Back in Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl, they carved out the betting tickets on stone tablets.
Maybe not, but it does seem like that first Super Bowl win for him against the St. Louis Rams was a lifetime ago. There are endless crazy Brady stats for Super Bowl LV, his 10th Super Bowl appearance, but this is one for the gambling realm: Brady was an underdog in that Super Bowl back in February of 2002, and Sunday will be the first time he has been an underdog in a Super Bowl since then. He and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are +3 against the Kansas City Chiefs at BetMGM.
Brady is one of the greatest postseason performers of all time, but that hasn’t necessarily translated to covering the spread in Super Bowls. Let’s go down memory lane for Brady’s Super Bowl appearances and how he and the New England Patriots fared against the spread (closing lines from VegasInsider.com):
XXXVI: Patriots (+14) beat Rams 20-17
In terms of the point spread, the Patriots’ last-second win against the Rams and the Super Bowl III win by Joe Namath’s Jets are the two biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
Patriots bettors never had to sweat. They trailed 3-0 after one quarter, then Ty Law had a pick-six off Kurt Warner and the Patriots never trailed again. It’s rare to get an easy win on a Super Bowl bet, but this was one.
Brady vs. the spread: 1-0
XXXVIII: Patriots (-7) beat Panthers 32-29
For many who only bet one football game a year, there’s an empty feeling when you bet a favorite who wins but doesn’t cover.
The Patriots led 21-10 early in the fourth quarter and Pats bettors felt good, but the Panthers scored twice in a row after that. A push seemed likely when linebacker Mike Vrabel, now the Tennessee Titans’ coach, caught a touchdown with 2:51 left, but the Panthers tied it and the Patriots won on a field goal as time expired.
Brady vs. the spread: 1-1
XXXIX: Patriots (-7) beat Eagles 24-21
For a second straight Super Bowl, the Patriots were touchdown favorites, looked pretty good to cover or even push in the fourth quarter, and then won by just a field goal. The Patriots led 21-14 early in the fourth quarter and took a 10-point lead with 8:40 left. The Eagles’ famously slow drive late in the fourth quarter got a touchdown with 1:48 left, a rough backdoor cover for those on the Pats.
Brady vs. the spread: 1-2
XLII: Giants beat Patriots (-12) 17-14
The Giants’ massive win tied for the third-biggest upset in Super Bowl point spread history. Those who had the Giants and the points didn’t have to worry much.
The low-scoring game went back and forth in the end. The Giants’ late touchdown made some history, stopping the 18-0 Patriots’ run at a perfect season, and it also ruined a lot of teasers and moneyline parlays.
Brady vs. the spread: 1-3
XLVI: Giants beat Patriots (-2.5) 21-17
The most famous gambling moment in this game came when Brady had an intentional grounding penalty from the end zone, cashing 50-to-1 tickets on the first score of the game being a safety.
This upset wasn’t as big as the first Giants Super Bowl win over the Patriots, but still a memorable one. A third quarter touchdown by the Patriots gave them a 17-9 lead but they wouldn’t score again. Another disappointment for anyone betting on Brady and the Pats.
Brady vs. the spread: 1-4
XLIX: Patriots (pick ‘em) beat Seahawks 28-24
Surprisingly, this is the only pick ‘em in Super Bowl history. And it turned out to be one of the greatest games ever.
Seahawks backers will forever be angry that Seattle didn’t just give Marshawn Lynch the ball at the 1-yard line. Malcolm Butler made one of the greatest plays in NFL history, intercepting Russell Wilson and giving beleaguered Brady Super Bowl bettors a long-awaited win.
Brady vs. the spread: 2-4
LI: Patriots (-3) beat Falcons 34-28
This probably doesn’t get mentioned enough as the worst beat in sports betting history. Maybe there were other beats that had weirder circumstances, but none happened in the heavily-bet Super Bowl like this one.
The Falcons led 28-3. If you had Falcons +3, you had cashed that ticket in your mind already. Then the Patriots came all the way back to tie it, needing more than a dozen things to go exactly right. Even when the game went to overtime, the only way Falcons bettors could lose was for the Patriots to score a touchdown. A Pats field goal in overtime would result in a push for Falcons +3 bettors. New England marched right down and James White scored a touchdown for the win and the cover.
If you had a Patriots ticket, you still aren’t allowed to complain you’re an unlucky bettor.
Brady vs. the spread: 3-4
LII: Eagles beat Patriots (-4) 41-33
At least the over hit (and did so by 25 points). Patriots bettors weren’t so happy.
You might remember this game as a back-and-forth classic, but the Patriots led just once and for only 7:01 of the fourth quarter. A Zach Ertz touchdown late in the game gave the Eagles a lead, and a Brandon Graham forced fumble of Brady essentially ruined all those Patriots tickets.
Brady vs. the spread: 3-5
LIII: Patriots (-2.5) beat Rams 13-3
The most surprising part of this game is how far off the over/under was. It was 56, one of the highest in Super Bowl history, and the over failed to hit ... by 40 points. Even the popular “first player to score a TD” prop wasn’t settled until seven minutes were left in the fourth quarter, when Sony Michel scored.
This wasn’t an exciting game, but bettors were on edge until the end. The game was tied 3-3 well into the fourth quarter. The Patriots got a touchdown and then a late field goal to wrap up the cover.
This was Brady’s sixth ring, but just the fourth time his team covered the spread in the Super Bowl. There were two semi-miraculous covers too (Butler interception and comeback against the Falcons). But the theme through Brady’s Super Bowls — other than his teams almost never scoring in the first quarter — is that they’ve all been close. Keep that in mind for your Super Bowl LV bets.
Brady vs. the spread: 4-5