Cowboys vs. Buccaneers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Your 2021 NFL Kickoff Betting Preview For Thursday Night
Getty Images. Pictured: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, Bucs QB Tom Brady
- Dak Prescott is back for the Cowboys while Tom Brady is primed for a Peyton Manning-like arc in Year 2 with the Buccaneers.
- Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is betting on there being fireworks in the 2021 NFL season opener.
- Find out how he's projecting the odds for Cowboys-Bucs and what it means for how you should bet the over/under.
Cowboys vs. Buccaneers Odds
|Time||8:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Find up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Tom Brady will go down as the greatest to ever play the game, but he isn’t entirely done writing what will be his final chapter. On Thursday night, he’ll pick up right where he left off — in Raymond James Stadium, where the Buccaneers will host the Cowboys only seven months after winning Super Bowl LV.
At 43 years of age, Brady did the unthinkable: He left the Patriots after 20 (!) seasons to play for the Buccaneers. Sure enough, Brady led the Bucs to that championship in his first season with them, but the path to winning wasn’t always pretty for Tampa Bay.
There were times when the offense looked completely out of sync. I recall a handful of games during which Brady was visibly frustrated on the sideline after the first few series — slamming down his iPad, getting upset with his receivers, etc. Then after a few critical adjustments, the offense looked unstoppable.
It’s scary to imagine just how good this offense could be now that Brady has a season under his belt with head coach Bruce Arians as well as established chemistry with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown.
I had a recent flashback to when Peyton Manning left the Colts after 13 seasons to play for the Broncos. In his first season with Denver, he had a fantastic campaign — he threw for 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Sound familiar?
It should: Brady threw for 4,633 yards, 40 TDs and 12 INTs last season.
The following season, the Broncos faced the Ravens in the 2013 season opener on Thursday Night Football. Manning erupted for 462 yards and seven TDs in that game. He then went on to set single-season records for both passing yards (5,477) and TDs (55) that season.
I would not be surprised if Brady takes a similar Year 2 leap with his new team starting this Thursday night, when he’ll open his second season in Tampa Bay against Dallas.
After missing out on cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cowboys waited until the second round to select Kelvin Joseph. The rookie unfortunately suffered a groin injury in late August and was placed on IR, so Brady should be able to take advantage of this weak secondary.
The good news for the Cowboys is that they should be one of the highest-scoring offenses now that Dak Prescott is back. However, there’s a chance they’re a bit rusty to begin the season, considering Prescott missed most of training camp and the preseason due to a shoulder injury.
To make matters worse, stud RG Zack Martin is reportedly expected to miss this week due to COVID. As a result, it may be a fool’s errand for the Cowboys to even attempt to establish the run against a Buccaneers team that ranked No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the run last season.
And finally, both of these offenses play at a breakneck pace — last season, Dallas ranked second in the situation-neutral pace of play while the Bucs ranked fourth.
The total for a season-opener between two popular teams usually screams “under,” but for all the reasons above, the over is in play here.
This game has seen 59% of the bets and 42% of the money come in on the over as of writing (check real-time public betting data here), but nothing about that scares me away from this over. I’m projecting the total closer to 53 points, and believe that the scoring environment for this matchups screams over, so I’d take the over up to 53.