most of their Super Bowl roster, so expect Brady and the offence to be elite again.  In 2020, the Buccaneers ranked near the top of the league in total passing yards (4,626) and total touchdowns (59).  The defence was just as good.  They led the NFL in rush defence, holding opponents to just 80.6 yards per game.  They were also near the top in rushing touchdowns allowed (10) and yards per carry allowed (3.6).

Tampa Bay looks unusually healthy, even for this time of year.  The only player not on the practice field on Sunday because of an injury was safety Jordan Whitehead.  After missing the last few weeks with a hamstring injury, Whitehead is listed as day-to-day, but it’s tough to see him playing Thursday.  Mike Edwards will likely replace Whitehead in the lineup.  There was concern after running back Gio Bernard suffered an ankle injury in the preseason finale, but he’s been practicing at full speed and is expected to play against Dallas.

NFL Prediction: Who Will Win Cowboys vs. Buccaneers?

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