The NFL Playoffs are officially underway. The schedule features a few lopsided matches in the early slate, but the last game on the schedule in the NFL Wild Card round is a doozy. The first Monday Night Football of the playoffs features a primetime matchup between the No. 5 Dallas Cowboys and the No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Let’s take a look at the betting odds and make a prediction for Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wild Card Weekend.
NFL · Mon (1/16) @ 8:15pm ET
|Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida|
Our Pick: TB Buccaneers at 18.0 (-115). Bet Cowboys vs. Bucs at DraftKings: Bet $5, get $200 in free bets instantly
Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Bucs Betting News
The Dallas Cowboys enter their matchup as a short road favorite despite being the lower-seeded team in this NFC Wild Card game. The Cowboys had an impressive regular season, finishing with a 12-5 record, three wins more than their opponents. They overcame adversity early, as quarterback Dak Prescott missed significant playing time with a gruesome thumb injury. Backup Cooper Rush led the team admirably in Prescott’s absence, as the Cowboys managed an impressive 5-1 record without him in the starting lineup.
The real story of the Cowboys’ season has been their defense. Led by Micah Parsons, once a serious candidate for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award, the Cowboys boasted the fifth-best defensive unit in the NFL this season. While holding their opponents to fewer than 21 points per game was good for fifth in the league, the Cowboys were No. 1 in forcing turnovers this season, averaging almost two turnovers per game.
The Buccaneers enter this matchup as the winner of the NFC South Division. For anyone that watched football this year, that title comes with a serious asterisk. While “division winner” is accurate, perhaps “the best of the worst” is more fitting. The Buccaneers limped to the finish line with an 8-9 record in the NFL’s worst division to claim the No. 4 seed and home-field advantage in this opening-round matchup.
While their defense has been slightly better than average, the real problem has been the Bucs’ offense. Brady leads a one-sided attack that opts to throw the ball a whopping 68% of the time. The Bucs rank dead last in every major rushing category, averaging less than 80 yards on the ground per game, and scored only five rushing touchdowns during the regular season. Woof.
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Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Bucs Prediction
As of this writing, the betting action has come in steadily on the Bucs as a slight home underdog. Tampa Bay accounts for close to 60% of the total bets, and a little more than 70% of the total dollars wagered.
The regular season records for each team only tell one part of an important story. The more accurate version is as such: Dallas had early regular season success and stalled out towards the end of the season. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, struggled early and started to show signs of improvement in the later stages. Neither team is exactly firing on all cylinders, but the Bucs are finally close to 100% healthy, with a few key defensive players returning to the lineup over the past few games. That could be the difference here.
For sports bettors, the window for backing Tom Brady in the playoffs is getting smaller with each passing season. And the window for backing him as a home underdog in the playoffs? It may never happen again. We’re getting the winner of seven Super Bowls as a home underdog against Mike McCarthy, the head coach who ran a quarterback draw with 14 seconds left to let the clock expire to end the Cowboys’ playoff run last year.
Sign me up.
The Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5)
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Cowboys vs. Bucs Broadcast and Game Day Information
- Game Day: Monday, Jan. 16, 2023
- Game Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
- Location: Raymond James Stadium | Tampa Bay, Florida
- Channel: ESPN