Tom Brady’s breakup with the Patriots led to some seismic price moves for the Pats and Bucs, but the GOAT’s relocation to Tampa Bay wasn’t the only significant move this offseason. Here are the top five according to the odds.
1. BRADY LEAVES PATS FOR BUCSKey Odds Shifts: Tectonic plates notwithstanding, pretty much everything shifted as a result of The Brady Breakup. The Pats went from +1400 to +2000 to the win the Super Bowl, +650 to +1000 to win the AFC and -325 to +125 to win the AFC East. Their season win total dropped from 10.5 to 8.5 before some over money pushed it up to 9. The Bucs, meanwhile, saw their Super Bowl odds (+4500 to +1600), NFC odds (+2200 to +800) and NFC South odds (+200 to +130) all plummet, while their season win total jumped from 7.5 to 9.5.
Takeaways: The ripple effects of Brady’s departure have been felt far beyond New England and Tampa Bay. The other AFC East teams, which Brady tormented for the past two decades to the tune of 16 of the last 17 division titles, suddenly have new life — the Bills in particular, who are now co-favorites to wrest the AFC East from New England for the first time since 2008. And in the NFC, an already-crowded conference — and in the cases of the Saints and Falcons, a crowded division — must now contend with the GOAT.
2. RIVERS SIGNS WITH COLTS Key Odds Shifts: Colts futures prices shifted pretty much across the board, with their Super Bowl odds (+3000 to +2500), AFC odds (+1500 to +1200) and AFC South odds (+200 to +140) all tightening to varying degrees upon the signing of Philip Rivers. Indy’s season win total ticked up slightly as well, from 8 to 8.5.
Takeaways: The Colts were one of the surprise teams the first half of last season, starting 5-2 before stumbling to a 2-7 finish. Injuries played a role, but so too did uneven play from Jacoby Brissett, whose accuracy and efficiency fell off a cliff in the second half of the season. Rivers may be 38 and coming off a forgettable season, but he’s just one year removed from posting a 32/12 TD/INT ratio with a 68.3 completion percentage while leading the Chargers to a 12-4 record.
3. CARDINALS ACQUIRE HOPKINS FROM TEXANS Key Odds Shifts: Losing DeAndre Hopkins represented a sizable blow to the Texans, who moved from +150 to +210 to win the AFC South and saw their season win total drop from 8.5 to 8. The biggest move on the Arizona side was in the MVP market, as Kyler Murray shortened from +4000 to +2500 thanks to the addition of one of the best receivers in football.
Takeaways: Murray is obviously the biggest beneficiary of this deal, as he’s now among the second tier of MVP candidates. The primary reason Arizona’s team futures didn’t shift is because the NFC West remains the best division in football, which is to say the Cardinals still have a mountain to climb. Texans fans, meanwhile, have to be wondering why their team would make a trade that wasn’t even allowed in Madden.
4. BEARS ACQUIRE FOLES FROM JAGUARS Key Odds Shifts: The addition of Nick Foles led to a series of adjustments in Chicago’s season win total, first from 7.5 to 8.5, and then ultimately back through 8 to 7.5.
Takeaways: Eight is the closest thing to a “key number” in NFL season win totals — teams with win totals over 8 are considered legitimate playoff contenders, while win totals under 8 indicate middle-of-the-pack status at best. The fact that Chicago’s win total moved to 8.5 upon the Foles news before dropping back to 7.5 is an indicator that the market initially overreacted a bit to the deal before correcting.
5. PANTHERS SIGN BRIDGEWATER Key Odds Shifts: After inking Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina’s season win total shifted down slightly, from 6 to 5.5.
Takeaways: The market clearly views the Panthers’ quarterback change from Cam Newton to Bridgewater as a downgrade, and that’s taking into account the fact that Newton’s health continues to be a question mark. A healthy Newton is probably worth at least one full win over Bridgewater.