Betting The Bucs is a weekly segment that focuses on the gambling lines for each Tampa Bay game during the season. We’ll take a look into different aspects of the game to help make your decision on whether to bet for or against the Bucs. We’ll also break down various prop bets to take, as well a picking some games around the rest of the league.
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The Line: Bucs -8, Over/Under 52
Table of Contents
Welcome back, Bucs fans, to a new NFL season and a whole new season of gambling. There are so many elements that go into just watching your favorite team, and having a little skin in the game is another part of it. After all, gambling is a $44 billion industry that’s now getting advertisers to the league.
Historically, the first week of the NFL season is one of the toughest to make picks on since no team has played yet, but that won’t stop us. The Bucs are running on an eight-game winning streak dating back to the last season’s Super Bowl run, and on top of that, they covered the spread in their last five. That also includes winning four of their last five games at home. It’s always difficult to go against Tom Brady, especially after a year in the Bucs offense and all of his top weapons back.
The Cowboys on the other hand went 3-7 against NFC teams in 2020. Overall, they’ve struggled heavily when it comes to covering the spread on the road, going 2-8 in their last 10 games outside of Dallas. They’ll definitely be improved with the return of Dak Prescott, but the amount of time away from the game makes me believe he’ll have some rust to knock off.
I see the Bucs feeding off the emotion of a raucous crowd as they raise their Super Bowl LV and come out of the gate dominantly. If Tampa Bay doesn’t commit mental errors, there’s no way the Cowboys defense can stop the Bucs from scoring at least 30 points in this game. Everyone expects a high-scoring game. But if the Bucs can get out to a lead I don’t think the Cowboys – as good as their offense is – can try to catch up again like they did last season. Especially when the defense knows they’re in pass rushing situations. Just see what Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul did in the Super Bowl.
The Pick: Bucs -8
Tampa Bay wins convincingly at home to start the season – winning by double digits. They pick up where they left off with an offense that averages 30.8 points per game. I’m cautious to pick this over/under because I can see the Bucs defense stifling the Cowboys early on, but if Dallas does get rolling, we might be looking at a 60-point game.
Now let’s look at the game within the game. Individual and/or team accomplishments to help keep your eye on big moments.
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today
Tom Brady Over 314 Passing Yards (-102)
If the final preseason game was any indication of how the Bucs offense might look after two 90-plus yard touchdown scoring drives where it was mainly no-huddle, Brady will be throwing it often. He’s only thrown over 300 yards twice in opening games following a Super Bowl win, but Brady’s talent is upgraded and he can pick apart the Cowboys defense.
Mike Evans More Receiving Yards Than Amari Cooper (+102)
You can thank cornerback Carlton Davis III for this one. He continues his rise as a Top 10 corner by limiting Cooper to an average game, as Prescott looks for his other receivers in CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Meanwhile, Evans hits it off with Brady quickly as the entire Bucs receiving group feasts on the Cowboys’ secondary.
Ronald Jones II Over 5.5 Receiving Yards (-114)
Jones’ catching woes have been well documented. That doesn’t mean that the Bucs still haven’t thrown him the ball. He’s most likely the starting back on first and second downs, so this means he’ll get an opportunity for a couple of screens and dump off passes to get enough yards.
Over 1.5 Field Goals (-182)
While the odds aren’t that great, it does come out to a quick payday. I trust the Bucs’ defense to get stops in the red zone if the Cowboys get that far, and Tampa Bay is usually game for a good two-minute drive to set up a field goal at the end of the half.
Antonio Brown To Score 1 Touchdown (+175)
Brown has been a standout player throughout all of training camp and arguably has been the best receiver. The odds are fantastic here to take a chance on Brady looking his way multiple times for a touchdown.