Tom Brady begins his Tampa Bay career with high expectations. His move to Florida was not for retirement but rather a chance to further cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever play.
Brady spoke about what he wanted to accomplish shortly after signing. The six-time Super Bowl champion cited all that “hasn’t been done yet.”
The 43-year-old wants to lead another franchise to a championship; Peyton Manning is the only quarterback ever to start for two different Super Bowl-winning teams. He also wants to win a Super Bowl in his home stadium (SB LV will be held in Tampa Bay), something that has never been done.
The Buccaneers enter the season with lofty goals and Super Bowl odds that they haven’t seen in quite some time.
“Their Super Bowl odds are the shortest they’ve been for over fifteen years and there are a number of Buccaneers who are very much in the running for individual awards as well,” Oddschecker spokesman Pete Watt shares with Heavy.com.
Oddsmakers have the Bucs at +1600 (fifth-shortest, per consensus odds) and Brady at +1800 to win the MVP (also fifth-shortest). As we enter the season, bettors are getting behind Brady’s move to Tampa Bay.
Savvy Bettor Takes Advantage of Brady’s Team Change
Brady wasn’t heavily linked to the Buccaneers early in free agency. The Patriots were favored in early March, as Pro Football Action documented. The Titans were, at one point, seen as the heavy non-New England favorite.
Oddsmakers had each the 49ers, Raiders, and Chargers with better-implied probabilities of landing Brady than the Bucs for most of free agency.
“As the speculation was going on as to where he would sign, there was kind of a new favorite every week,” Borgata’s Director of the Race and Sportsbook Tom Gable told Heavy.com in a recent (socially distanced) interview. “Tampa was never really, at least initially, one of the teams you’d think he’d end up with.”
One Atlantic City bettor envisioned the future, placing $10,000 on the Buccaneers to win the NFC South at +800 (8-1) with a hunch that Brady would leave New England for Tampa Bay.
It wasn’t until New England was ruled out in the days leading up to his March 21st announcement that Brady’s landing spot was seen as a two-horse race between the Chargers and Buccaneers. Only then was Tampa Bay seen as the odds on favorite for the QB’s services.
“He got a great price on them then because the Buccaneers were not one of the teams for (Brady) was signed,” Gable continued.
The current line on the Buccaneers winning the NFC South at BetMGM is +135 (1.35-1).
Winning the South Won’t be Easy For Brady
*Infographic provided by Oddschecker.com
The pre-Brady Bucs (which would have meant the team pursuing after Teddy Bridgewater) had an 11.1% implied probability of winning the NFC South. Once Brady signed, that began to rise. In the days leading up to the draft, it was at 28.6%. Now, heading into the season, oddsmakers believe Tampa Bay has a 38.5% chance at the division.
The Saints have taken home the division crown in each of the past three seasons. Since the NFC South formed back in 2002, New Orleans has won it more than any other team (6-of-18 times).
“Based on the oddsmakers’ figures, the most persistent obstacle to Bruce Arians’ bringing a second Super Bowl back to Tampa Bay will be the New Orleans Saints,” Watt tells Heavy.com. “The Bucs are considered slight underdogs in both their opener against the Saints and also in the battle for the division and conference, although it is very close on all three counts.”
Oddsmakers view this as a two-team race between the Saints and Buccaneers but that’s not to say there’s no chance Atlanta or Carolina will take the crown. The Falcons have a 9.1% chance to win it, while the Panthers sit at just 3.8%, according to implied probabilities.