Finally, the NFL season is here! The Dallas Cowboys will open things up versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Raymond James Stadium. Back in February, on the same field, Tom Brady led the Bucs to a dominant Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys watched from home after a heartbreaking season in which Dak Prescott played only five games. Now, America’s Team QB1 is back. And leading one of the best offenses in the NFL, he’ll try to pull off the upset on primetime.

It’s always tough to bet in Week 1 of the NFL season, but we’ll do our best here on Betting the Cowboys, a weekly series that you’ll find here at A to Z Sports.

The odds

Spread: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.5 (ML -400)

Moneyline: Dallas Cowboys +322

Total: 51.5 (-110)

The public is riding with Brady vs the Cowboys

According to the Action Network, 57% of the money is on the Bucs. The public usually likes the home favorite and even more so when they’re the defending Super Bowl champions. The fact that this betting spread has moved past eight points hasn’t changed that.

After all, the last time we saw Tampa Bay on the field, they kept Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes from scoring a single touchdown in the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys were disappointing against the spread in 2020 and the public might be hesitant to trust Dak Prescott without watching him first.

Trends

  • QB wins are usually an overblown stat. But betting Tom Brady has been profitable for sports bettors everywhere. Over the last three seasons, he’s been the second most profitable QB against the spread going 32-23-1.
  • Dallas Cowboys are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 on the road.
  • In Prescott’s last five games, the over went 4-1.

The pick: Backing the Cowboys, but…

I’m tempted toward betting the spread. While I expect the Bucs to walk away with the win, I think the Cowboys’ offense finds a way to keep it close. However, I’m hesitant because of the defense. Tampa has one of the best receiving corps in the NFL and if they decide to let it fly, I don’t see how Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, will hold them off.

On the other hand, as they get ready to face the best run defense from 2020 in the NFL (according to DVOA), I expect Kellen Moore to be pass-happy on Thursday night. While Tampa’s defense was great, there are some things Dallas could exploit.

Last season, the Bucs allowed 21 points per game and that’s exactly where the Dallas Cowboys’ team total is at for the kickoff.

The bet: Cowboys’ team total over 20.5 (-130)

Odds via DraftKings

Featured image via Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports