Sportsbooks: Brady-Belichick showdown most heavily bet game

Sep 30, 2021, 10:22 PM | Updated: Oct 1, 2021, 9:20 pm
FILE - New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, stands with head coach Bill Belichick, rig...

FILE - New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, stands with head coach Bill Belichick, right, during an NFL football practice, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. Without Bill Belichick, Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl and is on pace to throw a career-high 53 touchdown passes at age 44. Without Brady under center, Belichick is 54-61 over his career, including 8-11 since the future Hall of Fame quarterback left New England for Tampa Bay. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, file)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne, file)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Sportsbooks say Sunday’s showdown between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is shaping up to be the most heavily bet on NFL game of the regular season.

Brady, the six-time Super Bowl champion, returns to Gillette Stadium for the first time as a member of the visiting team, leading his defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the New England Patriots.

And people are falling all over themselves to bet on it.

“We expect this game to be the biggest game of the season,” said FanDuel spokesman Kevin Hennessy. “Tom Brady has always been popular with FanDuel customers. The Patriots were always a popular team for betting, and a lot of that has transferred to the Bucs.”

FanDuel, which is the official odds provider for The Associated Press, says 95% of bets are on Tampa Bay to cover the 7-point spread. Other sportsbooks report similarly lopsided betting action on Brady and the Bucs, and they expect a cascade of cash in the final hour before kickoff Sunday night.

“It’s safe to say the book will be pulling for the Patriots on Sunday,” said Wyatt Yearout, a spokesman for PointsBet. “It is on track to be the biggest regular-season NFL game ever at PointsBet, and it’s not even close. It is the most heavily bet game by far and we haven’t even entered the weekend yet, when a majority of the action normally comes.”

At BetMGM on Friday, 92% of the money was on Tampa Bay to cover; at Caesars Sportsbook, it was 97%.

Brady played quarterback for the Patriots for his first 20 seasons before leaving last year to lead Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl victory. Sunday night’s game is his first against his old team and coach.

The revenge angle — on both sides — is an appealing one to gamblers.

“Brady wants to show, ‘Is it you, coach Belichick, that made this team great for so many years, or was it me?'” said Johnny Avello, head of sportsbook for DraftKings. “There’s a lot of motivation for Brady. But there’s also motivation on the other side. (New England rookie quarterback) Mac Jones wants to show he belongs, and say, ‘Move over, Brady, it’s a new era.'”

“Bettors are also looking to bet alternate spreads, thinking that Brady will blow his former team out and run the score up on Belichick,” said Craig Mucklow, vice president of trading at Caesars Sportsbook.

Colin Lynch, a longtime Patriots fan from New Hampshire who now lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, says the Brady-Belichick angle is intriguing. He’s putting several hundred dollars on New England, and will follow closely in-game betting opportunities on an even larger spread.

“I just hope the course of the game gives us a chance to see the chess match we’d all love to see between these two,” he said. “Ideally, we get a close game with pressure situations and critical decisions to be made on both sides.”

There are also a number of proposition bets — known as “props” that try to predict individual player performance — that are being bet heavily in the game:

— How many touchdown passes Brady will throw.

— Whether his longtime teammate tight end Rob Gronkowski will catch the pass that puts Brady over the top in breaking the NFL record for passing yardage. He needs 68 to surpass Drew Brees.

___

Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Team Europe's Roger Federer, center, looks at Andy Murray, left, and Matteo Berrettini during a mat...
Associated Press

Analysis: Think of Federer’s Laver Cup as an All-Star affair

LONDON (AP) — Roger Federer is, by his own admission, a jokester. A couple of his Laver Cup teammates would agree. Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 2021 French Open runner-up, described the 20-time Grand Slam champion as “goofy and giggling” in the locker room during the three-day affair that finished Sunday and amounted to a celebration of […]
1 day ago
FILE - Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly looks on before a baseball game against the Washington N...
Associated Press

Don Mattingly won’t be back as Marlins manager in 2023

MIAMI (AP) — Don Mattingly will not be back as manager of the Miami Marlins next season, he said Sunday, announcing that he and team officials have decided a new voice is needed to lead the club going forward. Mattingly’s contract expires when the season ends. He said he met with Marlins principal owner Bruce […]
1 day ago
New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba skates the ice in the third period of Game 2 of the NHL ho...
Associated Press

What’s in a ‘C’? NHL teams put value in having a captain

After more than three years of debate about who should be captain of the New York Rangers, they reached the Eastern Conference final and got within six wins of the Stanley Cup without one. Players never discussed who would have hoisted the Cup had they won it. “We would have figured that out, though,” defenseman […]
1 day ago
Team Europe's Roger Federer, second left looks up as he stands behind teammate Team Europe's Novak ...
Associated Press

Auger-Aliassime beats Djokovic; Team World leads Laver Cup

LONDON (AP) — Felix Auger-Aliassime added a singles victory over Novak Djokovic to an earlier win in doubles Sunday, allowing Team World to take a 10-8 lead over Team Europe with two matches remaining in the Laver Cup. Auger-Aliassime, a 22-year-old from Canada, beat 21-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (3) with the help […]
1 day ago
Canada's Nirra Fields, right, runs past Japan's Saori Miyazaki during their game at the women's Bas...
Associated Press

Bec Allen gets hurt as Australia beat Serbia 69-54

SYDNEY (AP) — Bec Allen was instrumental in Australia’s 69-54 win over Serbia scoring 16 points on Sunday in the World Cup. But her status for the rest of the tournament is in question after getting hurt in the fourth quarter. Allen was diving for a loose ball in front of the Australia bench when […]
1 day ago
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge crosses the line to win the Berlin Marathon in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept...
Associated Press

Kipchoge clocks 2:01:09 for world record in Berlin Marathon

BERLIN (AP) — He’s done it again. Two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge bettered his own world record in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday. The Kenyan star clocked 2 hours, 1 minute, 9 seconds to shave 30 seconds off his previous best mark of 2:01:39 set on the same course in 2018. “My legs and my […]
1 day ago
Sportsbooks: Brady-Belichick showdown most heavily bet game