The Dallas Cowboys take on the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first game of the 2021-22 NFL season on Thursday night.
Our team of experts at VSiN has the game covered from all angles, with a market report from South Point oddsmaker Chris Andrews, along with a pick on the game from our handicappers Adam Burke, Will Hill, Jonathan Von Tobel and Matt Youmans.
Happy handicapping this season!
Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8, 51.5)
Andrews: We’ve been all over the place in this game. I opened Tampa Bay -6.5 way back in May and the first bet was on Tampa Bay, so I went up to -7. They laid that, -7.5, -8, and even -8.5 when there was some concern over the summer about the status of Dak Prescott. At 9.5, sharps finally came in on the Cowboys. They took 9.5 and 9.
I’m back at Tampa Bay -8 right now, but it might be -8.5 by the time you read this. Recreational bettors became even more interested in the Bucs when Cowboys guard Zack Martin was ruled out of the game with COVID-19. That support will affect teasers too. With a six-point teaser, you can drop the line through the key numbers of 7 and 3. Sharps have been doing that for decades. Teaser impact will be part of my thinking process in the hours before kickoff. I might have to go to -9 to play some defense against teaser bettors.
I’ve been getting good two-way action on the total. I opened 49.5, and that was bet up to as high as 52. When Under money started coming in hard, I dropped to 51.5. That looks like a pretty good number right now.
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Youmans: Nothing indicates the Cowboys are about to roll into Tampa to ambush the Buccaneers, who return 22 starters from their Super Bowl title team and bring in the far better defense. There will be spots to fade Tampa Bay and take inflated numbers, but this does not appear to be one of them. Dallas will be without its best offensive lineman, in the six-time Pro Bowl guard Martin, who’s a big key to the running game. That’s bad news for Ezekiel Elliott as he takes on a Buccaneers defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL against the run (80.6 yards per game) last season. It’s asking a lot for the offense’s timing to be in sync after Prescott was sidelined for most of the preseason with a shoulder injury.
I’m not into laying points with big favorites, but I will tease a strong home favorite down through key numbers, and it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which the Bucs play poorly enough to lose.
Pick: Buccaneers -2 on a teaser with Rams -1.5 (vs. Bears)
Hill: The public will be all over the Super Bowl champs as they raise their banner Thursday night in the season opener. I would love nothing more than to fade the public and grab all of those points against a team that I think is generally overrated in the market.