2021 NFL: Week 1 Early Pick for Cowboys-Buccaneers

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Good day, football fans around the world. We are creeping up to preseason and the start of a brand spanking new regular season of NFL football—and all I can say is YES!

I put that in all caps because even though we are a few months away, I say that yes vehemently. I killed it with my NFL and MLB betting last season, and I can’t wait to get back at the bookies this year. 

That said, keep in mind that the pick I will give today is not official yet. It’s still way too early to start slinging our money around on a whim. We need some more information before we drop cash on lines offered at NFL betting sites.

Without further adieu, let’s have a look at a game that is already on my radar for Week 1 NFL play.

Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6.5

Terrible Tom proved last season that age ain’t no thang when he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 thrashing of the seemingly unstoppable Kansas City Chiefs. 

Elsewhere in the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys finished the season 6-10 and were at the bottom of the FPI barrel with a rating of -8.2. When you combine their end-of-season power rating against that of the pre-Super-Bowl power rating of the Bucs, +8.7, we could quickly end up with a double-digit blowout. 

As it stands, the early odds show the Dallas Cowboys to be underdogs of just 6.5 points. Perhaps the oddsmakers think that the Buccaneers will have a bit of a Super Bowl hangover, like what happens to so many teams after they win it all. However, this isn’t any team. It’s a squad led by Brady, and winning Super Bowls and coming back to make a run at winning the following years is business as usual for him. 

Stats Against the Spread

The Dallas Cowboys only covered in five games last season. Making ATS matters worse, America’s Team has only covered the number once in their previous five games played in September. They are historically slow starters when it comes to covering point spreads. 

On the flip side of the coin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are covered the number in four out of five of their most recent home games. They also covered the number in five of the last six games they played. Furthermore, Tampa Bay went seven out of ten in their last ten and 12-8 ATS on the season (60%). And unlike the Cowboys, the Buccaneers get covers in September (4-2 ATS in the last six September games).

Stats Straight Up

The Dallas Cowboys have had the Dallas Cowboys number in recent years. In fact, they are 7-1 over their last eight meetings against Tampa Bay. That said, those wins came when the Buccaneers were struggling. The last time these teams met was back in 2018. 

A better gauge of how this might play out is the Cowboys road record. They have only won two of their last eleven tilts on the road. They have played so terribly on the road that the only road win they got in 2020 was against the Cincinnati Bengals. Conversely, the Tampa Bay Bucs went 6-3 at home last season and went 8-0 in their last eight games played. 

With both Tom and Gronk back in 2021, I can’t make a case for the Dallas Cowboys to keep this game within a touchdown. However, Dak is back, so the Cowboys are not toothless. I do think they will score on the Buccaneers. Because of this, I don’t think we’ll actually see a double-digit blowout. But, given the fact that the Cowboys are working with a new-look defense under Dan Quinn, I don’t think they’ll be firing on all cylinders by Week 1. He may turn the Cowboys around and give them a shot at reclaiming the NFC East, but Brady and the Buccs have too many weapons and will come in hot. 

Week 1 Lean: take Tampa Bay to win and cover -6.5.

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