Tom Brady an Underdog for First Time in 74 Regular-Season Games

Jesse Pantuosco
May 08, 2020 - 12:53 pm
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Tom Brady and the word “underdog” aren’t usually found in the same sentence. But that’s actually what Touchdown Tom will be when he makes his Tampa Bay debut in Week 1. Caesars Sportsbook has installed the Buccaneers as 6.5-point underdogs for their opener in New Orleans, marking the first time Brady has been a regular-season underdog since Week 2 of 2015 when the Pats were one-point dogs at Buffalo (New England wound up winning 40-32).

Brady has been the Vegas favorite in 74 straight regular-season starts, the longest such streak in league history and well ahead of runner-up Steve Young, who was favored in 62 straight games from 1993-97. Kurt Warner’s stretch of 48 consecutive games as the betting favorite ranks third all-time while Brady’s Week 1 combatant, Drew Brees, holds the second-longest active streak at nine games.

Brady’s Patriots were underdogs to the Chiefs during the 2018 playoffs, but it’s been a long time since Vegas picked against him in the regular season. Ironically, Brady’s former team, the New England Patriots, enter Week 1 as 5.5-point home favorites over the rebuilding Dolphins. Per ESPN’s David Purdum, Brady has often performed his best when the odds are against him, going 33-13-1 versus the spread with 29 outright wins in 47 regular-season games as an underdog. If this is curtains for Brady’s streak—and barring a dramatic change, it will be—his 74-game run as a regular-season favorite will be one tough act to follow.

"Can't imagine that will ever be broken,” said John Murray of Las Vegas’ Westgate Superbook. “How many guys will ever be that good, play for a coach that good, in a system that good and in a division that bad for that long?"

The reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs join the Saints as home favorites in Week 1 (they’ve been given an 11-point edge over Houston) along with the Lamar-Jackson-led Ravens, who are heavy favorites (-10) to beat the Browns in their 2020 opener. As for Brady’s regular-season outlook, Vegas Insider has set Tampa Bay’s over/under at 9.5 wins, placing the Bucs in a three-way tie for sixth behind the Chiefs (11.5), Ravens (11.5), 49ers (10.5), Saints (10) and Cowboys (10).

You’ll be seeing a lot of Brady this year with a league-high five primetime games on tap for the Bucs in 2020. You can see the NFL’s full regular-season slate right here.

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