Cowboys vs. Buccaneers Odds, Picks, Preview: Week 1 Injury News & Line Movement

Merely hours away from the kickoff of the 2021 NFL season, and a lot has changed since we first looked at Cowboys vs. Buccaneers odds this time last week.

Let’s start with the line movement, catalyzed by major injury news, that we’ve seen across sportsbooks in the days leading up to Thursday Night Football.

Cowboys vs. Buccaneers Odds

Cowboys Odds +8.5
Buccaneers Odds -8.5
Over/Under 51.5
Date Thursday, Sept. 9
Time 8:20 p.m.
TV NBC

The Bucs opened as 6.5-point favorites in May, and the spread stayed steady until early August when oddsmakers moved it to -7. The spread reached -8 by September, and then it stretched to -8.5/-9 this week following unfortunate news in the Cowboys locker room, cementing the Cowboys vs. Bucs line as the widest spread on the Week 1 slate.

Dallas will play without right guard Zack Martin, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. It’s a major blow to a Cowboys offensive line that already had its hands full preparing for a ferocious Buccaneers pass rush.

Will the Cowboys be able to protect Dak Prescott, who we last saw leaving the field on a stretcher 11 months ago, from Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea? Oddsmakers have serious doubts.

Thursday Night Football Betting Report

The action isn’t as lopsided as you’d assume based on the line movement. Here are some betting percentages, accurate as of early Thursday morning, courtesy of our friends at Scores And Odds:

  • Spread: 57 percent of bets are on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and similarly, 55 percent of the handle.
  • Moneyline: 62 percent of moneyline wagers are on the Bucs, while the Bucs make up a whopping 91 percent of the money handle. Right now, it’s at minimum a hefty -400 price tag to bet the Brady Bunch will win outright, and at DraftKings Sportsbook it’s as steep as -450. On the flipside, Cowboys bettors can grab America’s Team +340 on DK.
  • Over/Under: One thing that has remained consistent in this matchup is the over/under. This total hasn’t moved more than a half-point since the start of September and is only a half-point lower than where it opened in May.

So what is a bettor to do? If you grabbed the Cowboys early, tough luck, my friend. If you waited to bet on the Bucs, that’s frustrating, too.

Cowboys vs. Bucs Picks

In saying tough luck, my friend, I’m only projecting. My friend, I’m the one who bet the Cowboys early. I loved accepting a touchdown from Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions. I thought the Bucs were overhyped, and I still do. Everyone remembers Tampa dominating the Chiefs in February, yet fail to recall their Wild-Card Round struggles against a Washington Football Team that started Taylor Heinicke at quarterback. I’m not suggesting the Bucs aren’t worthy NFC favorites — they are. But Tampa routing the Cowboys isn’t as inevitable as people think…or at least it wasn’t.

The Martin news makes this more difficult to handicap. Prescott has all of the offensive weapons he could ask for — Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott — but will he have enough time to deliver them the ball? Moreover, the Cowboys don’t have a mastermind with the headset. Mike McCarthy has proven time and time again that he’s arguably the dumbest coach in the NFL, an impressive feat when you consider the competition.

I worry that McCarthy will try to feed Zeke straight up the gut, which simply isn’t going to work given the current personnel.

Still, if I were starting from scratch and betting on Thursday, I’d have to take Cowboys. 8.5 points is a lot in the NFL. Tampa can dominate while giving up a backdoor cover at the end of the game.

PICK: Cowboys +8.5

Use the Bucs in Survivor contests??

Entering as the largest favorite of the week, many contestants will turn to the Bucs to help kickoff their survivor pools. I’m not so sure that’s wise.

For one, it’s problematic for game theory reasons. If you’re playing in a massive survivor pool, like DraftKings Pro Football Survivor Millionaire, it certainly pays to be contrarian and avoid the chalk. Moreover, I give the Cowboys a better chance at pulling off the upset than most.

NFL Pick’em pools?

Answering this question isn’t so easy, and saying so might sound inconsistent with my previous pick against the spread. However, the Bucs are only -7.5 in most Pick’em pools, which means we get some significant closing line value (CLV) by picking the Bucs against the early spread while now knowing the Cowboys will be without a starting lineman.

Cowboys vs. Bucs Player Props

I’m eyeing Giovani Bernard reception prop, but it’s early and I need some rest, so let me direct you to Meansy’s Thursday Night Football prop bets. I assure you, he was much more alert when making those than I currently am.

Image Credit: Imagn

About the Author

  • Matt Schmitto (schmitto)

  • Matt Schmitto is the sports betting editor for RotoGrinders. He grew up in Texas, graduating from Texas Tech University. After a short stint in law school, Schmitto joined RotoGrinders as a staff writer in 2019 and is a contributor to Sports Handle and other sites in the US Bets network.

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