By Steve Schwarz
All odds via Parx Casino.
All SIS projections via SISBets.com
The first game, and the first week of the season, can frequently provide good opportunities to beat the odds because, with limited preseason work, most sites are just taking educated guesses. Thursday’s Buccaneers-Cowboys game should be a relatively high-scoring affair with a 51.5 point over/under and is expected to be the third-highest scoring game of the weekend.
Thursday’s season opener –
1) Tom Brady, under 300.5 passing yards, -112
Sure Tom Brady is the “goat” but that doesn’t mean you can’t bet against him when the numbers dictate. In this case the over is too high as the SIS data says he’ll complete 23.5 passes for 273 yards and 2 touchdowns. Also, with Tampa Bay an 8.5-point favorite, the fourth quarter might be a case where the Bucs feature the running attack to shorten the game.
2) Ronald Jones II, score TD, +125
3) Ronald Jones II, over 48.5 rushing yards, -113
Gaming sites are underestimating Ronald Jones but we aren’t. He is the starter and gets the first chance to control the workload. Our data shows he has a 59.5% chance of scoring which should make him a -147 favorite, not a +125 underdog. Our tools predict 68 rushing yards which makes him a huge favorite to cover the over on the small 48.5-yard number. We expect just 47 yards from Leonard Fournette and no rushing yards from the pass-catching specialist Giovani Bernard.
4) Blake Jarwin, over 1.5 receptions, -112
5) Blake Jarwin, over 21.5 receiving yards, -112
Jarwin was on a short list of breakout tight ends heading into last year before a knee injury cost him the season. He’s another player being overlooked and in Week 1 even a modest effort could cover both the receptions and yardage numbers. There’s a reason the team signed him to a four-year, $22 million deal and he will find a niche even with all the wide receiver talent on this Cowboys team. Our analysis is predicting 3 receptions for 36 yards, easily covering both totals.
6) Michael Gallup, over 3.5 receptions, -110.
When people talk about the Cowboys’ receiving corps they always talk about Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, but seemingly forget the third man Gallup. Gallup has seen more than 100 targets in each of the last two seasons and averaged a solid 975 yards a season. He has also averaged over four catches per game over that span.
In Week 1 of 2021 we actually have Gallup slightly ahead of his two compatriots in receptions: Gallup 4.8, Cooper 4.8 and Lamb 4.7.
Those are our suggestions. Good luck with your choices tonight!
Sports Info Solutions has been an innovator in the collection and analysis of sports data for almost two decades. SIS specializes in baseball and football data, using professional scouting practices to collect the most detailed and accurate information in both sports. Its is used in team front offices, and on websites such as Fangraphs and Football Outsiders.
Full list of props considered
Quarterback Touchdown Passes
Dak Prescott, 1.5, over -135/under +110
Tom Brady, 2.5, over +145/under -182
Quarterback Passing Yards
Dak Prescott, over 280.5 -112/under -110
Tom Brady, over 300.5, -112/under -112
Dak Prescott, 25.5 completions, over -134/under +103
Tom Brady, 25.5 completions, over +103/under -134
Ezekiel Elliott, -125
Amari Cooper, +175
CeeDee Lamb, +165
Michael Gallup, +270
Jarwin Blake, +500
Dak Prescott, +340
Tony Pollard, +450
Dalton Schultz, +475
Tampa Bay –
Mike Evans, -103
Ron Jones, +125
Chris Godwin, +143
Leonard Fournette, +170
Antonio Brown, +175
Rob Gronkowski, +275
OJ Howard, +430
Gio Bernard, +480
Tom Brady, +500
Scotty Miller, +525
Ezekiel Elliott, 55.5, over -112/under -112
Ron Jones, 48.5, over -113/under -110
Amari Cooper, 60.5, over -113/under -110
CeeDee Lamb, 59.5, over -113/under -110
Michael Gallup, 48.5, over -110/under -113
Ezekiel Elliott, 21.5, over -113/under -110
Blake Jarwin, 21.5, over -112/under -112
Tampa Bay –
Mike Evans, 62.5, over -114/under -109
Antonio Brown, 60.5, over -110/under -113
Chris Godwin, 56.5, over -112/under -112
Rob Gronkowski, 31.5, over -113/under -110
Ron Jones, 5.5, over -109/under -114
Amari Cooper, 5.5, over +110/under -143
CeeDee Lamb, 5.5, over +118/under -155
Michael Gallup, 3.5, over -134/under +103
Ezekiel Elliott, 3.5, over +107/under -139
Blake Jarwin, 1.5, over -190/under +144
Tampa Bay –
Mike Evans, 3.5, over -182/under +138
Antonio Brown, 4.5, over -155/under +118
Chris Godwin, 4.5, over -143/under +110
Rob Gronkowski, 2.5, over -159/under +122