Tom Brady in Tampa Bay equals big betting on Bucs in 2020

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The betting public has followed Tom Brady south.

More bets have been placed on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl than on any other team at multiple U.S. sportsbooks. The Bucs are 12-1 to win the Super Bowl at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.

At DraftKings, 22% of the total money wagered on winning the Super Bowl is on the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has attracted twice as much money as the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs, and three times as much as any other team.

FanDuel's largest liability, in terms of odds to win the Super Bowl, is also on the Buccaneers. "It's four times the liability of any other team," FanDuel sportsbook director John Sheeran said.

Meanwhile Brady's former team, the New England Patriots, enter the season with 20-1 odds to win the Super Bowl -- the longest odds the Pats have faced entering a season since 2002 according to SportsOddsHistory.com. And their season win total this year has been set at 9.5, their lowest since 2010.

"[The Patriots] are not the headache they usually are from the bookmakers' perspective." Sheeran said.

As an NFL season like no other prepares to kick off this week, here's a comprehensive look at the action -- the biggest and boldest bets, some notable stats, and a few tips for beginners.

Action report

• While the Buccaneers are the darlings of the betting public, multiple bookmakers report taking sharp money on the under in terms of the Bucs' season-win total. "There's definitely a split there between the public and sharps," Tom Gable, sportsbook director at the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J., said. "The sharps are looking at fading [Tampa Bay]." Most sportsbooks have the Bucs' win total posted at 9.5, although there are a few 10s out there.

• Additional season-win totals bookmakers said sharp bettors have targeted: Bills under 9; 49ers under 10.5; Lions over 7; Colts under 9.5; Rams under 8.5; Jaguars over 4.5.

• Entering Week 1, the Jaguars had attracted the fewest bets to win the Super Bowl at DraftKings.

• The Borgata is routinely inundated with bets on the Giants and Eagles. Yet a week prior to the season, the book found itself in an unusual position on its odds to win the NFC East. "We have more tickets written on the Cowboys than we do on the Giants and Eagles combined," Gable said. "It's extremely unusual for Atlantic City."

• As of Friday, the Borgata would actually win money if the Eagles won the Super Bowl. "It is very, very unusual not to have liability on the Eagles," Gable said.

• Bettors at FanDuel in New Jersey have been fading the Jets, backing under 6.5 wins. "It's kind of surprising, because normally we see some degree of local money in support of the Jets and Giants," Sheeran said. "We've seen the Giants money come back, but I haven't seen any money for the Jets over. They're definitely fading them."

• As expected, the Raiders are receiving a lot of attention from bettors in Las Vegas. At Station Casino sportsbooks, the hometown team has attracted the most bets to win the AFC, and more than twice as many bets to win the Super Bowl as any other team except for the Chiefs. "The Raiders this year for our side of the counter could be similar in popularity to what we experienced with the Golden Knights [in] Year 1," said Chuck Esposito, sportsbook director for Station Casinos. "My guess is we may be rooting against them weekly from the business side of it, especially if they get off to a good start."

• Washington running back Antonio Gibson's odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year could have been found upward of 175-1 during the offseason. Entering Week 1, Gibson was down to 12-1 at FanDuel.

• Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow is the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. He is +225 at DraftKings and has attracted 49% of the money wagered.

• Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (+375) has attracted the most bets and the most money to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at PointsBet.

• Barring significant line movement this week, Brady will be an underdog in the regular season for the first time since Week 2 of 2015. The Buccaneers began the week as 3.5-point road underdogs to the Saints. If the line holds, Brady's streak of 74 consecutive regular-season games as the favorite -- a record many oddsmakers believe will never be topped -- will end.

• Brady has seen his odds to win regular-season MVP improve from 30-1 to 16-1 at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the favorite to win MVP at 7-2.

• Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is 25-1 to win Comeback Player of the Year at the SuperBook. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the favorite for the award at 4-1.

• Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is 40-1 to win MVP at the SuperBook.

• Circa Sports in Las Vegas has reported taking a "big" bet on the Buccaneers to win the most regular-season games in the league at 15-1 odds. The bet was large enough to cause Circa sportsbook manager Chris Bennett to shorten the Bucs' odds to have the most wins to +825. "Basically, we're trying not to take any more bets on them," Bennett said.

Bets of note

• $55,000 on Chase Young to win Defensive Rookie of the Year at +220, placed at FanDuel in August.

