Leave it to one of pro football’s most colorful personalities in Rob Gronkowski to shake up the NFL just days before the 2020 NFL Draft. While the entire league and its fans have been focused on the upcoming draft, Gronkowski and his BFF Tom Brady orchestrated arguably the biggest move of the offseason.
On Tuesday, April 21st, the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to a deal that sent the previously retired Gronkowski and a 7th round pick in this year’s draft to the Bucs for a 4th round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The trade sent shockwaves throughout the league and instantly boosted the Buccaneers playoff chances. Additionally, it also boosted the Bucs’ betting odds for various NFL futures like winning Super Bowl 55 and their win total for the season.
With that said, let’s huddle up and take a look at Tampa’s updated odds via a few different NFL betting sites and see if there’s any value in jumping on the Bucs’ bandwagon right now.
Does Gronk Really Make the Buccaneers a Super Bowl Contender?
We’re not just talking about a good player changing teams. We are talking about one of the greatest tight ends of all time coming out of retirement to play with his quarterback in a system that’s very friendly to veterans and playmakers.
Not only will the addition of Gronk make Tampa Bay even more unstoppable on offense, but it will also help change the culture in this organization.
There’s no doubt about it, the additions of Brady and Gronkowski have transformed the Buccaneers’ franchise from the top down. It’s made the team a winner even before playing one official game.
Furthermore, the Bucs are getting a rejuvenated Gronkowski who made the following comments about returning to the NFL:
“I’m back. I always said when I have that feeling and it feels right, I will be ready to take the field again. And I have that feeling. I’m ready.”
Are the Bucs Ready to Become a Super Bowl Contender?
That’s the question fans and pundits will continue to debate. Early indications are that most football minds believe that Tampa Bay has become a legit threat in the NFC.
BetOnline has once again adjusted Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl 55 odds following a major transaction. After the Bucs acquired Tom Brady, Tampa’s odds went from +3300 to +1500.
With the addition of Gronk, the Bucs have now climbed up to +1200, which is tied for the third best in the NFL. Tampa is tied with the San Francisco 49ers, but both teams are still behind the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens. However, the Bucs have edged out the Saints, which they were behind prior to Gronk.
Caesars Sportsbook in Las Vegas moved the Bucs odds for winning Super Bowl 55 from 17-to-1 up to 14-to-1. DraftKings bumped them up from +1600 to +1200. BetMGM saw the biggest movement from 16-to-1 to 9-to-1.
It’s clear, Gronk does help the Bucs become a Super Bowl contender. However, I would hold off on taking these odds right now. I believe they might increase at first because it will take some time for Tampa to become a cohesive unit on the field.
If they come out of the gates losing a few games, that’s the ideal time to jump on their Super Bowl odds because they would definitely go up from the +1200 line.
Will Brady and Gronk Conquer the NFC Just Like They Did in the AFC?
It’s one thing to have arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time leading your team, it’s another thing to have his best buddy and one of the greatest tight ends of all-time also join the team. As a duo, these two rank up there with some of the best in the history of the NFL.
What Brady has done in his career will never be duplicated. He led the Patriots to nine Super Bowl appearances and won six of them. During that span, he also went to 13 AFC Conference Championship games and finished with a record of 9-4.
From 2000 to 2019, no other team in the NFL dominated their conference like the New England Patriots did. Now, the Buccaneers are hoping for similar success in the short window that they have with a 42 year old Tom Brady and a near-31 year old Rob Gronkowski.
This prolific duo has put up numbers that have them ranked as the 5th highest pairing of all-time with 78 touchdowns:
Peyton Manning/Marvin Harrison (112 TDs)
Philip Rivers/Antonio Gates (89 TDs)
Steve Young/Jerry Rice (85 TDs)
Dan Marino/Mark Clayton (79 TDs)
Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski (78 TDs)
By time it’s all said and done, Gronk and Brady have a shot at moving up to 2nd place all-time. Nobody is going to ever catch Manning and Harrison.
The staggering numbers for Gronk and Brady don’t just end with their touchdown production. Just look at Brady’s career numbers during the years (2010-2019) that he played with Gronk compared to when he threw to other receivers according to ESPN Stats & Information Group via:
Tom Brady Stats
To Rob Gronkowski
To Other Receivers
Yards Per Attempt
First Down Attempts
As you can see, Brady was a much more effective passer and dominant quarterback when he had Gronkowski in the lineup.
This duo will help the Bucs become one of the best, if not the best, teams in the NFC. Online betting sites also agree as the team’s odds for winning the NFC Championship have continued to improve.
In March, after signing Tom Brady, Tampa’s NFC title odds went from +2000 to a range of +850 to +1000. After the addition of Gronk, the Bucs have gone up to a range of +600 to +700 depending on which sports betting website you look at.
BetOnline has made the Bucs one of the favorites in the NFC as they’re tied with the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers at +600 odds.
I’m not ready to crown Tampa as the Super Bowl champ or even the NFC Champ. I still have concerns over their offensive line and their pass coverage on defense. Plus, I think they need another playmaker in the backfield.
With that said, there is value with Tampa at +600 odds if you decide to take this wager now. There’s a chance the odds change following how the teams do in the draft.
Can the Bucs Edge out the Saints in the NFC South?
Since the league’s realignment in 2002, Tampa Bay has only won the NFC South three times. The Saints have won this division the most times with six NFC South titles including three in a row:
New Orleans Saints: 6 Divisional Titles
Carolina Panthers: 5 Divisional Titles
Atlanta Falcons: 4 Divisional Titles
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3 Divisional Titles
Tampa Bay won three of the first six NFC South divisional titles, but have not won it since 2007. In fact, they haven’t even made the Playoffs since 2007. With that said, the additions of Brady and Gronk have improved their postseason hopes and chances at winning the NFC South title.
Prior to Brady’s arrival, the Bucs were a +500 underdog to win the NFC South. After Brady, their odds shot up to +150. Now, with Gronk on the roster, Tampa’s odds have gone up to a range of +130 to +140 depending on the sportsbook.
This division is going to be a two-horse race and that race has gotten a lot closer with the addition of a thoroughbred that wears the #87 when on the field, running over defenders.
In fact, it didn’t even take a day before Gronk got his number as backup TE Jordan Leggett is changing his jersey to #81, but not before he sent out a sarcastic Tweet about the change:
The Saints are still the favorite to win this division at +100 odds, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion. As of now, the only guarantees are that Carolina and Atlanta won’t be anything more than speed bumps for the Bucs and Saints.
I still believe the Saints will win the division this year. They have a better overall roster even with the addition of Gronk to Tampa. I give the edge to the Saints in the running game, offensive line, and secondary.
Will The Bucs Win At Least 10 Games in 2020?
Prior to signing Tom Brady, the Buccaneers were listed with an Over/Under of 7.5 wins on the season. After Brady, the O/U went up to 9 wins on the year. Now that Tampa has Gronk, the O/U has gone up to 9.5 wins.
Instead of a push with nine wins, which I previously had predicted the Bucs would go 9-7 this year, Tampa has to win 10 or more games to cover the Over. With the addition of Gronk, I believe Tampa can accomplish this.
Let’s Start With Their NFC South Division Games:
The Bucs will play six divisional games. Previously, I had them going at least 3-3 in the division. Now, I believe they will go at least 4-2. I see Tampa sweeping the Falcons and the Panthers. If they can split with the Saints then they might even go 5-1 in the division.
In their non-divisional games, Tampa plays the Lions, Broncos, Bears, Giants and Raiders. I can see them going 4-1 in these games as well.
They will also take on the Chargers, Vikings, Rams, Packers and Chiefs. I see them now going 3-2 in these games. So, there’s a good chance that Tampa could end up with 11 wins on the year because of the addition of Gronk.
A quick look at his 2018 season shows how Gronk will help these Bucs out offensively as his numbers were better than what Tampa had in their other starting tight ends last season:
Gronkowski played in 13 games during 2018 and had 47 catches for 682 yards and 3 TDs. That was an average of 52.5 ypg, which was down from 2017.
Tampa’s OJ Howard played 14 games last year and had 34 catches for 459 yards and 1 TD with an average of 32.8 ypg. Cameron Brate played in 16 games and hauled in 36 receptions for 311 yards, 4 TDs and an average of 311 ypg.
Bottom line, Gronk has improved this team enough to where I think they can go 11-5 on the year. That’s a two win improvement from where I initially projected Tampa last month after they signed Tom Brady.
What’s the Best Bucs Bet on the Board?
While all of these NFL futures bets listed above have some appeal and value, the best Buccaneers bet to wager on is their chances of making the Playoffs.
Following the signing of Tom Brady, Tampa’s odds shot up to -125. If you followed my advice a few weeks ago when I said to take that wager because I believed Tampa was going to the Playoffs, you would’ve gotten great value. Now, the value has gone down significantly.
Currently, Tampa’s odds of making the Playoffs have gone up to a range of -225 to -300, which indicates that NFL betting websites believe that this team is going to the postseason.
I had Tampa Bay pegged as the last Wild Card team in 2020, but now I can see them moving up a little higher. Maybe even the first Wild Card team, which is the 5th seed.
Keep in mind, the NFL has expanded to seven Playoff teams in each conference. So, even if Tampa somehow doesn’t hit the 11 win mark, a 9-7 record could still get them into the postseason. Last year, the 9-7 Rams and the 8-8 Steelers would’ve made the Playoffs under this new format.
Take the Bucs earning their first postseason trip in over a decade and shop around for the best betting lines before these odds go up.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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