Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) and wide receiver Amari Cooper
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) and wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) celebrate a touchdown catch by Lamb in the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27. 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Best Bets / Props, Sept. 9

It is finally the dawn of a new NFL season, which marks the beginning of a money-making bull run for some and last place fantasy league shame for others. For this Thursday night football special, the Super Bowl defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are at home against the Dallas Cowboys. In Tom Brady’s first season with the Bucs last year, he was able to make a historic run with the squad, whereas Dallas showed to be a strong candidate for relegation if it existed in the NFL. Due to Week 1 uncertainties, this inaugural matchup is brimming with juicy props and plays that will prove to be easy money. Here is who is popping off in this contest. 

Bucs (-8.5)
The opening spread for this one had the Bucs as six and a half-point favorite, but with Cowboys All-Pro offensive guard Zack Martin out along with other factors, Dallas is now +8.5 on the road. Raymond James Stadium will be at full capacity in Tampa, and teams whose home state allows 100% occupancy have performed very well since COVID started. A large contributing factor to the Buccaneers Super Bowl last year was their stout defense, and for this year Tampa is returning 19 players that played at least 60 defensive snaps for them last season. They will have their hands full with the star-studded Dallas offense of Dak, Zeke, and Amari. In four full games played last year, Dak was able to put up a staggering amount of almost 2,000 yards passing. While the Cowboy offense had monstrous numbers last year under Dak and was fully healthy, they started out the season with a sour 1-3 record despite their best players having their best performances. They did not have an especially great offseason and will be working mostly with what they had last year. Since he made his first Week 1 start in 2002, Tom Brady is 15-4 SU during his tenure with the Patriots and Bucs. It’s a pretty safe bet to ride with the G.O.A.T. against a Dallas defense of this stature. Take the spread of the defending champs.   

Amari Cooper Over 66.5 Receiving Yards (-114)
Although the Cowboys face a massive challenge in front of them on offense, they will have a lot of help, starting with their high-volume receiver out of Alabama, Amari Cooper. With the return of the NFL means the return of same-game parlays (SGP), and with the return of SGPs means the return of player props. Cooper is a top WR1 option and with his partner in crime back in action, he is poised for a huge game. In his QB Dak Prescott’s four appearances last year, Cooper averaged a ridiculous 100 yards of receiving per game. Dak is a gunslinger style QB who is susceptible to putting up big stats no matter who the opponent, so to have his number one target at a slim over/under total of 66 yards is straight blasphemy. With an offensive style that is fairly pass heavy, expect to see Dallas throw a lot versus the run stopping defense of Tampa. A season after being firmly on course to be the league’s passing yards leader, Dak should be able to revive the connection with his consistent playmaker at wideout. Even if this one proves to not be competitive, I still believe the Cowboy’s stars will get theirs, including Amari.

Ezekiel Elliott Anytime TD Scorer (-105)
The last play for this evening is also a player prop, but instead, Ezekiel Elliott will have to score one touchdown at some point in the game. With Amari leading the team all the way down to the end zone, Zeke was mainly the guy pounding it in for the Boys on offense. Last year during Dak’s shortened tenure, Elliott scored at least one touchdown in each game in spite of only having eight total TDs in 15 total games. Even though -105 is not usually the best odds for anytime TD props, Zeke brings a lot of scoring value because of his gritty determination near the end zone and their elite offensive line that can get him a yard or two for the TD. I think the better part of his career is through, but Zeke will serve as an excellent touchdown machine for this rapid offense in the red zone for this season. He is a productive stats guy who will want to pad his numbers in this first matchup of the season. Whether it be on the opening drive or in garbage time, he’ll make sure to get in the end zone.

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