The time is almost here for Week 1 of the NFL season. It is customary for the defending champs to play the first game, which is why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hosting the Dallas Cowboys Thursday night.

Tampa is returning all 22 starters from their Super Bowl team. Dallas gets starting quarterback Dak Prescott back from injury. Prescott started 2020 out on fire with 450-plus passing yards in three of the five games he played before going down. He was on pace for 5,500 yards and 30 touchdowns before going down last season.

Let’s take a look at some of the best bets for the game. 

 

 

Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Game lines: Bucs -8Total 51.5

Thursday Night Football picks

My number on this game is Bucs -8.5, so at -8 I have no play on the spread here. With the number being at 8, the best way to play this is through using the Buccaneers as part of a teaser. A standard teaser allows you to pick two games and move the spread 6 points on each of those bets. Teasing the Bucs down gets them at -2 or -2.5 depending on the site. Anything under -3 is a good play. To better understand how teasers work, Check out this video from FTNBets.

Thursday Night Football prop bets

Tom Brady (Over/Under 300.5 passing yards) — Brady gets to pick on what was a horrendous defense last year for the Dallas Cowboys. I know 300 is a big number, but Brady does project over it at 308 on FTNDaily. Other sites have this total listed at 304.5 or 306.5, so playing the over listed at 300.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook is the way to go if you want this action. 

Dak Prescott (Over/Under 12.5 rushing yards— Prescott played four full games last year before getting hurt. In the first three games of the season, he ran for no fewer than 18 yards. Even in the fourth game when the Browns were beating them badly forcing them to throw, he still ran for 12 yards. Prescott is not a guy they design run plays for, but he has the athletic ability to scramble when no one is open and pick up a couple yards here and there. We project Prescott for 14 yards rushing over on FTNDaily. It is not a massive edge, but that -111 price on BetMGM is better than the -115 everywhere else that has it at 12.5.

(Join this FREE contest at DraftKings Sportsbook to earn your share of $20,000.)

Ezekiel Elliott (to score a touchdown— If and when the Cowboys get down in the red zone, Elliott is the guy they lean on to punch it home. He also has the ability to break any touch for 6 points and can even make plays catching passes out of the backfield. BetMGM has this at even money, and we project Zeke for 0.5 touchdowns, which is 50%. Any other site that has this at -105 or higher it is not worth touching, but I do like Zeke to get one and at even money I think it’s worth the risk. 

Rob Gronkowski (First touchdown— Both PointsBet and BetMGM have this number listed at +1600. FanDuel Sportsbook only has it at +1300. Gronk is still a security blanket for Brady, and you have to look no further than the Super Bowl last year to confirm that fact. A number like +1600 feels a little too high. Gronk is by no means the favorite to score the first touchdown for the Buccaneers, but that line should be more in the +1200 to +1300 range. At +1600, we have value. 

CeeDee Lamb (Over/Under 5.5 catches) — Everyone expects the Bucs to win this game, which means the gamescript sets up for a lot of passes. Lamb was flying up draft boards towards the end of August. Everyone expects last year’s first rounder to take a step forward and play a bigger role in the offense this year. Lamb projects for five receptions and 68 yards. I like the yardage total over as well, but why play that for -110, -115 when you can get +125 on Lamb for 6 catches? Is it a big number? Absolutely, but +125 implies only a 44.4% chance he goes over that number and that is a bit too high. Our projection is 5 and at even money I would not be interested, but for +125 I am willing to take that risk.