Game: Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Time: 8:15 p.m.
Odds: Cowboys -2.5, Buccaneers +2.5
The Dallas Cowboys (12-5 SU, 10-7 ATS) will try to win at Tampa Bay for the first time in more than ten years when they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9, 4-12-1) on Monday night in the NFL’s final wild-card round playoff game. The Cowboys locked up the No. 5 seed in the NFC, but they now have an eight-game road playoff losing streak that dates back to 1993.
The Buccaneers will try to move on from a regular season that was disappointing but still good enough for them to win the NFC South for the second year in a row. With the division title, the Bucs clinched the No. 4 seed in the NFC. Tampa Bay has defeated the Cowboys in three of their previous five encounters, including a 19-3 win in Week 1 of this season. The Bucs held Dallas to single-digit score totals twice in those three victories. The Bucs have been profitable for bettors in their last six games, going 4-1-1 ATS.
The Cowboys have overcome obstacles this season to record their second straight 12-win campaign. A strong defense in the early half of the season was key, particularly with quarterback Dak Prescott sidelined for five games in September and October due to injuries.
Thanks to the NFL’s top-ranked defense, which allowed 13.6 points per game over the first seven games, Dallas sped to a 5-2 SU start. Dallas went 2-4 SU in their last six away games, surrendering over 24 points per contest for the remainder of the season.
Prescott has struggled with accuracy ever since he returned from his injury. Although he has thrown 23 touchdown passes in 12 games since making a comeback, he has also thrown 11 interceptions over his last seven games, including three pick-sixes.
The postseason hasn’t been easy for Prescott either. Prescott has thrown three touchdown passes and two interceptions in his last three playoff games. Dallas hasn’t been successful in any of their last four postseason appearances.
Tampa Bay has had its share of difficulties too. The Bucs never won more than two games in a row and they only covered the spread four times all season. Of all the playoff teams, they had the worst ATS record.
The Bucs’ gradual regaining of health and steady play throughout the final stretch has been a bonus. Quarterback Tom Brady overcame a sluggish beginning by tossing 15 touchdown passes in his final eight games. On January 1st, Brady defeated Carolina to win the division, displaying hints of his great form by tossing three touchdowns to Mike Evans.
In their last five home games, the Bucs have gone 4-1 SU. Brady worked his magic in three of those games, leading comeback victories in the fourth quarter. Brady’s seven interceptions in his last six contests are concerning. Brady, who once again concluded the season among the league’s best in terms of passing yards, attempts, completions, and interceptions, will be key to the Bucs’ success on Monday.
Leonard Fournette, a running back who has only been able to score three touchdowns this season, could undoubtedly aid the Bucs’ offense. Fournette has scored ten touchdowns in his last seven postseason contests. Running the ball would be beneficial for Dallas as well. The Cowboys have only gained 151 rushing yards in their last two games. In the past seven games between these two clubs, the Under is 6-1.
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