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Cowboys vs Bucs Pick: Expert Takes Side in NFC Wild Card Matchup

Cowboys vs Bucs Pick: Expert Takes Side in NFC Wild Card Matchup article feature image
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Mike Carlson/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady.

Follow Chris Raybon, who’s picks 124-58-2 since Week 1 and 6-1 in the playoffs, in the Action App to get all his NFL picks throughout the playoffs.


Cowboys vs. Buccaneers Odds

Monday, Jan. 16
8:15 p.m. ET
ESPN/ESPN+/ABC
Cowboys Odds -2.5
Buccaneers Odds +2.5
Moneyline -146 / +124
Over/Under 45.5
Time Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
TV ABC/ESPN
Odds via FanDuel.

After being consistently overvalued while bumbling through the year with an NFL-worst 4-12-1 against the spread (ATS) record, the Buccaneers look to be undervalued in their Wild Card matchup against the Cowboys.

Much of that value stems from being healthy defensively. The Bucs haven’t had defensive lineman Vita Vea and Akheim Hicks, cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. all healthy at the same time since the first two games of the season. One of those games happened to be in Week 1 versus these very Cowboys, when the Bucs held the Cowboys to 3 points and just 244 yards of total offense – in Dallas, no less.

While I’m not expecting the Cowboys to only score three points again, the Bucs defense should be able to limit Dallas’ offensive efficiency to some extent yet again. Dak Prescott is averaging 1.7 turnovers over his past seven games, and turnovers mixed with inefficiency could cost the Cowboys the win on the road if they end up posting a score or two below their season average of 27.5 points.

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The other part of that equation is the Bucs offense. The Bucs will get back center Ryan Jensen, which should help Tom Brady mitigate some of the backbreaking interior pressure that has plagued this offense. It could also help the Bucs running game that has been in the NFL basement all year but posted its second-best output of the season with 152 yards against the Cowboys in Week 1.

Home-field advantage also shouldn’t be underestimated for the Bucs offense in this spot. The Bucs are averaging 21.5 points and 372.1 total yards per game at home compared to 15.7 points and 324.1 total yards on the road, a difference of 5.8 points and 48.0 yards.

Though I believe the Bucs will win the game, I would prefer to buy the three in this spot if the line doesn’t get back there rather than taking +2.5, but if you have to pay more than -130, you’re essentially overpaying for push insurance so I would just take the +2.5.

With that being said, postseason ‘dogs +3 or less are 38-23-3 (62%) ATS since 2006 per our Action Labs data, covering by an average of 2.2 points per game.

As of Monday at 2 p.m. ET, the Buccaneers were still +2.5 across the board. You can get Bucs +3 at Caesars (-120).

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