Photo by @4MR_Monty (Twitter).
- Tampa Bay lost in Week 1 while New England won, yet the Patriots remain longshots to top the Buccaneers in wins this season
- The addition of veteran talent, led by Tom Brady, and an easier schedule make the Bucs a solid bet
- Read on for the odds and analysis of what to expect from these new NFL rivals this season
Tom Brady endured a rocky start with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, throwing a pick-six in a 34-23 loss to the divisional rival New Orleans in Week 1.
While the loss raises questions about their ability to challenge New Orleans for top spot in the NFC South, the Buccaneers remain favored to rack up more wins than the New England Patriots this season, sporting -140 odds in the latest NFL special.
Odds to Win More Games During the 2020 NFL Season
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-150|
|New England Patriots||+110|
Odds taken September 16, 2020.
Retooled Bucs Endure Slow Start
After recording yet another losing season in 2019, the Buccaneers undertook massive roster changes during the offseason. In addition to signing Brady as a free agent, Tampa Bay also lured tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement, and bolstered their ground game by signing rusher Leonard Fournette just days before the start of the season.
[email protected] (+4) lose to Saints 34-23.
Tom Brady against the spread:
▪️With Belichick: 189-128-7(60%) ✅
▪️Without: 0-1 ATS ❌
— John Ewing (@johnewing) September 13, 2020
Those additions, among others, have been key to the Buccaneers’ resurgence at the sportsbooks, where they opened the season as vastly improved +149 second-favorites in the NFL divisional odds. The Bucs’ 2020 NFL win totals was set at 9.5 with the over favored at -130.
But while Tampa Bay failed to come close to covering as four-point underdogs in New Orleans, it remains far too early for the Buccaneers faithful to panic. The new group did not have the opportunity to gel in any exhibition games and is understandably lacking chemistry. Sunday’s loss is disappointing, but comes as no surprise.
Are Brady, Arians, Seeing Eye to Eye?
Tom Brady’s personal history also indicates that a Week 1 loss is not cause for too much concern. Brady’s Patriots suffered season-opening losses on three occasions during his two decades in New England. The team rebounded to win at least 12 games and advance to the Super Bowl in each of those campaigns.
Tom Brady’s Buccaneers Debut
•23-36, 239 Yds. 2 TD’s. 2 INT’s. 1 Rush TD.
•Tampa Bay fall to the Saints 34-23
— Dylan C (@DylansRawTake) September 13, 2020
However, until the 43-year-old future Hall-of-Famer finally records his first victory in Tampa Bay, concerns about his durability will linger. Post-game criticisms by head coach Bruce Arians have also raised concerns about the relationship between the Bucs boss and the legendary passer.
2020 NFL Schedules
|vs Carolina||Week 2||@ Seattle|
|@ Denver||Week 3||vs Las Vegas|
|vs LA Chargers||Week 4||@ Kansas City|
|@ Chicago||Week 5||vs Denver|
|vs Green Bay||Week 6||Bye|
|@ Las Vegas||Week 7||vs San Francisco|
|@ NY Giants||Week 8||@ Buffalo|
|vs New Orleans||Week 9||@ NY Jets|
|@ Carolina||Week 10||vs Baltimore|
|vs LA Rams||Week 11||@ Houston|
|vs Kansas City||Week 12||vs Arizona|
|Bye||Week 13||@ LA Chargers|
|vs Minnesota||Week 14||@ LA Rams|
|@ Atlanta||Week 15||@ Miami|
|@ Detroit||Week 16||vs Buffalo|
|vs Atlanta||Week 17||vs NY Jets|
Bucs Have Plenty of Opportunities to Win
However, winning tends to heal such rifts, and the Buccaneers still enjoy plenty of opportunities to do just that. Tampa Bay enters Week 2 with the second-easiest schedule in the NFL, which includes a Week 2 visit from the Carolina Panthers, followed by a trip to Denver to battle the Broncos in Week 3.
Week 2 Injury Report – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers (Wednesday, September 16, 2020): https://t.co/k67RWIxcq6 pic.twitter.com/EUrSV1kZFS
— Buccaneers Communications (@BuccaneersComms) September 16, 2020
Among the other very beatable opponents on the Bucs schedule are the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants, as well as a December stretch run that features a pair of dates with the Atlanta Falcons and a road clash with the Detroit Lions.
So far, the Buccaneers have remained healthy, with the lone major injury concern being wide receiver Chris Godwin. He is reportedly still suffering the effects of a hit to the helmet in Week 1, but only entered concussion protocol on Wednesday.
Newton a Winner in Patriots Debut
The post-Brady era in New England began on a winning note, with Cam Newton leading the Patriots to a 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins as seven-point favorites. Uncertainty about the Patriots’ future has lingered since Brady’s departure, with many bettors expecting the team to take a step back this season.
Cam Newton vs Tom Brady Week 1:
155 Pass Yds 239
0 INT 2
78.9 CPM% 63.8
0 Pass TD 2
75 Rush Yds 9
2 Rush TD 1
Win Result Loss pic.twitter.com/t9vEX3EfrX
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) September 13, 2020
That sentiment impacted New England’s win total. It was also at 9.5 entering the season, but the under was heavily favored at -160. With their victory over the bottom-feeding Dolphins in Week 1, the Patriots are now a -125 bet to go over 9.0 wins.
Tough Schedule Awaits
The competition is about to get considerably tougher for the Patriots, who visit the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football this weekend. In addition, New England can also look forward to October clashes with both the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. Two games against the Buffalo Bills and their ferocious defense also present a huge obstacle.
“I think it’s obviously playoffs or bust or really Super Bowl or bust for [the Buffalo Bills].”@TheSamAcho joins @AdamSchein and they both agree, the Bills are FOR REAL this season! pic.twitter.com/DxnxYvJWT3
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 16, 2020
Indeed, with Baltimore, Arizona, Houston, and back-to-back dates in Los Angeles against the Rams and Chargers on the schedule, there really are no easy stretches in the Patriots’ 2020 slate.
Too Early to Hop on Patriots Bandwagon
Cam Newton has a lot to prove, and his resurgence could move the needle in New England, which maintains decent +114 odds to win the AFC East (second to Buffalo at +102).
But barring a major injury, a sudden downturn in Brady’s performance, or other unforeseen factors, no significant value is yet to be found in the current +110 odds of the Patriots’ outpacing Tampa Bay in the win column this season.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-140)