Tom Brady and the Buccaneers begin their Super Bowl defense Thursday night when they host Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. Dallas is just 2-8 SU and ATS in its last 10 road games, but America’s Team has beaten the Bucs in seven of the last eight meetings by an average of nearly 10 points per contest.
While that trend may push you toward the Cowboys, it’s also worth noting that the defending Super Bowl champions have been highly successful in their opening game the following season. Over the last 10 years, the defending champs are 7-3 SU and 6-3-1 ATS, a trend that further improves to 12-3 SU and 9-5-1 ATS over the last 15 years.
Opening Odds Analysis
You could have laid under a touchdown with the Buccaneers during the summer, but not anymore. On game day, the spread has ballooned to +8.5 for the Cowboys, which is understandable for a team that missed the playoffs the year prior going against the reigning Super Bowl champs.
When the betting line was set at 6 points, the betting handle – the percentage of bets on a team – was nearly 80 percent in favor of Tampa Bay, driving the line up to the current spread of 8.5. The action is nearly even now. With the handle balancing out, it’s unlikely we see much more of a line movement ahead of kickoff.
Best Betting Value For Dallas vs Tampa Bay
When looking at Odds Shark’s best betting sites, we can see that it is good to shop around, with Bovada offering an 8.5-point line, the tightest of the three options. The next comes at BetOnline Sportsbook at an even 9 points followed by BetUS with the largest spread offered at 9.5 points.
|Team||BetOnline Odds||Bovada Odds||BetUS Odds|
|Dallas Cowboys||+9 (-110)||+8.5 (-110)||+9.5 (-125)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-9 (-110)||-8.5 (-110)||-9.5 (+105)|
Dallas News & Notes
The Cowboys are favorites to shake off last year’s disastrous campaign and win the NFC East, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty about this squad going into the season opener. The biggest question mark is quarterback Dak Prescott, who missed the entire preseason with a shoulder strain and hasn’t suited up since breaking his ankle nearly a year ago.
Prior to the injury, Prescott was torching opposing defenses, throwing for 450-plus yards in three of his first four starts in 2020. But even if Dak is all the way back, he might not have time to do much behind an offensive line that will be without six-time Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin, who will miss the game after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.
How quickly the Dallas defense adjusts to new coordinator Dan Quinn’s scheme is also something Cowboys fans are worried about in the opener. Dallas finished second-last in the NFL last year in rushing yards allowed and will be without tackle Neville Gallimore after he dislocated his elbow in training camp.
Tampa Bay News & Notes
The last time we saw Brady and company in meaningful action, they were putting the finishing touches on a dominant eight-game winning streak that culminated with them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Tampa Bay won those games by an average of nearly 15 points and scored at least 30 points in seven of the eight contests despite playing at home just twice.
That strong finish made it easy to forget how slowly the Bucs started the year, including a 34-23 loss to the Saints in the season opener. Tampa Bay has historically been a slow starter, covering just four of its last 14 outings in Week 1. The Buccaneers were also a bit more vulnerable at home last year, going 5-3 SU overall and 1-5 ATS as a favorite.
As good as Brady and the offense were last year, the Buccaneers’ bread and butter was their league-leading run defense. That unit got a boost this week with the news that lineman Ndamukong Suh had been removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list and will be eligible to suit up in the opener.
Staff Betting Pick: OVER 52
Dak might be back, but the Cowboys’ defensive issues likely will be as well. Expect Brady to have a field day once again as the Bucs go OVER the total for the 20th time in their last 26 conference games.
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