The GOAT is a ‘dog for the first time in a long time.
After the NFL schedule was released Thursday, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened as 6.5-point underdogs in their Week 1 road game against the New Orleans Saints, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Brady has been favored in his past 74 regular-season starts. It’s the longest such streak in the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, and it appears to be in jeopardy.
The owner of the next-longest active streak? Saints quarterback Drew Brees (nine straight), who is favored over Brady in Week 1 this season.
Barring dramatic line movement, when the Bucs and Saints kick off Sept. 13, Brady will be an underdog in the regular season for the first time since Week 2 of 2015, when the New England Patriots were 1-point underdogs at the Buffalo Bills. Brady was favored in his next 74 starts.
“Can’t imagine that will ever be broken,” said John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas. “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?”
Brady has had success as an underdog in the regular season. He led the Patriots to outright wins in 29 of his 47 regular-season games as an underdog. New England went 33-13-1 against the spread as an underdog in Brady starts.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young owns the second-longest streak of consecutive regular-season games as the favorite at 62 from 1993 to 1997. Former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner was favored in 48 straight from 1999 to 2003.
While Brady’s historic run of being favored is in peril, his former team is poised to keep a similar streak alive. Shortly after the NFL schedule was released Thursday, Caesars installed the Patriots as 5.5-point favorites over the Miami Dolphins in their Week 1 game at Gillette Stadium. New England enters the season having been favored in 63 consecutive regular-season games, also a record for the Super Bowl era.
Other notable Week 1 opening lines at Caesars include:
The NFL schedule release comes while major U.S. sports leagues are weighing options to resume their seasons, which were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Alan Berg, senior oddsmaker at Caesars Sportsbook, said he did factor the possibility that NFL games could be played without fans into his odds.
“I do think it will have an impact on home-field advantage,” Berg said.
ESPN Stats & Information researcher Mackenzie Kraemer contributed to this report.