Betting

NFL Wild Card Betting: Odds, Spreads, Picks, Predictions for Cowboys vs. Buccaneers

Cowboys (12-5) at Buccaneers (8-9)

Opening Spread: Buccaneers +3

Opening Game Total: 45

Opening Team Totals: Buccaneers (21) Cowboys (24)

Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Buccaneers +3
  • This line has moved to Buccaneers +2.5
  • This total opened at 45-points
  • This total has moved to 45.5-points

Notable Injuries

Buccaneers: Questionable: LG Nick Leverett, C Robert Hainsey, DT Vita Vea.

Cowboys: Questionable: RT Tyron Smith, Edge DeMarcus Lawrence.

Buccaneers Offense vs. Cowboys Defense

I have the Buccaneers’ offensive line tiered as a fringe top-10 group. I have the Cowboys defensive front tiered as a top-five group. Micah Parsons is a unique matchup issue for any opponent, but from a macro sense, I’m treating this trench matchup as a relative draw.

Betting Notes Per TruMedia

  • The Buccaneers are 4-12-1 against the spread this season
  • Tampa Bay is 6-11 on overs this season
  • Tom Brady is 188-133-12 against the spread in his career
  • Brady is 172-159-2 on overs in his career
  • Todd Bowles is 36-43-5 against the spread in his NFL head coaching career
  • Bowles is 41-43 on overs in his NFL head coaching career

Buccaneers Offense

  • Tampa Bay scores 18.4 points per game, which is 25th in the league
  • The Buccaneers are sixth in the league in yards passing per game and 32nd in yards rushing
  • Tampa Bay passes on 68% of plays and runs on 32% of plays, per Sports Info Solutions
  • Per The Edge, when skipping the regular season finale, Leonard Fournette has 54 carries and 32 targets during the previous five contests
  • Over that same five-game period, Rachaad White has 51 carries and 24 targets
  • Mike Evans has 77 receptions for 1,124 yards receiving and six touchdowns with a 19.7% target share and a 37.8% air yards share
  • Chris Godwin has 104 receptions for 1,024 yards receiving and three touchdowns with a 21.8% target share and a 17.7% air yards share
  • Russell Gage has breached 50 yards receiving three times this season, but two of those outputs came in the last four games
  • Julio Jones has breached 50 yards receiving two times this season
  • Cade Otton has taken over as the Buccaneers’ primary tight end
  • Per TruMedia, Evans has played 669 snaps on the perimeter and 212 in the slot
  • Godwin has played 279 snaps on the perimeter and 541 in the slot
  • Gage has played 320 snaps on the perimeter and 179 in the slot
  • Jones has played 238 snaps on the perimeter and 88 in the slot

Cowboys Defense

  • Dallas has allowed 20.1 points per game, which is fifth in the league
  • The Cowboys are third in the league in sacks, first in forced fumbles and seventh in interceptions
  • Per The Edge, Dallas has allowed the 10th-most yards rushing per game and the 25th-most yards receiving per game to running backs
  • The Cowboys have given up the 10th-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers
  • Dallas gave up the third-most PPR points per game to perimeter receivers this year
  • The Cowboys allowed the fifth-fewest yards receiving per game to tight ends this season

Cowboys Offense vs. Buccaneers Defense

I have the Cowboys’ offensive line tiered as a top-five unit. I have the Buccaneers’ injury-reduced defensive front as a league-average unit. The Cowboys’ offensive line has a moderate advantage in the trenches in this contest. That advantage will grow if Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea misses this contest.

 

Betting Notes Per TruMedia

  • The Cowboys are 10-7 against the spread this season
  • Dallas is 9-8 on overs this season
  • Dak Prescott is 54-40-3 against the spread in his career
  • Prescott is 48-49 on overs in his career
  • Mike McCarthy is 140-109-5 against the spread in his NFL head coaching career
  • McCarthy is 139-113-2 on overs in his NFL head coaching career

