Tampa BayBuccaneers(1-1SU,2-0ATS) vsDallas Cowboys(1-1SU,1-1ATS)
Date/Time:September 23th, 1:00PM E
Where:Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
byJeffHochman,Pro Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread: TB +7/DAL -7
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After twoconsecutiveroad games to start the season, the Dallas Cowboys finally get to play in their home-opener, looking to bounce back after last week’s debacle at Seattle. The Cowboys lost 27-7 as 3-point road chalk, andwere out-gained by 19 yards. That was the first game the Cowboys did not win the stats since the first preseason game against Oakland. After looking solid against the Giants, the Cowboys offensive line looked old and slow when in fact they are young.TonyRomodid not have much time in the pocket to make his reads.Romofinished with 251 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception.DeMarcoMurray wascompletelyshutdown with just 44 rushing yards on 12 carries. Tampa Bay lost 41-34 as 9-point road dogs,and the Giants scored 25 points in the final quarter to complete the amazing comeback. The game featured four touchdowns in the final 6:48, and ended with somepost-gamesquabbling between Giants coach TomCoughlinand Tampa Bay coach GregSchiano.Coughlin screamed at the former Rutgers coach after Manning was knocked down on the final play because theBucswent all out to try to force a fumble on a kneel-down.
How will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bounce back from that tough loss, andafter allowing Eli Manning to throw for over 500 yards. It will beinterestingto watch for sure, but this team nowhas a head coach that does a prettygood job at motivating his players. The defense has a lot of holes in it. The Giants had 31 First-downs andaccumulated604 total yards. Tampa Bay has always had trouble when facingelite quarterbacks. The game last weekagainst Seattle notwithstanding, TonyRomohaseliteskills and many weapons to choose from. I would expectDeMarcoMurray to rush for more than 44 yards and for the entire offense to score more than 7 points.
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Both teams have played the NY football Giants in East Rutherford and the stats are very telling. TheBucswere out-gained by a whopping 297 yards, while the Dallas Cowboys out-gained the Giants by 164 yards. The problem with theBucsright now is their secondary, as they are having problems matching up when teams go to three, four, and five receiver sets. I think KevinOlgetreecould have a huge game out of the slot. The Cowboys are going to test the youngBucs’ secondary with a lot of passing plays, including screens. If the Cowboys have success in this game it will be their offensive line that will need to bounce back.
TheBucswill probably feature Doug Martin early and often in this game, as the Cowboys allowed 182 rushing yards to Seattle,with 122 yards by way ofMarshawnLynch. Martin looks like a pretty good back and if anythingcertainlyruns like every carry is his last.Dallas has amuch better run defense than what they showed and you would expect that number to improve dramatically in this game. Lets go inside the numbers for both teams. Tampa Bay has been out-gained in 15 out of their last 18 games including 10 straight. TheBucsare 3-7SUand 4-6 ATS in those 10 games. On the flip side,Dallas has out-gained their opponent in 12 out of their last18. Dallas is just 5-5 ITS (in the stats)in their last 10 games, and have gone 5-5SUand 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games.
You look at this line (Dallas -7) and it’s the classic trap line by the odds-makers. When you crunch all the numbers and look at the talent on both teams, it’s evident that the home team should be the favorite. TheBucsdo have some good players but this will be a tough spot.Dallas is returning home after a blowout loss. More on that later.You will hear people say take theBucsin this game but I think that’s the wrong side. The Odds-maker is begging you to grab that touchdown plus the extra point. Don’t do it!
These two teams played last December and the Cowboys won 31-17 as 7-point road dogs. Dallas out-gained Tampa Bay by 209 yards. The Cowboys have won fourstraightgamesSUand ATSagainst theBucs. So Dallas is now at home and they are favored by the exact same 7 points. I know every game is different but it seems to me thatthis line should be closer to 9 or 10.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Spread:Dallas Cowboys -7.
Here’s a little secret. One of the best Sports Handicapping angles is to “Play On” winningteams that got blown-out on the road if they play their very next game at home. It works most of the timein any team sport, but you willhave to define who will be a winning team if it’s early in the season. Dallas returns home for its home opener, with an offense that matches-up great against a nicked up Buccaneers secondary. Dallas is 5-0SUand 5-0 ATS vs the NFC South when playing off a double-digit loss. Good line value. Take Dallas!
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