The 2021 NFL season is here! The Dallas Cowboys visit the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Kickoff Game on Thursday night, but the Cowboys will be without maybe the best offensive lineman in the NFL. Tampa is solidly favored on the NFL odds.
How to Bet Cowboys at Bucs NFL Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 8:20 PM ET
- Where: Raymond James Stadium
- TV: NBC
- Radio: http://www.siriusxm.com/nfl
- Stream Option: NBC Sports app
- Opening NFL Lines: Bucs -7.5 (total 52)
Why Bet on Dallas?
The good news for the Cowboys is that quarterback Dak Prescott is ready to go. Of course, his 2020 season was cut short by a serious ankle injury. Prescott did not play in the preseason. The last snap he’s taken against another team came on Oct. 11 when he fractured and dislocated his right ankle. However, he has been a full participant at practice.
More good news Monday in that starting right tackle La’el Collins was a full participant in practice. Collins has been battling a stinger issue, but he also should be good to go. Collins missed the entire 2020 season with surgery meant to correct a nagging hip issue. Noticeably leaner after a grueling rehab, the 28-year-old tackle talked openly about having plenty “left in the tank” for the upcoming campaign.
However, the bad news is that the team’s best offensive lineman, All-Pro guard Zack Martin, will not play. Martin tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, and he’s unlikely to clear league protocols in time for the game. He must be symptom-free for 48 hours and then test negative for COVID-19 twice, 24 hours apart. And all of that has to happen before Martin can even get on the plane to Tampa.
Connor McGovern will likely start at right guard for Martin. To underscore Martin’s importance to the Cowboys’ offense, star running back Ezekiel Elliott named the lineman the team’s most vital player.
“Zack’s our best player on our offense. I mean most runs, they coming back behind him,” Elliott said. “It’s disappointing but you can’t harp on it, can’t let it be more than what it is. I mean, definitely going to miss him, definitely wish he was out there, but we still have a game to go play and we got to try and get the job done.”
Thursday will also serve as the first opportunity for the Cowboys offense to showcase their full assortment of talent at the skills positions since Week 1 of last season. Tight end Blake Jarwin’s knee injury in last year’s season opener ensured that 95% of the offensive snaps in 2020 would not include each of the best at their positions.
Defensively, it will be the Cowboys debut of coordinator Dan Quinn. The Cowboys gave up a franchise-record 473 points in 2020 which led to the firing of Mike Nolan and the addition of Quinn. The Cowboys allowed eight different teams to score 30 or more points in 2020. This led to them finishing 28th in points allowed.
Why Bet on Tampa Bay?Tampa Bay will begin their defense of their Super Bowl 55 title Thursday night on the same field in which the Bucs won it. Thursday is expected to have a full crowd in Raymond James Stadium as the Buccaneers raise their second championship banner in the organization’s history.
Quarterback Tom Brady is entering his 21st NFL season and does so with seven Super Bowl rings and is searching for his eighth. Brady, 44, quarterbacked the last team to repeat as champions — the 2004 New England Patriots — and anything less than another title for Tampa Bay would be a disappointment.
“We’re miles ahead of what we were last year,” Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans said regarding his work with Brady. “Not just me and his connection, but the whole team, the whole offense. It’s really exciting and hopefully we can do something really special this year.”
On Monday, the team activated DT Ndamukong Suh from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Suh spent the last week away from the team. The return to practice puts him on track to play in Thursday’s opener. Running back Gio Bernard, an offseason addition, also has returned to practice from an ankle sprain and will be ready.
The only injury question for Tampa Bay appears to be Jordan Whitehead, who has been held out for weeks spanning back to the start of training camp. H e’s been dealing with a hamstring issue, which is different than the labrum issue he played through Super Bowl 55 with. Should Whitehead be unavailable, it would likely be Mike Edwards that would step in alongside safety Antoine Winfield Jr.
- Cowboys are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in Week 1.
- Cowboys are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 Thursday games.
- Cowboys are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 vs. NFC.
- Buccaneers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games.
- Buccaneers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Buccaneers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC.
- Bucs 30, Cowboys 23
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