The Evolution of the Buccaneers Super Bowl Odds: From 50-1 to NFC Champions
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady
Tom Brady in the Super Bowl? A familiar sight.
Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl? Not so much.
The Buccaneers are making their first trip to the Super Bowl since the 2002 season — the only other time they’ve made the championship game in their 45-year franchise history. Bookending their lone appearance (and win)? Brady’s first and second (of six) Super Bowl victories.
Given their lackluster 2019 season and Jameis Winston’s pending departure, it was no surprise to see the Bucs open as longshots to make Super Bowl 55. At 50-1 odds with a 1.9% implied probability, there were only 10 teams with worse betting chances than Tampa Bay.
Then Brady made his big decision.
Immediately after his signing, the Bucs shot up the board to 18-1, tying them for the third-best odds in the NFC. They continued to hover in that range, pinging between 18-1 and 12-1– or 5.3% and 7.7% implied probability (convert more odds with our calculator) — between the time the season kicked off until nearly halfway through their schedule.
After a 5-2 start and coming off a statement 45-20 win over the Raiders, the Bucs rose all the way to 8-1 (11.1%) heading into Week 8. Those were their best odds at any point throughout the regular season, placing them behind only the Chiefs and Ravens.
Then the Bucs went 2-3 over their next five games and suddenly found themselves all the way down to 16-1 (5.9%) heading into their Week 13 bye. They continued to maintain double-digit odds through the final weeks of the regular season, and were still only 10-1 heading into the playoffs as the NFC’s 5-seed.
As late as Week 15, our senior NFL analyst Chris Raybon thought that the betting market was underrating the Buccaneers:
Given how well the Bucs match up with the NFC’s most-likely No. 1 seed (Green Bay), their combination of a top-five offense and defense (and the fact that many of their issues are correctable), the market looks to be underrating them — they have a better shot than most wild-card teams of advancing to the Super Bowl.
Raybon’s reasoning? Even with three regular-season weeks to go, the Bucs were most likely to face the winner of the lowly NFC East in the wild-card round and would have a chance in a theoretical conference championship against the Packers, who they beat earlier in the season.
Of course, that path as the 5-seed would likely mean having to overcome either the Rams or Saints in-between, both of which the Bucs lost to during the regular season. But as we all know, Brady and the Bucs got it done against Drew Brees and the Saints in the Divisional Round. And now Brady will have his chance at a seventh ring.
Below is a tick-tock of how the Bucs’ odds shifted throughout 2020, from the time odds opened through the start of playoffs.
Note: We are missing their odds heading into three of the 17 regular-season weeks.