• $40,000 on the Cowboys to win the NFC East at even money, placed at the Borgata. The Cowboys are now -110 favorites to win the division there.

• $25,000 on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl at 5-1, placed at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas -- would pay a net $125,000.

• $5,000 on the Bengals to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC at 250-1, placed at the MGM sportsbook at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas -- would pay a net $1.25 million.

• $2,500 on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to win regular-season MVP at 60-1, placed at the SuperBook -- would pay a net $150,000.

• $1,500 on the Bengals to win the Super Bowl at 100-1, placed at the Indiana Grand Casino -- would pay a net $150,000.

• $1,000 on the Chargers to win the Super Bowl at 51-1, placed with DraftKings on March 17 -- would pay a net $51,000.

• $999 on the Washington Football Team to win the Super Bowl at 300-1, placed at the SuperBook -- would pay $299,700.

• $800 on the Lions to win the Super Bowl at 61-1, placed with DraftKings on Aug. 28 -- would pay a net $48,800.

Stats of note

• Thirty-two games finished with a margin of victory of seven points last season, while 27 games had three-point margins. It was the first time more regular-season games were decided by seven points than were decided by three points since 1974, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Last season was likely an anomaly. Since 2015, 14.6% of regular-season games have ended with a margin of victory of three points. Seven points is the next most common margin of victory (9.9%), followed by six points (7.1%). Fourteen points and 10 points are next, at 5.8% and 4.7% of games respectively.

• The favorite has won 66% of games the past five seasons (834-428-5). But last year favorites won only 64.9% of games, the lowest percentage since 2015.

• Favorites have covered the spread in 48.8% of games (598-628-41) the past five years.

• NFL games have had an average of 45.6 points the past five seasons. The average over/under on games the past five seasons was 45.3.

• In the past five seasons, 1,238 games have gone over the total, and 1,288 have stayed under the total.

• The teams with the best records against the spread at home since 2010: Patriots (56-35-4), Vikings (47-31-3), Packers (50-33-3), Seahawks (49-35-2), Saints (47-37-1).

• The teams with the worst records against the spread at home since 2010: Buccaneers (28-48-3), Browns (30-45-4), Chargers (31-46-1), Cowboys (33-48-2), Titans (31-44-5).


• House rules vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, but it is common for pregame football bets to be voided if a game is postponed and rescheduled for more than a week after the originally scheduled date, or if a game is moved to a new location. Some of the new operators in the U.S., like FanDuel, are taking a more lenient approach when games are postponed or relocated. "We've spoken to regulators in all the states that we operate in, and we want to be as bettor-friendly as we can," Sheeran said. "We're in agreement with regulators that if a bettor wants to void a bet because of one of those factors, even if it isn't the general rule, we will permit them to do that if they reach out before the game starts."

• Sportsbooks generally require a football game to last at least 55 minutes for bets to be action.

• The NFL requires teams to report players' practice participation in the days leading up to games. For Sunday games, teams must report practice participation on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, for example. "All players who have reportable injuries must be listed on the practice report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game," according to the NFL's personnel injury report policy.

Here is an updating file on how teams are approaching allowing fans into stadiums.

Here are NFL roster rankings.

Tips for new bettors

• Odds are, you are not -- and never will be -- a professional sports bettor. The amount of people who make a living based solely on the outcomes of their wagers is miniscule, so it is almost always best to approach sports betting as a recreational activity. There are techniques, however, that savvy bettors say can help you, at a minimum, make your bankroll last longer and ideally make you a little money on the side.

• Risk only 2-5% of your bankroll on individual bets. If your bankroll is $1,000, you should bet no more than $20-$50 per wager. Your bets should be small enough that you can laugh about it when the inevitable bad call or fluke fumble recovery for a touchdown hands you an undeserved loss.

• If you are in a state with a legal sports betting market, sign up for multiple sportsbooks and shop around to find the best point spread or odds on the team you want to bet on. A half-point here or there may seem insignificant, but it can turn a push into a win or a loss into a push, both of which are beneficial to your bankroll.

• If you find yourself becoming overly emotional during the winning-and-losing roller coaster that sports betting provides, and risking more money than you should, it's time to cool off and reassess. Here is a link from the National Council on Problem Gambling with state-by-state resources available if you believe you need help.

Good luck and keep sports betting fun!

ESPN Stats & Information researcher Alex Denner contributed to this article.