Tom Brady was the greatest quarterback in #NFL history not just with his record seven Super Bowl rings but also because he was spectacular against the spread in his Hall of Fame career with the Patriots and Buccaneers. Tampa Bay begins the post-Brady era on Sunday at Minnesota with Baker Mayfield under center and Coach Todd Bowles on one of the hottest seats in the NFL. The #GoBucs are 6-point underdogs, and the betting history of Mayfield and Bowles hints at a Minnesota cover.
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft by Cleveland, is a brutal 29-41-1 (41.4%) against the spread in his career. Since his debut, only Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz have worse ATS records among quarterbacks, and there’s a reason that neither Ryan nor Wentz currently has a job in the league. Dating to his Jets days, Bowles is 12-36 SU and 18-27-3 ATS as an underdog in his career.
Tampa Bay enters Sunday having lost six straight road games ATS but had 32 SU wins during the Brady era, the most in a three-year span in team history -- although the team finished 8-9 in 2022, Brady’s first-ever losing record. The Bucs lost nine total games in his first two seasons. From a betting standpoint, Tampa Bay was the NFL’s worst team last year at 4-12-1 ATS and went 2-12-1 ATS in its final 15 games.
Mayfield beat out 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask for the starting job, although it would surprise no one if the Bucs select a quarterback with their likely very high 2024 first-round pick. Mayfield will become the sixth QB since 1950 to start Week 1 for different team in three straight seasons.
Tampa Bay played the entire 2022 regular season without Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen due to a knee injury. He was able to return for the wild card loss to Dallas, but Jensen will miss this season as well for the same reason. Big blow to an offensive line that already has been overhauled.
It might be the final season with the #Vikings for QB Kirk Cousins as he doesn’t have a contract for 2024, although Minnesota likely doesn’t have his full-time replacement on the roster. Cousins had a fine 2022 season in leading the #SKOL to 13 wins and the NFC North title. The Vikes’ flaws were hugely exposed in a home playoff loss to the Giants. Minnesota set an NFL record with 11 wins by one possession last season and played with fire too frequently.
Cousins has 252 career TD passes, the second-most behind Hall of Famer Warren Moon among quarterbacks with zero conference championship game starts. Cousins is 1-3 SU career against Bowles-coached teams, including when he was a defensive coordinator in Arizona and Tampa.
Minnesota was 12-0 SU as a favorite last year but 1-4 as a dog. The Vikes were 1-5 ATS in their final six including the playoff loss. It’s the first meeting between these franchises since 2020.