Sept. 20, 2015 … this is the last date that the New England Patriots were listed as underdogs with Tom Brady starting at quarterback.
It was Week 2 of the 2015 season, 1,085 before the Patriots’ 2018 opener this Sunday. Tyrod Taylor was starting at quarterback and Rex Ryan was the head coach for the Buffalo Bills as 2-point home favorites.
After trailing 7-0 in the first five minutes, the Patriots beat the Bills 40-32.
Since that last game as an underdog, Brady will take the field Sunday against the Houston Texans quarterbacking the favored team for the 50th straight start, including the playoffs, the second-longest stretch of consecutive games as a favorite in at least the current wild-card era (since 1990), behind Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams.
Let’s take a look at the streak itself, how Brady’s performed during the streak, how long the streak can go and where the streak falls in a historical perspective.
- Highest Point Spread: -17 vs. New York Jets (twice) and Miami Dolphins (Brady covered all 3 games)
- Biggest Upset: -10 vs. Miami Dolphins (twice) in 2015 and 2017 seasons (Patriots scored just 30 points in the two games combined)
- Worst Performance: 2015 AFC Championship at Broncos. Brady’s passer rating of 56.4 was his worst during streak (second-worst playoff game of his career). Brady was 27-for-56 (48.2%) with two Interceptions and was sacked four times.
- Largest Over/Under: 57 in Super Bowl 51 vs. Atlanta Falcons. Patriots won, 34-28, with the total going over with a minute left in the fourth quarter on New England’s two-point conversion to tie the game (forcing the total to go over in a tied game of 28).
- Most Profitable Opponent: Brady went 32-16-2 against the spread during the streak, but he went 3-0 ATS against only one team: the Pittsburgh Steelers (he was 3-0 straight up, too). Brady threw six touchdowns with a completion percentage of 70.9% and more than 900 yards passing in the three wins.
How did Brady perform?
In Brady’s 50 consecutive games listed as a favorite, he is 40-10 (.800) straight up, beating his opponents by 10.7 PPG. Brady has thrown 107 passing touchdowns to only 22 interceptions during the streak, 12 more touchdowns than any other quarterback. Only Drew Brees has a higher passer rating than Brady during the streak.
Maybe the most impressive stat of them all? No NFL player, at any position, offense or defense, played more snaps during the streak than Brady.
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During the streak, Brady has played 3,491 snaps, seven more than Steelers guard David DeCastro, who played 3,484 snaps and 21 snaps more than current Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler — who until this offseason played for the New England Patriots.
During the streak, Brady has gone 32-16-2 (.667) ATS, covering the line by 2.4 points per game.
If a bettor would have wagered $100 on each of Brady’s starts during the streak, they would currently be up $1,563 — $500 more than with any other quarterback in the NFL.
How can this be put into context? Twenty-three QBs have started at least 30 games during his streak, and the closest to Brady’s $1,563 mark would have to nearly double his profits to surpass Brady (Brees, +$790).
Was there any value fading Brady?
Of Brady’s 10 straight-up losses, he has multiple losses to only three teams: Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles.
But even in loss, you really have to give it to Brady. In his 10 losses, he has 14 touchdowns, eight interceptions, a 57.6% completion percentage and 7.1 yards per attempt — basically a mixture of Blake Bortles (60.2%, 7.1 Y/A, 1.6 TD/INT) and Cam Newton (59.1%, 6.7 Y/A, 1.4 TD/INT) in the passing game last year.
Brady has faced 26 different teams during the streak, 11 of them multiple times. The only team against which he has not covered the spread? The Eagles.
The NFC East is the only division bettors lose money on Brady against (-$119), going 2-3 ATS in five games. As expected, Brady excelled in the five games though: 12 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 345 passing yards game.
Where does this streak rank for Brady?
Prior to his current streak, Brady’s longest consecutive streak of games listed as a favorite was 28 between 2007 and 2009, which ended on the road in Indianapolis against Peyton Manning and the Colts in a 35-34 loss.
Tom Brady’s longest games-favored streaks:
2015-Current: 50 games
2007-2009: 28 games
2012-2013: 18 games
2010-2011: 16 games
2003-2004: 14 games
How long can Brady extend the streak?
Let’s start with the streak itself. Brady’s streak of 50 is the second-longest stretch of consecutive games as a favorite in at least the current wild-card era (since 1990).
Brady is five starts shy of breaking the longest such streak, started by Kurt Warner in 1999 that ultimate ended five years later when Warner was with the New York Giants. In the first 47 games of the streak, Warner was 38-9 straight up.
Warner and the Rams lost the Super Bowl (against Brady) during the streak and he finished the streak losing his last seven games straight up.
The New England Patriots are 7-point favorites at home against the Houston Texans in Week 1 and are projected to be favorites in their next 12 games before a Week 15 trip to face … the Steelers.
New England is projected to be between a 1- and 1.5-point underdog in the Steel City.
According to projections, if Brady starts all 13 games for New England before then, his streak will hit 63 games as a favorite.