The playoffs are officially upon us in the NFL, and the recent wild card games have been nothing short of exciting. Tonight’s matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the last of the wild card games and it’s expected to be a close one. The remainder of this article covers all of our predictions for tonight’s matchup with plenty of relevant details to help you make the best decisions.
Top Value: Tampa Bay Buccaneers ML, +125
Let’s be honest, the Buccaneers haven’t looked good all season, and it’s a surprise that they even made the playoffs. Despite this, we can’t overlook their signal caller in the postseason. Tom Brady is the winningest quarterback of all time when it comes to the playoffs, and he’ll certainly be ready to play tonight.
The Cowboys are favored by nearly a field goal tonight, although the game will be played in Tampa. Dallas has a clear advantage in terms of offensive efficiency and total defense but they allow teams to keep the scoring close. Both defenses will be looking to stop a plethora of pass attempts.
These two teams played each other to start the regular season in early September. That matchup largely means nothing at this point, but it’s important to note Tampa Bay won that game 19-3. It’s hard to say whether that result is indicative of what could happen tonight, but we know that Tampa’s defense is capable of limiting the explosive Dallas offense.
We’re predicting Tampa Bay to win outright tonight for a couple of reasons. To start, you’re getting plus money on a home underdog which is always worth considering in the NFL playoffs. The underdog, in this case, is Tom Brady, so that makes this even more interesting given his playoff track record. Tampa Bay has already proven they can beat Dallas, so they likely have a good idea as to how to approach this game.
CeeDee Lamb o73.5 Receiving Yards, -115
Lamb has been a target monster ever since reconnecting with Dak Prescott earlier this season. He has double digit receptions in two of his last three games and over 100 yards in four of his last five games. Now that the Cowboys are in a must-win situation, it’s highly likely that Lamb will draw most of the receiving work.
CeeDee Lamb has covered this number in 8 games this season. He’s truly or boom or bust player, but when he booms you can expect a lot of production. He’ll be competing with Dalton Schultz, Noah Brown, and Michael Gallup for the bulk of the targets.
Lamb is the clear alpha receiver on the Cowboy’s offense. Although we’re more bullish than bearish on his performance tonight, he’ll certainly draw a lot of attention. If the Buccaneers decide to play double coverage, Lamb’s production could be severely limited.
Chris Godwin u7.5 Receptions, -150
I want Chris Godwin to do well just as much as the next guy, but eight receptions is a lot to ask for from any receiver. He’s Tampa Bay’s most targeted receiver by a wide margin, but we’re not dealing with any injuries to make this number appealing. Tom Brady has a tendency to spread the wealth amongst his receivers, and this could easily favor someone like Mike Evans or Russell Gage.
When you look at Godwin’s game logs, it might stand out to you that he’s gone over this number in several games recently. Despite this, the Cowboys’ defense is among the best in the league, and they can easily focus on the most targeted receivers. Dallas will likely try to make Tom Brady uncomfortable, and part of this means taking away his valuable receivers.
Over 45 Total Points, -115
The under in this game is garnering a lot of attention – probably because the first meeting between these two teams went under. Every aspect of this game, however, is pointing to a potential shootout. The spread is less than a field goal and each team has a projected total of more than three touchdowns. All of this alludes to a game that could feature scoring on every possession.
Trends are not always indicative of future outcomes in sports betting, but they’re still worth considering. With this being said, it’s clear that most of the wild card games have gone over the projected total. Several of these games (Bills/Dolphins, Vikings/Giants, Jaguars/Chargers) have ended in shootout fashion. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Buccaneers and Cowboys follow suit when they play tonight.
There are plenty of picks to consider tonight, but not all of them warrant a full write-up. Below you’ll find a few honorable mentions and reasons as to why they’re worth a look.
- Ezekiel Elliott anytime TD scorer, +105: Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, seems to have an affinity for giving Zeke the ball whenever they’re on the goal line. Expect this to be the case whenever Dallas finds themselves within the 5 yard line.
- Leonard Fournette anytime TD, +130: Fournette’s nickname is ‘Playoff Lenny’ based on the performances he had when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. His decreased workload as of late makes it easy to speculate that Tampa could unleash him tonight.
- Mike Evans o4.5 receptions, -150: This is a fairly low number for Mike Evans considering his ceiling and Brady’s tendency to target him. The odds are juiced but there are alternate lines available if you choose to go that route.
- Tony Pollard o2.5 receptions, -165: Pollard is in the same boat as Mike Evans considering his ceiling makes this number appealing. Tony Pollard has solidified himself as the receiving back, and there’s a good chance Prescott will have to check down a few times tonight.
- Dak Prescott o247.5 passing yards, -115: If this game ends up being a shootout and going over the 45 point total, there’s a good chance Prescott will cover this number. He’s thrown for over 250 yards in 8/12 games this season which makes this number look good, especially in the playoffs.
That wraps up our picks for the final NFL Wild Card game of 2023. There’s a lot at stake tonight – the Cowboys could end their torturous dry spell, or Tom Brady could extend his quest for his 8th Super Bowl win. Regardless of what happens, please remember to bet responsibly and always do your own research prior to making any wagers.