Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Antonio Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in his lone game as Tom Brady’s teammate in New England. Photo by @AroundTheNFL (Twitter).

  • Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl odds have been shortened to +1000 following the signing of Antonio Brown
  • AB will join Chris Godwin and Mike Evans to form arguably the league’s best receiving corps
  • Are the Bucs worth betting to win it all at their new price?

Antonio Brown is back. The troubled wide receiver is the newest member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, reuniting with Tom Brady. The duo spent a small portion of the 2019 season together, but apparently that was enough for Brady to make a strong push to the Bucs to sign AB.

Brown’s arrival not only bolsters Tampa Bay’s wide receiver corps, but their championship prospects as well according to online sportsbooks.

Super Bowl 55 Odds

Team Odds to Win
Kansas City Chiefs +400
Baltimore Ravens +600
Seattle Seahawks +750
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1000
Green Bay Packers +1100
Pittsburgh Steelers +1100
New Orleans Saints +1400
Tennessee Titans +1500
Buffalo Bills +2200
Los Angeles Rams +2200

Odds taken Oct. 23rd at DraftKings.

Prior to the news, the Bucs’ Super Bowl odds were +1300, but that number is ancient history. Tampa Bay is now +1000 to win it all, trailing only Seattle, Baltimore and Kansas City.

The Bucs are All-In

Brown is the latest former star to land in the Sunshine state, joining Brady, Rob Gronkowski, LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette. There was heavy interest around the league in acquiring his services, as the Seahawks, Ravens and Packers were among the teams with better odds than the Buccaneers to sign him.

The Bucs are clearly in win now mode with so many high profile veterans on the roster, and are reportedly being dubbed a “one-year team” by other executives around the league.

Perhaps that’s just sour grapes, but regardless Brady now has arguably the NFC’s best set of receiving weapons at his disposal. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are alpha wideouts, and Rob Gronkowski proved in last week’s blowout victory over Green Bay that he still has something left in the tank.

Now they add Brown into the mix, who since entering the league in 2010 is Pro Football Focus’ second highest graded wide receiver. You can’t double-team everyone, meaning Brady is going to be picking defenses apart moving forward.

Brady’s Infatuation With Brown

Brady and Brown may have only played one game together, but their practice sessions in New England were reportedly legendary.

They were certainly on the same page in their lone outing together in Miami, as Brady targetted AB on eight of the 14 routes he ran (57%), connecting for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Brown hasn’t played since that Week 2 game last season, but one look at his social media channels and it’s clear he’s still in pristine shape. He must first pass his COVID-19 protocol tests, but assuming no hiccups he’ll be eligible to join the Bucs once his 8-game suspension is up in Week 9.

Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

Brown brings a litany of off-field issues with him to Tampa Bay. He’s had countless run-ins with the teammates and the law, and has been accused of committing some absolutely vile acts.

Obviously the NFL has determined he’s paid for his wrong doings, but you have to wonder if everyone in the Bucs organization is on board with the decision. Check out this quote from head coach Bruce Arians, who was with AB in Pittsburgh for two seasons.

Clearly, Arians didn’t want Brown at the time, but maybe his mind has changed after seeing how close this Buccaneers team is to being elite. Regardless, you have to assume AB will be on his best behaviour knowing this is likely his final opportunity to prolong his NFL career.

Buy the Bucs Because of their Defense, Not AB

Tampa Bay was already the number one team by DVOA prior to the Brown signing. Yes, he upgrades the offense, but Brady’s unit was already averaging 29.2 points per game without him.

The real reason to be bullish on the Bucs is their defense. According to PFF, they boast the league’s top coverage unit, the third best pass rush, and a top-12 run defense. The Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos are the only other teams to rank that high in those three categories, but their respective offenses pail in comparison to Tampa Bay’s, with or without Brown.

The Bucs put the entire league on notice in Week 6, manhandling the previously undefeated Packers. They held the league’s highest scoring team to 10 points, and the league’s top graded passer to 160 yards.

That’s the kind of effort it will take to dethrone the Kansas City Chiefs, and that’s why Tampa Bay still offers value at +1000.

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