Cowboys Offense

  • Dallas scores 27.5 points per game, which is fourth in the league
  • The Cowboys are 18th in the league in yards passing per game and ninth in yards rushing
  • Dallas passes on 54% of plays and runs on 46% of plays, per Sports Info Solutions
  • Per The Edge, Tony Pollard finished the season 16th in the league in yards rushing with 1,007 and 12th among running backs in yards receiving with 371
  • Ezekiel Elliot finished the season 22nd in yards rushing with 876 and seventh in rushing touchdowns with 12
  • CeeDee Lamb finished the season fifth in receptions (107), sixth in yards receiving (1,359), sixth in receiving touchdowns (nine), seventh in target share (28.7%) and 17th in air yards share (34.9%)
  • Michael Gallup has breached 50 yards receiving once in his 14 games this season
  • Noah Brown has 10 yards receiving or fewer in each of his last three games
  • Dalton Schultz has nine targets or more in three of his last five games
  • Per TruMedia, Lamb has played 450 snaps on the perimeter and 512 in the slot
  • Gallup has played 663 snaps on the perimeter and 47 in the slot
  • Brown has played 432 snaps on the perimeter and 353 in the slot
  • Schultz has played 501 snaps as an inline tight end, 62 on the perimeter and 209 in the slot

Buccaneers Defense

  • Tampa Bay allowed 21.1 points per game, which is 13th in the league
  • The Buccaneers are ninth in the league in sacks, 10th in forced fumbles and 24th in interceptions
  • Per The Edge, Tampa Bay allowed the 18th-most yards rushing per game and the fourth-fewest yards receiving per game to running backs
  • The Buccaneers gave up the 17th-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year
  • Tampa Bay gave up the fourth-most PPR points per game to slot receivers this year
  • The Buccaneers allowed the 13th-most yards receiving per game to tight ends this season
  • Tampa Bay has allowed the fifth-most PPR points per game to tight ends lined up in the slot

 

This Is What You’re Betting On

The Buccaneers beat the Cowboys 19-3 on opening day in Dallas. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, the Cowboys went 6-2 through their last eight games. The Buccaneers went 4-4 in their final eight games.

If You’re Betting on the Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have been a bottom-10 offense this season, while only reaching 30 points in one contest this year. Your first consideration as a Buccaneers’ bettor is Brady’s offense has the raw materials to be an above-average group, but they haven’t been for the majority of the season.

If the same offense that scored 30 points on the Panthers a few weeks ago shows up, the Cowboys are in trouble. However, we have to treat that more as an outlier than an expectation we can bet on given what Tampa Bay has done this season.

A major boon for the Buccaneers is their entire starting secondary is off the injury report. To put that in perspective, I genuinely can’t remember the last time this group was at full strength. The Buccaneers’ pass rush is not the same without Shaquil Barrett, but overall Tampa Bay’s defense is in better shape right now than they’ve been in weeks and weeks.

Your biggest concern as a Buccaneers’ bettor is Dallas being in an obvious correction spot after absolutely bombing against Sam Howell’s Commanders last week. Your second is Brady’s offense continuing to underwhelm against a talented Cowboys defense that hasn’t been playing its best football of late.

If You’re Betting on the Cowboys

If the Cowboys lose this game, it will not surprise me in the slightest if Jerry Jones fired Mike McCarthy and threw the kitchen sink at Sean Payton next week. The pressure is on the Cowboys in this contest.

Prescott is one of my absolute favorite quarterbacks to bet on or against. When the Cowboys play a team they have a significant talent advantage against, Prescott consistently creams those teams. In a big game, against a difficult opponent, more times than not, Prescott underwhelms.

Much like Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, Prescott is an above-average quarterback that is good, but not quite great. I’d argue Prescott is having his most disappointing season yet. Now, he has to out-duel the great one, Brady, in a playoff game on the road. It would make sense if the Cowboys tried to lean on their run game early in this contest.

The Cowboys have had a premium defense that generates a ton of turnovers while having one of the better pass rushes in the league for two seasons now. That said, the Cowboys’ defense has recently struggled against the Texans and the Commanders. The Eagles and Jaguars combined for 74 points against Dallas in mid-December. The Buccaneers’ offense has struggled this season, but they have enough talent to exceed expectations if the Cowboys’ defense continues to play at its current level.

Your biggest concern as a Cowboys bettor is Prescott’s offense underwhelming in another big spot. Your second biggest concern is the Cowboys’ defense struggling coming into a matchup with Brady.

Score Prediction: Buccaneers 24 Cowboys 20

Ryan’s Recent Betting Record:

ATS 2021: 49-31

ATS 2022: 48-32

Props 2022: 57-40

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