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You may have heard Tom Brady left the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, and he's bringing tight end Rob Gronkowski with him. The additions of Brady and Gronkowski have turned the Buccaneers into contenders - and impacted the betting market. Tampa Bay is +1000 to win the Super Bowl, while Bill Belichick and the six-time champion Patriots are +1600.
The market has reacted swiftly to the improved Bucs, but which team will win more games in 2020? Though Tampa Bay is a healthy favorite, the Patriots may finally be undervalued for the first time in 15 years.
Case for the Buccaneers
Brady will be 43 when the season starts, and the now-formerly retired Gronkowski was last seen winning the WWE Hardcore Championship at WrestleMania. Still, it can't be overstated how much better the Buccaneers are with the two future Hall of Famers on the roster. Tampa Bay went 7-9 last season and lost six games by a touchdown or less, despite Jameis Winston committing an NFL-high 42 turnovers. Brady, by comparison, has turned the ball over 41 times across the last three campaigns.
Fewer turnovers should help a Tampa Bay defense that spent too much time on the field last year and often found itself in bad spots thanks to the mistake-prone offense. The result was a unit that allowed 28.1 points per game. The Buccaneers have one of the NFL's most explosive offenses with Brady, Gronkowski, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate. If the defense improves even slightly, Tampa Bay should be one of the top teams in the NFC.
Case for the Patriots
The best argument for the Patriots is Belichick. The loss of Brady is huge, but the future Hall of Fame coach has won without his star quarterback in the past. The Patriots went 11-5 in 2008 with Matt Cassel at quarterback after Brady was injured in the season opener. The stoic coach didn't get enough credit for his work that year considering Cassel hadn't started a game since high school. New England also went 3-1 in 2016 when Brady was serving a four-game suspension.
Brady may be gone, but the Patriots still return the NFL's top-ranked total and scoring defense. They did lose some important defensive contributors, but Belichick still has plenty of talent returning to a unit that allowed just 14.1 points per game in 2019.
The key will be the quarterback position. Aside from signing veteran Brian Hoyer, the Patriots failed to land a passer in free agency or the draft this offseason. Hoyer is more suited to a backup role, so it appears Jarrett Stidham will be Brady's replacement. The second-year signal-caller has attempted only four passes in the NFL. Don't sell Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels short though. They have won with unproven quarterbacks in the past.
The preseason hype is with the Buccaneers, but the value lies with the Patriots at +140. It comes down to whether or not you believe in Stidham. New England has done very little at the quarterback position, and though Cam Newton is still out there, Belichick hasn't shown interest in the former MVP so far. It looks like it's Stidham or bust, but 10-6 still seems realistic for the Patriots given Belichick's track record.
Tampa Bay may be overvalued, but Brady's addition to a team that was in a position to win 10-plus games last season is the deciding factor. If the defense can just be average, the Buccaneers should challenge the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
This wager will be closer than some people think, but the lean is Tampa Bay -165 to win more games in 2020.
Thomas Casale is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. A devoted fan of the wishbone offense, Thomas bets on all sports but specializes in college football, NFL, and college basketball. Find him on Twitter @TheTomCasale.