Sunday Night Football in Week 1 features two NFC playoff teams in the Buccaneers and Cowboys who fell short of their Super Bowl aspirations in the playoffs. These teams opened the season against one another last year to the tune of a 31-29 shootout where Tampa came up with the win.
Both of these teams have had some significant losses on offense since then, and that’s a big reason why I’m on the under in this game. Still, there’s still great opportunities for action in the player prop market. Let’s take a look at the best values.
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Tom Brady Over 2.5 Passing Touchdowns
This has been a bizarre offseason for Tom Brady, and there’s no question that the vibes around the Buccaneers are far from ideal, but I’m willing to back this team nonetheless as Brady has never been one to let off-field distractions affect his play.
The Bucs may have lost Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, but they signed Julio Jones and might get Chris Godwin back sooner than expected. Of course, Mike Evans remains one of the best red zone threats in the NFL.
Dallas allowed just 24 passing touchdowns last season, the third-fewest in the NFL. However, the Cowboys rarely played any top quarterbacks last season, and they allowed multi-touchdown efforts to Taylor Heinecke, Taysom Hill, Sam Darnold, Gardner Minshew, Jalen Hurts, and Mac Jones.
Brady threw for three or more touchdowns in eight of his 19 games last year (42% hit rate) including a four-touchdown effort in Week 1 against the Cowboys. When the Buccaneers get into the red zone, they will likely rely on the passing game due to their deficiencies along the offensive line.
I’m well aware that this directly contradicts my bet on the under in this matchup, but I can’t ignore the historical trends and the value in this prop. I’d bet this at anything over +150, and you can currently get +165 at DraftKings and BetMGM.
Tony Pollard Over 16.5 Receiving Yards
When the Cowboys faced the Buccaneers last season, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, and Blake Jarwin combined for 23 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns. None of them will be on the field on Sunday night. So where will the receiving production come from?
CeeDee Lamb will be the focal point for the offense, but the Buccaneers know that – he’s going to see a ton of double-teams and shaded zone coverage in this game. While Jalen Tolbert is promising, he’s a rookie starting his first game.
I expect Tony Pollard to be heavily involved in the passing game to start the season, and the Cowboys have been working to implement him more as a slot receiver in the offense. Pollard is a dynamic receiver, and in this matchup last year he had four catches for 29 yards.
Pollard averaged 21.8 receiving yards per game last season, and he went over this line in nine of 16 games last season. I’ll bet on him doing it again as he’ll be a necessary part of the offense for Dallas.
Chris Godwin to Score a Touchdown
This is a bet I’m placing now and monitoring throughout the week. Chris Godwin has been well ahead of schedule in his rehab process, but his status is still up in the air for Week 1. There’s a +200 line available for him to score a touchdown right now, and if he plays, I believe that would be immense value. If he doesn’t play, your bet will be voided.
Mike Evans is elite in the red zone, but Godwin was more targeted in that area last year as defenses keyed in on Evans. Godwin ranked fifth in the NFL with 27 red zone targets, but he only scored five touchdowns on those targets. That screams positive regression. Godwin did score a touchdown against the Cowboys last year.
If you’re in on the Tom Brady prop, you should look to pair that bet with a touchdown scorer among the Tampa receivers, and I like the value on Godwin the best. If Godwin doesn’t play, target Mike Evans in this prop.