Even though their record doesn't reflect it, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are generating a lot of buzz entering their NFL Wild Card matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.
Indeed, there shouldn't be much of a discussion. The Bucs won the NFC Southeast while finishing with a sub 500 record. They rank 24th in total offense on the season. Quarterback Tom Brady is 45 years old. They aren't even laying anything that bears a resemblance to realistic odds to win the 2023 Super Bowl. Surely Tampa Bay doesn't have a puncher's chance to beat the Cowboys, who are widely considered the second-best team in the entire NFC?
Well, bettors aren't so sure. And as a result, oddsmakers aren't so sure, either. Here are the latest NFL online betting odds for the Cowboys vs. Buccaneers Wild Card game, courtesy of the folks over at Bovada:
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Your usual reminder: Always remember to double-check these online NFL betting markets until you actually submit your wager. Our odds for Buccaneers vs. Cowboys are accurate entering Wednesday, January 11. That gives linemakers plenty of time to adjust their odds based on the action prior to kick-off, which is scheduled for Monday, January 16, at 8:30 p.m. EST.
Of course, you don't have to worry about missing out on the most accurate NFL playoff betting lines if you sign up with the right linemakers. That's why we compiled reviews of all the top online sportsbooks. These one-stop information treasure troves can help you spot the best NFL playoff betting sites in the industry.
Back to business, though. As you can see from the football betting odds above, the Bucs are underdogs, but not demonstratively so. Is it because they've shown enough progress to put pressure on Dallas? Or is there another phenomenon at play?
Why Aren't the Dallas Cowboys Heavier Favorites Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Two words provide the answer to this question: Tom Brady.
He may be 45. He may be coming off the worst regular season of his career. He may be steering one of the NFL's 10 worst offenses on paper. And he may be going up against a Dallas defense brimming with playmakers who can force turnovers from every area of the field. It doesn't matter. Name recognition and reputation are enough to earn whatever team Brady plays for plenty of action at the sportsbooks. This explains why the Bucs are only slight underdogs heading into their matchup versus the Cowboys.
To be fair, Dallas' own Jekyll and Hyde act also has something to do with it. The Cowboys are maddeningly inconsistent for a team that's considered one of the two best in the NFC. Their Week 18 loss to the Washington Commanders was proof of how they can take their foot off the gas for entire games at a time.
Furthermore, Dallas has struggled to get any traction on the ground over the past few weeks. That's going to be a problem against the Bucs, who have improved their rushing defenses a great deal. The Cowboys can try to rely on Dak Prescott's arm to get them through, but Tampa Bay is sixth in net yards allowed per passing attempt on the season. Though the Buc's defense isn't necessarily built to score points of their own—they're not big on forcing turnovers or pick-sixes—they are absolutely built to slow down Dallas' attack.
Are we talking ourselves into an upset? We just might be. Brady has shown more life in his arm when throwing downfield over the past month, and the Bucs' penchant for never turning the ball over will serve them well when it comes to controlling the time of possession battle. Whether you view this as a Tom Brady legacy pick, faith in Tampa Bay's gradual improvement, or a sign of our distrust in Dallas doesn't matter. Our pick is the Bucs either way.
OSB Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+126)
The Point Spread for Bucs vs. Cowboys Continues to Move
Here is the latest NFL point spread betting odds for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys matchup this Sunday:
- Dallas Cowboys, -2.5 (-116)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers, +2.5 (-104)
The Bucs' point spread was a lot more intriguing when these lines opened. Some sportsbooks had them listed at a +4. We even saw reports of a +4.5. But early action tilted the Bucs towards +2.5. With a point spread so small, you're better off going with the Bucs' moneyline over their point spread.
Still, if you wish to give yourself a little margin for error, then you're free to go with Tampa Bay at +2.5. This game figures to be a war of possession attrition, so there's always the chance it gets decided by less than a field goal.
OSB Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, +2.5 (-115)
Could Dallas vs. Tampa Bay Turn Into a Surprising Shootout?
Below you can see the latest NFL over/under betting odds for the Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
- Over 45.5 (-105)
- Under 45.5 (-115)
Games featuring Tampa Bay have been a disaster this year for "over" bettors. The Bucs have cleared the over in just 35.3 percent of their contests for a record of 6-11.
However, many of those misses came when the offense was at its lowest. It has perked up in recent weeks. In fact, four of the last five Buccaneers games saw the final score total of more than 46 points.
Assuming the Cowboys don't lay a complete egg on offense themselves, this matchup has the potential to turn into one of the higher-scoring ones for Wild Card Weekend.
OSB Prediction: Over 45.5 (-105)
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NFL playoff betting: