NFL futures, odds: With Tom Brady back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers are among Super Bowl favorites

·9 min read

Fans of 31 NFL teams thought they caught a break when Tom Brady announced his retirement in February. Since entering the league in 2000, Brady has seven Super Bowl rings and three NFL MVP awards. It looked like the playing field was about to level out immensely and for the first time since 2000, we'd enter an NFL season without having to worry about Tom Brady's heroics.

However, Brady's retirement lasted just 40 days. Now, he's back and even at the age of 45, expectations are high for Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They won the Super Bowl two seasons ago, and last season they almost pulled off an incredible comeback in the divisional round against the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Of course, there are some questions about the Buccaneers. Anytime you enter a season with a 45-year old quarterback, there will be concerns about age. They've suffered some key losses on the offensive line, losing Ryan Jensen to injury and Ali Marpet to retirement. Tampa Bay also has a new head coach in Todd Bowles. Bowles has been a terrific defensive coordinator over his career, but his questionable play-call in the final seconds of the playoff loss to the Rams is fresh on the minds of many. Bowles also didn't fare well in his first opportunity as a head coach with the New York Jets.

Those concerns might be valid, but it also might be nitpicking things a little bit. Until Tom Brady proves otherwise, we should probably stop doubting him or the Buccaneers. Yahoo's Frank Schwab ranked the Buccaneers third in his preseason power rankings. The betting market seems to agree that this team is one of the most likely Super Bowl champions for the upcoming season.

Tampa Bay projected to be one of NFL's best teams

After winning 13 games last season, oddsmakers have set the preseason win total for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 11.5 wins. This win total is the highest in the league, sharing that honor with the Buffalo Bills. Somewhat surprisingly, 60% of bets and 58% of the money is backing Tampa Bay to go under 11.5 wins.

This win total is high enough where the Buccaneers could still have a good season and go under their win total. There are plenty of reasons as to why the Buccaneers could take a step back this season. Brady is 45, and if he shows his age even a bit, it could lead to a few more losses. Bowles very well could be a downgrade from Arians. The offensive line struggling could cost them a game. Chris Godwin might miss the start of the year.

However, any step backwards isn't likely to keep them out of the playoffs. The Buccaneers are -600 favorites to make the playoffs, odds that suggest they make it almost 86% of the time. Those are the best odds to make the playoffs of any team in the NFL, ahead of Buffalo (-550) and Green Bay (-450). Since 2003, Tom Brady has made the playoffs in every season except 2008 where he tore his ACL in Week 1.

Tampa Bay's most likely path to making the playoffs would be to win its division. The Buccaneers are -275 favorites to win the NFC South, making them the biggest favorite to win their division in football. The Buffalo Bills are -225 to win the AFC East, making them the second-largest favorite. The Buccaneers are -10000 favorites to finish in the top two of the division, meaning you'd need to bet $100 to win a dollar.

The New Orleans Saints are the most popular bet to win the division from a number of bets perspective, but 58% of the money is backing Tampa Bay to win it. The Buccaneers and Saints to finish top two in the division has -225 odds, making that the overwhelmingly most likely outcome. Tampa Bay is +225 to win all six divisional games, but before making that bet, realize that Tom Brady is 0-4 against the Saints in the regular season as a member of Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers are +550 to finish the NFL regular season with the most wins. Those odds are second-best behind the Buffalo Bills. Tampa Bay finished last season with 13 wins, tied for the most with the Green Bay Packers. Tampa Bay is +800 to lead the league in points scored during the regular season after finishing second behind Dallas last season. Those odds are tied for second best with the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers. Once again, the Bills have the best odds.

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 07: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) points at the defensive coverage during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Training Camp on August 07, 2022 at the AdventHealth Training Center at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are expected to be one of the best teams in the NFL this season. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Can Tom Brady win his eighth ring?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter the season with +750 odds to win the Super Bowl in 2022. Those are the second-best odds in football. The Bills are the current Super Bowl favorites at +600. The Buccaneers are currently the third-most popular Super Bowl bet at BetMGM. Only the Bills and Denver Broncos have received more love from the betting market. Tom Brady winning a ring is always an appealing bet.

The Buccaneers are the current betting favorites to win the NFC and represent the conference in the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay has +325 odds to win the NFC. The Los Angeles Rams have the second-best odds at +425. Of course, those are the last two teams to win the conference (and Super Bowl).

The Buccaneers are also the betting favorites to enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Tampa Bay is +300 to earn the first-round bye. Dallas and Green Bay have the second-best odds at +500.

Buccaneers player props and awards

What does the betting market think of some of Tampa Bay's key players?

Tom Brady

Tom Brady has won NFL MVP three times in his brilliant career, with his most recent triumph coming in 2017. It looked like he was going to add a fourth MVP to his trophy case last season, but Aaron Rodgers overtook him in the final few weeks of the season. Brady enters the 2022 season with +800 odds to win the MVP. Those odds are tied for second best with Patrick Mahomes, trailing only Josh Allen atop the odds leaderboard. Brady is the third-most popular bet to win the award, with only Allen and Russell Wilson getting more love from bettors.

Brady enters the season with +850 odds to lead the league in passing yards. Those odds are tied with Matthew Stafford for third best, trailing only Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes. Brady is +550 to lead the league in passing touchdowns, making him the co-favorite alongside Herbert. Brady led the league in both categories last season, finishing with over 300 more passing yards than Herbert, who finished second.

Brady posted 5,316 passing yards, 43 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season. Oddsmakers are expecting a bit of a step back from those ridiculous numbers. Brady's season-long props for the upcoming season are set at 4549.5 passing yards, 35.5 passing touchdowns and 11.5 interceptions.

Mike Evans

Mike Evans enters the 2022 NFL season as the betting favorite to lead the league in touchdown receptions. Evans is +700 to accomplish that feat. Cooper Kupp has the second-best odds at +750. Evans finished second behind Kupp last season. Evans is 20-to-1 to lead the NFL in receiving yards. Those odds are ninth best, just behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Evans finished 23rd in yards last season, but it looks like fellow receiver Chris Godwin might miss some time to start the season. Evans is 30-to-1 to lead the NFL in receptions after finishing tied for 29th last season. At 30-to-1, Evans has the same odds as D.J. Moore, Terry McLaurin and Juju Smith-Schuster.

After finishing last season with 74 receptions, 1035 yards and 14 touchdowns, oddsmakers are expecting a similar season from Evans in 2022. His season-long over/unders are set at 72.5 receptions, 1024.5 receiving yards and 10.5 scores. Evans has gone over 1000 receiving yards in all eight of his NFL seasons, but three of the last five years have been close calls, finishing with 1035 yards or less.

Other Buccaneers players

Buccaneers open with a test in Week 1

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open their season on "Sunday Night Football" with one of the marquee games of Week 1. The Buccaneers head to Dallas, where Tampa Bay is currently a two-point road favorite against the Cowboys. The Buccaneers are -130 favorites on the moneyline.

These two teams met to open the season last year, with the Buccaneers pulling out a 31-29 win at home, but failing to cover the 8.5-point spread. This year, the venue is different and oddsmakers are projecting a tight game. I have a hard time going against Tom Brady in basically a pick'em spot here.

The total for the game is set at 52 points. That's the second-highest total for Week 1 behind only the Chiefs-Cardinals matchup. It's safe to expect offensive fireworks in this one.