NFL football has arrived, and that means it’s time to start betting on DraftKings Sportsbook for the 2021 season opener on TNF between the Cowboys and Buccaneers. Let’s get ready for what we hope to be a profitable season, beginning with a strong Week 1. For updates, always follow along on Twitter — @julianedlow.
This is going to be a bigger play on the Week 1 board for me, and it’ll also be posted in my best bets article for the week. I’m going to stick to just the analysis of this game in the TNF article, but for my analysis on the 49ers’ side of this teaser, check out my article from last month, where I already locked in the 7-point spread.
The 49ers will be my largest investment on the Week 1 board, as I think they are in the safest spot, despite being on the road. A lot of other teams will jump out for the popular 6-point teasers, but the Bucs are the only one I’m comfortable laying my money on for this week. Of course, the defending Super Bowl champs could somehow lose focus on their banner night, but I think this specific Tampa team is going to come ready to play — it’s the first Super Bowl champion in the salary cap era to return all 22 starters the following season.
The Super Bowl winner has gone 17-3 on opening night to start their title defense, and I expect Tampa to continue that trend. Besides how impressive a start the Bucs may get off to this season, Dallas should be a good early fade. The Cowboys have to improve upon last season, but Dak Prescott got zero work in preseason, getting his last live game action in Week 5 of 2020. Dallas also has offensive line concerns, headlined by Zack Martin (who tested positive for COVID). The Bucs’ front seven should be able to tee off on Dak, and running room will be tough to find.
Meanwhile, the Bucs are stacked with targets for Tom Brady, and face a run defense that ranked only ahead of the Texans in 2020. This one could get ugly.
Antonio Brown OVER 4.5 Receptions (-145) — 0.5 units
The Bucs have a lot of targets to spread the ball around to, but TB12 seems to have some weird obsession with Brown that dates back to getting him to play for the Patriots (even if it lasted for one game).
After joining the Bucs in 2020, AB soaked up 61 targets over eight regular season games. He turned that into 45 receptions — good for over five a game. Brown was dinged up during the postseason run, but did haul in five of his six targets in the Super Bowl, including one for a touchdown.
Brown will be going up against a soft Dallas secondary in this game, and with a lot of attention focused on Mike Evans and Chris Godwin going deep. Meanwhile, Brady’s obsession with AB has carried into this season, seeing targets on six of TB’s 16 pass attempts in preseason.
Leonard Fournette OVER 35.5 Rushing Yards (-110) — 0.5 units
This one actually got bet up by two yards over the course of the day while I was writing this article. I’m not very concerned about it. Do people forget the role Fournette had on the ground during the Bucs’ Super Bowl run? I’ll remind you:
Wild Card Round vs. Washington: 19-93-1
Divisional Round vs. New Orleans: 17-63-0
NFC Championship vs. Packers: 12-55-1
Super Bowl vs. Chiefs: 16-89-1
That’s a grand total of 64 carries for 300 yards and three touchdowns in four playoff games. He averaged 75 rushing yards per game, and had no fewer than 55 in a game during that run.
Uncle Leo was also heavily involved as a receiver (18 receptions for 148 yards), but with that role now belonging to Gio Bernard, Fournette could be in line for even more work in the ground game. Snaps will be shared with Ronald Jones, but the job should be pretty evenly split.
Exceeding 35.5 yards as a home favorite of more than a touchdown against a team that ranked 31st in rushing yards allowed last season (158.8 rushing yards per game) shouldn’t be much of an issue.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
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