Tom Brady’s great, but how about in Week 1?

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Echo Lawrence - September 10, 2021

NFL opens its season Thursday night

The guy is an unprecedented winner, but does he cover, too?

Not lately, at least not on opening night.

Tom Brady’s teams are an impressive 14-4 straight-up when he starts the opener. It’s an amazing run considering his first start in a Week 1 was in 2002 when Kordell Stewart was the Steelers quarterback and Ben Roethlisberger was a sophomore in college.

He’s won more Super Bowls than any other player has even played in and, at 44, told the Tampa Bay Times, "I can still throw the ball like I'm 24.”

But against the spread, Tom has been closer to human.

Brady lost his first opener as a Buccaneer last season to the Saints, and is 2-4-1 against the spread in Week 1 since 2013.

Tampa Bay hosts Dallas on Thursday evening (8:20 p.m ET). They opened at -6 back in May and were at -8 as of Wednesday afternoon. The difference between having an NFL favorite at -6 instead of -8 (or more) is gigantic since the two most frequent winning margins are 3 and 7.

But the Bucs return all 22 starters and have most of their coaches back, too. They’ll get a Dallas team which will have Dak Prescott back under center for the first time in 11 months.

Brady might feel like a youngster, but can he keep his team focused enough to cover more than a touchdown?

"I'm no doctor but I know this, he looks like a 25-year-old out there bouncing around," Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen told the Times. "He's enjoying himself. You can tell he's comfortable and he feels good. He's really had a nice, nice camp and it really is amazing for all of us who have watched him for so many years."

Thursday’s pick: Staying away from the spread with no idea how rusty Prescott will be. Like over 54.5 rushing yards for Ezekiel Elliott. Odds are around -105 - Download the Sports Betting App and get $500 in Free Wagers for the NFL openers!

NFL stuff

Along those lines, a bettor at DraftKings put up $75,000 on Ezekiel Elliott scoring a touchdown Thursday night. At odds of -115, it would pay out $65,220. Those odds had moved to -120. You get these with a free $500 at the Sports Betting App.

The Browns are 0-15-1 in their last 16 openers, in what is easily the longest winless streak in opening weeks in league history. Cleveland is 4-12 against the spread during the span, including a pair of blowout losses to Baltimore and Tennessee the last two seasons.

Cleveland is at Kansas City, which has won six openers in a row, covering four. The host Chiefs are 6-point favorites against the Browns.

Hurricane Ida chased the Saints from New Orleans to the Dallas area on Aug. 28, and forced Sunday’s Week 1 home game against Green Bay to be moved to Jacksonville. That’s a grind to be staying in a hotel that long no matter what coach Sean Payton says. “You’re actually bringing a team a little closer together and it happens to come right at the start of the season,” he said. “I don’t think it’s something I look at in a negative light.”

Among some hefty liabilities being held by BetMGM are $30,000 on the Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl and $25,000 at 8-1. The first ticket pays $210,000, the second would be worth $200k. There’s a Green Bay wager of $19,000 at 14-1 (worth $266,000) and 10 grand on the Patriots at 30-1. With a rookie quarterback, those odds should be longer.

U.S. television partners CBS, Fox, ESPN and NBC will be allowed to show six sports-betting commercials per game according to their agreement with the NFL. One each pregame and postgame, and one during each quarter -- which leaves out overtime. The NFL is the last of the four major leagues to embrace sports betting, and they’re doing so at their own pace.


He said it

Nobody was better when sports betting was taboo at subtly mentioning the point spread than Al Michaels. The Patriots would be beating the Jets 31-7 with 32 seconds left and Michaels would mention that “this game is far from over,” a nod to an over/under that may have been 44.5.

“I’ve always had fun by being the guy who could play a little bit of the rascal role because the perception of the fan was that the league didn’t want any references to gambling,” Michaels told the Associated Press. “So what I would do through the years is I would come in the back door, sometimes I would come in the side door, and now I guess they’re allowing me to come in the front door, which is not as much fun as doing it subtly.”

Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya will call Thursday’s Cowboys-Buccaneers game for NBC.


This & That

It’s things like this that keep alcohol sales brisk among fantasy players. Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, who’s been hot since the All-Star break, will be out on paternity leave until at least Saturday. Sigh. Right in the middle of fantasy playoffs. JK. Good luck to Mrs. Arozarena.

No college football tonight, no doubt in deference to the NFL's season opening. Thursday games resume next week -- Ohio at Louisiana (meh) -- and at least one will be played each Thursday through Thanksgiving.

Big 12 doormat Kansas is 25-point underdogs playing at Coastal Carolina on Friday. Can’t remember a power-5 team that was more than three-touchdown ‘dogs to a non-power-5 school.

Sports Betting App is offering $500 in free wagering for this weekend only. Download the app to start playing.

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