Dallas Cowboys (12-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)
Game Info: Monday, January 16, 2023 at 8:15 p.m. EST (Raymond James Stadium)
Betting Odds: Cowboys (-2.5) / Over/Under (45.5)
Pick: Over (45.5)
In the last playoff game of the week on Wildcard Weekend, we will get a rematch of the first game of the season when the Cowboys travel down south to Tampa to take on the Buccaneers.
Dallas has gone through several up's and down's throughout the season, with the biggest one being their starting quarterback (Dak Prescott) being hurt in the middle of the season. Since he has been back though, they have been a top-5 offense in the league. In spite of the fact that he has thrown the most interceptions in the league this year even after missing several games, they have still managed to put up points with the best of them. One area where Tampa will look to move the ball down the field against them is on the perimeter. After being stellar for the first half of the season, they have slipped to 22nd in passer rating against since week 11. Furthermore, many of these games were against below-average quarterbacks in Matt Ryan, Daniel Jones, Davis Mills, Josh Dobbs, etc. Tom Brady has been inconsistent as ever this season, but he still is Tom Brady, and that will always be in the back of the minds on the Cowboys sideline.
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The Bucs are the only team in the playoffs that come in under .500. They have been gifted with being in an abysmal division in order to be able to squeak into the 4-seed in the NFC. But, with a home game against a team that Tom Brady has beat his whole career (7-0 SU versus Dallas), they should have some confidence in pulling this one out. This is one where I see Offensive Coordinator and play-caller Byron Leftwich going away from the run on early downs, which they have been unsuccessful with all season. In the occasions where they have been able to put up consistent points, it has been with Brady running a quick 2 minute offense. They won't be able to do this all game, but it can give them success on drives to gain momentum down the field. With Dak being turnover-prone all year, a turnover or two could flip this game on its head if it is in Dallas territory. We shall see if Tampa's defense can come through with that.
A few betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Dallas games have gone over in 7 out of 12 games that they have played as a favorite
- The over is 3-0 in games where Tampa Bay is the underdog
- The Bucs are 0-7-1 ATS coming off of a loss
This line opened at 44.5 but has jumped up a point to 45.5 as the big money has fallen on the over. The public is slightly on the over (55%), but there is 70% of the money on the over as well. This is one where I see Dallas being able to continue to be explosive on the offensive side of the ball, forcing Tampa to open up their playbook earlier than they want to. On top of this, both teams have been porous on defense in the last several games, which should allow for scoring opportunities all night. Give me the over, as I think this one would be at around the 50 range if we were to look at where these defenses currently stand.
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