Tom Brady continues to be the bait on the end of a sportsbook fishing rod as the NFL season prepares its Sept. 10 launch.
Bettors are biting on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his new team, as a favorite to win the Super Bowl. The Bucs account for nearly 25% of the DraftKings Super Bowl futures betting handle despite missing the postseason last year.
Brady’s move from the New England Patriots electrified the futures betting market in March. He propelled the Bucs from 50-1 to 14-1 to win the Super Bowl this season across New Jersey online sportsbooks.
It is one of the largest, if not the largest, off-season odds moves for any team in NFL history. The Bucs were 7-9 last season. They did not make the playoffs but, astoundingly, have become shorter-priced than eight teams that did.
Let’s examine some top contending teams in the Super Bowl futures big picture as we near NFL kickoff.
Top 10 teams and 2021 Super Bowl odds
To begin, here are the Super Bowl futures odds for the top 10 teams at NJ sportsbooks (odds as of 12:30 p.m. EST Sept. 4).
FanDuel Sportsbook odds are similar to DraftKings’ for a Super Bowl championship. Some odds shift slightly on longer-shot teams.
|Team||DraftKings Odds||FanDuel Odds|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+600||+600|
|San Francisco 49ers||+900||+900|
|New Orleans Saints||+1100||+1200|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+1400||+1500|
|New England Patriots||+2000||+2300|
Tampa Bay Buccaneers + Tom Brady = Super Bowl?
Tampa Bay received a league-leading 25% of the DraftKings Sportsbook handle and 17% of the bets, according to end-of-August tabulations.
The belief is that Brady will add stability to an offense that was formidable but turnover-prone last year. The Bucs have an excellent offensive line and numerous weapons, such as receiver Mike Evans. And just today, they signed Leonard Fournette to a one-year contract as running back.
They were undone by Jameis Winston’s dubious first-ever 30-30. He was the first NFL quarterback to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in one season and cost the team with a number of interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.
The Bucs talked Brady’s favorite target, Rob Gronkowski, out of retirement. That’s a help to Brady but neutral as far as the Bucs offense overall because they were already strong at tight end.
Nonetheless, New Jersey sportsbooks are grateful for the interest Brady pumped into the NFL offseason. Bettors also love the value this futures prop would bring.
Kansas City Chiefs are tops in Super Bowl futures
How about the team that actually WON the Super Bowl last year, the Kansas City Chiefs? They are +600 at DraftKings, where they have 11% of the handle and 8% of the bets.
What’s not to like about this team? If quarterback Patrick Mahomes is not hurt, they can score at will. Fans get to see them again in the first game of the NFL campaign Sept. 10.
It’s a tantalizing rematch of their AFC semifinal championship game against the Houston Texans.
Remember that barnburner, when your over bet was cashed at halftime? The Chiefs stormed back from a 24-0 deficit to win 51-31. It was the first time in NFL history that a team both trailed and led the same game by 20 points.
One delirious PointsBet NJ backer, a high-money gambler who preferred to remain anonymous, recalled doubling down on the Chiefs in-game, time and again.
His final bet was a capitulation. And it led to exhilaration.
“By the time it got to 24-0, I said, ‘The heck with it’ and went all-in with the rest of my budget,” he recalled. “I just figured I was beaten.”
The Chiefs, original 10-point favorites, were an astonishing +300 by that time in the game.
This bettor was “chasing,” a strategy that’s not recommended in general, especially for gambling novices. But in this case, it provided a hall-of-fame memory for him.
Ravens, Saints, 49ers are in the running
The Baltimore Ravens, who had a terrific season before being too tight in a playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans, are +650 with 11% of the handle and the third-most bets, 8%.
The New Orleans Saints, who suffered a surprising first-round upset loss to the Minnesota Vikings last season, have 6% of the handle at +1100. The New England Patriots without Brady have 6% of the Super Bowl action at +1800.
And the San Francisco 49ers? Remember them? They had the Super Bowl in their pocket before collapsing in the last few minutes against the Kansas City Chiefs last year. The Niners are +900 and have 6% of the action.
One could suspect that the Brady hoopla in the NFC shifted some of their betting support to Tampa Bay.
Who can win the AFC and NFC conferences?
FanDuel and DraftKings have the same Top 5 to win the AFC and NFC:
|AFC||DraftKings Odds||FanDuel Odds|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+600||+600|
|New England Patriots||+1100||+1200|
|San Francisco 49ers||+450||+450|
|New Orleans Saints||+550||+600|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+750||+750|
NFL division champs are almost a sure thing … almost
The projected numbers you see on possible Super Bowl and Conference-winning teams logically carry down to negative numbers for the division races.
Kansas City and Baltimore are prohibitive, in the range of between -200 and -450 at New Jersey books to win their divisions. Rightly so.
But some of the other divisions are up for betting grabs and can appeal to line shoppers for different teams. Take a look:
In the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles are a good-value +150 at DraftKings. The Cowboys are favored at -121.
FanDuel has Dallas at -130, the Eagles at +130. An Eagles backer who is line shopping goes to DraftKings.
For Big Blue fans, the New York Giants are +1500 at FanDuel, +1100 at DraftKings.
The Brady Bunch, the Bucs, are still an underdog in the NFC South. They are +150 at DraftKings, while New Orleans is -125. FanDuel has New Orleans at -115, Tampa Bay at +160.
Is a changing of the guard coming? How sweet it is that these teams meet in the first game and we can get a perspective.
In the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers, who went to the finals last year, are +180. The Minnesota Vikings are slightly favored at +160, both at DraftKings. Minnesota is +165 and Green Bay +190 at FanDuel.
The Pack as an underdog here is a bit of a surprise. It reflects a sentiment that Aaron Rodgers could get hurt and miss time.
San Francisco is -115 in the ultra-competitive NFC West because of the Seattle Seahawks, who are +230 on the FanDuel ticket. The Niners are -106 and Seattle is +220 at DraftKings.
Their division race, decided by perhaps one foot last year when the Seahawks were stopped just shy of the Niners goal line on the final play of the season, was one of the best ever.
The AFC East is exciting because, for the first time in many years, the New England Patriots are not favored. Buffalo has a slight edge, +120 vs +130, according to DraftKings.
FanDuel has the teams exactly deadlocked at +125. If you are thinking longshots, the NY Jets are +800 at FanDuel and +850 at DraftKings.
Click here to learn more about Jets odds in the 2020 season.
Indianapolis, at +100, and Tennessee, at +160, are expected to wage a dogfight in the AFC South at DraftKings. FanDuel has Indianapolis at +125 and Tennessee at +165.
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images