Football is so back and I couldn't be more hyped. Fall is a superior season (don't @ me) and Thursday Night Football is the appetizer to the weekend. The Bucs are coming off an improbable Super Bowl victory and called their shot and resigned the whole damn squad. No quite literally, Tampa Bay is returning all 22 starters and 97.5% of its overall offensive and defensive snaps from the 2020 Super Bowl season (including practice squad players).
Now normally, I am weary about hoop=lah games. Bucs are going to drop the banners for the crowds and talk about their Super Bowl. Too much celebration, not enough football. However, defending Super Bowl champion owns a combined 37-16-1 win-loss record in their first game of the following season. The last reigning NFL titleholder to lose its season debut the next year were the 2017 Patriots, ironically enough. I am loving the Bucs on this one. Also, Hard Knocks teams are 6-8-1 in their opener too.
Buccaneers -8.5 (-110)
As I said, it's the Bucs game to lose, and I think the Cowboys will fault under pressure. Dallas is 0-4 against the spread in their last four September games. The Cowboys lead offensive lineman, Zack Martin, is out with Covid, which won't help the returning Dak Prescott. I know it's a new team and new year but look at the numbers.
- Dallas is 2-9 straight up in its last 11 road games.
- Tampa is 8-0 straight up in its last eight games.
Home field advantage, shiny new Super Bowl rings, you know what to do. Bucs to win by more than a TD.
Bucs / Cowboys under 52.5 (-110)
"Life's too short to bet the under" but I don't think it'll be a high-scoring game. The total has hit the under in five of Dallas' last six road games against Tampa Bay. The Total has hit the under in each of Tampa Bay's last five games against Dallas. 52.5 is the right dab in the middle, and I am shying towards the under.
Tom Brady over 2.5 passing touchdowns (+150)
With a healthy offensive unit and a chip on his shoulder, I can imagine Brady carving up the Bucs. The Cowboy's defense was awful last year, giving up nearly 30 points a game. They did make some improvements, like drafting Micah Parsons, but I can see a show being put on by the Bucs.
WR Scotty Miller (TB) over 9.5 receiving yards (-115)
This seems too good to be true, but I love this pick. Yes, it is a loaded core of catchers in the Bucs offense, but 9.5 yards is so tender. Miller was a huge part of the Bucs offense last season, averaging 60 yards per game through the first six weeks. Even when he fell off in the last seven, he was still averaging close to 15 yards per game. If Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are locked up, expect the speedy slot to catch a few yards.