It’s a prime-time repeat.
It’s a rematch of their sizzling 2021 debut, decided when Tampa Bay kicker Ryan Succop drilled a game-winning field goal with two seconds remaining, causing a 31-29 Cowboys defeat.
We are set to go again. Dak is back. The GOAT is back, if people still wish to bestow that title on Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady.
And here are 7 – as in a touchdown with an extra point – vantage points about the Cowboys in Week 1.
Cowboys-Bucs DraftKings Odds
Tampa Bay is -2.5 with some slight juice, -115.
The Cowboys at +2.5 are -105. That’s slightly different than the -110 we usually see on both sides. It’s an indication that oddsmakers are flirting with Tampa Bay -3.
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations at DraftKings, told How Bout Them:
“When you see the -115 at -2.5, it means we don’t want to get off that particular number. We don’t want to go to the next number.
“We’re seeing a little bit of an edge for the Bucs in terms of the money. We don’t want to go to 3 because once you get to there, the book is in a position where you might have to pay off the 2.5’s and push on the 3.”
A change to Tampa Bay -3, for example, would bring a flood of Cowboys money. Should Tampa win by that number, the book would pay off the early bets at Tampa Bay-2.5 but would not recoup from the Dallas side.
Avello expects brisk business on the game because it is isolated, Brady’s team always takes money and the Cowboys have long been popular.
Cowboys-Bucs Prop Menu Is Rich
“Bettors really have to sift out what they want most on these bets,” Avello said. “There is value, you just have to decide what plays into what you like.”
You can’t play them all. But you can usually parlay some, take a stab at others and try to mix the flow of the game into a selection.
Anytime touchdown features big names from both teams, coupled with some prices:
- Leonard Fournette -120
- Zeke Elliott -100
- Dalton Schultz +160
- Cameron Brate +270
- Dak Prescott +400
- Over 2.5 –145
- Under 2.5 +105
- Over 24.5 -105
- Under 24.5 -115
Dallas points in the first half
- Over 12.5 -115
- Under 12.5 -105
First field goal on or after 13:00 elapsed
- Yes -120, No -110
First Scoring Play
- Dallas Touchdown +225
- Tampa Bay Touchdown +180
- Dallas Field Goal +370
- Tampa Bay Field Goal +350
- Dallas Safety +8000
- Tampa Bay Safety +9000
No Jerry, Zeke Is Not The Answer
That won’t be far enough.
In the wild-card elimination setback to the San Francisco 49ers, Elliott had 12 carries for 31 yards. One catch for no yards.
Elliott is a shell of his former self and is, at best, a platoon back with Tony Pollard. He has neither the breakaway speed or tackle-breaking ability to be considered a franchise back anymore.
The Cowboys will actually have to set up the run with the pass. What this team really needs more of is Schultz.
He is a clutch third-down performer. Schultz had 78 catches for 808 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
That averages out to 47.5 yards and five catches per game.
Regardless of comments about this being a Zeke Elliott-led ground show, the Cowboys will have to succeed through the air. Schultz and Cee Dee Lamb are viable breakout candidates. Lamb has 2,037 yards receiving in his first two seasons and is the team’s best deep threat.
Unlike past years, the Cowboys will actually have to use the pass to set up the run.
Biggest Mistakes Can Be Corrected
The false starts thwarted a number of drives in the Niners game. The quarterback draw by Prescott with the Cowboys out of time denied them one last Hail-Mary attempt to steal the game.
Clock management, timing and false starts came down to impatience. That can be worked out.
Bucs Have Issues To Sort Out
One is the tight end position. Brady misses his favorite target, the for-now-retired Rob Gronkowski (although his agent has indicated Gronk could return during the season). Brady has made a big deal about the loss of Gronk, but he has two excellent tight ends in Brate and Kyle Rudolph.
Brate has performed in Gronk’s shadow and should be given the chance to emerge. When he starts, he’s been a good anytime TD and first TD stab. Brady loves to throw to his tight ends.
“Gronk has always been a reliable source for Brady. He knows that every time a ball touches Gronk’s hands, it’s usually a catch. That’s been his go-to-guy for much of his career, the guy you would look for on 3rd and 8 or 3rd and 10. But he has a lot of excellent receivers there.
“Somebody is going to step up.”
The Cowboys are happy not to face Gronkowski here. He burned them with some key catches during the game-winning drive of last year’s game.
Cowboys Updated NFC East Odds
One item has moved. Dallas division victories have dropped from 4 to 3.5, making this at least worthy of consideration.
The Cowboys to win more than 3.5 NFC East games is -120. They play the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders and New York Giants twice each.
Their odds to win the NFC East are +140, with Philadelphia at +160.
The Cowboys to finish exactly second is +200.
The Rest Of The NFC East
The visiting Eagles are a -4 chalk against the Detroit Lions.
The Washington Commanders are -3.5 against the rejuvenated Jacksonville Jaguars.
The New York Giants are +5.5 when they visit the Tennessee Titans.
The Eagles are set for a would-be victory and the Cowboys are in a tough scrap. Should Dallas emerge at least even with the Birds after Week 1, that would be a strong first step.