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Gronkowski trade brings bets on Buccaneers’ Super Bowl odds

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Rob Gronkowski engineered a trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, giving a jolt to the team’s Super Bowl odds as well as its odds to win the NFC Championship, as the gregarious tight end reunited with quarterback Tom Brady.

The news broke late Tuesday afternoon after the New England Patriots agreed to the deal, following Gronk’s one-year sabbatical, and instantly drew action on Tampa Bay’s NFL betting odds. Sportsbooks across the country quickly adjusting their NFL futures for the 2020 season.

Bucs’ Super Bowl odds

BetMGM made the biggest leap on the Gronkowski trade, with the Bucs going from 16/1 to 9/1 to win the Super Bowl, which coincidentally will be played in Tampa, Florida, on February 7, 2021. Tampa Bay trails only the Chiefs (+650) and Ravens (+700), while the 49ers are also at 9/1 at BetMGM.

“That’s an added weapon, and someone who has familiarity with Brady,” MGM Resorts sportsbooks director of trading Jeff Stoneback told Covers. “He brings a lot to the team, and obviously betting interest was already up on the Bucs with Brady. It amplifies that team quite a bit. Right now, we’re only open on the mobile app in Nevada. If the books were open for business as normal, I’m sure we’d have a flood of money the next couple weeks, and even up until the season starts.”

Even with limited capability, though, oddsmakers had the Bucs on the move. Jeff Davis, director of trading for Caesars sportsbooks, initially held Tampa Bay at 17/1 to win the Super Bowl, but quickly shifted to 14/1.

“I was going to leave Super Bowl at 17/1, but we took a bet on it almost immediately,” Davis said.

The Chiefs are the No. 1 choice at Caesars, with 4/1 odds to repeat as champions, followed by the 49ers (7/1), Ravens (8/1) and Cowboys (11/1). The Saints and Seahawks joined the Bucs at 14/1.

Buccaneers’ Super Bowl Odds Moves

Sportsbook Pre-Gronkowski Trade Odds Post-Gronkowski Trade Odds
BetMGM 16/1 9/1
Caesars 17/1 14/1
Circa Sports 15/1 11/1
DraftKings 14/1 12/1
PointsBet USA 16/1 14/1
FanDuel 17/1 12/1


NFC Championship Odds

Caesars books were a quick mover here, as well, but with a modest shift on the Buccaneers from 8/1 to 7/1 to win the NFC title. As with Super Bowl odds, BetMGM made a stronger move on Tampa Bay’s NFC championship odds, from 8/1 to +475.

Once the shutdown lifts and sportsbooks return to full operations – retail and mobile – Stoneback expects the Bucs to continue garnering plenty of public betting interest. In fact, he drew a parallel to the NFL’s previous public flavor of the day.

“This kind of compares to the scenario last year with the Cleveland Browns,” he said. “They picked up Odell Beckham Jr., Baker Mayfield was going into his second year, and the Browns were a team that everybody was excited about.”

While the Browns fizzled, though, going 6-10 SU and 5-10-1 ATS, Stoneback believes there’ll be a lot more bang with the Bucs.

“Brady-Gronkowski is a proven combination. They have that history between them, and you know they can click,” Stoneback said, alluding to the 90 touchdown passes Brady threw to Gronk over nine seasons in New England. “From this point on, I’d be shocked if the Buccaneers weren’t No. 1 in most tickets written to win the Super Bowl and the NFC.”

Buccaneers’ NFC Championship Odds Moves

Sportsbook Pre-Gronkowski Trade Odds Post-Gronkowski Trade Odds
BetMGM 8/1 +475
Caesars 8/1 7/1
Circa Sports 7/1 5/1
DraftKings +750 +650

Longshots to consider when betting the Shoemaker Mile

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Monday’s Shoemaker Miles Stakes at Santa Anita Park is a great race for a number of reasons. For starters, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race that offers the winner a guaranteed spot in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app.

The race also features last year’s Preakness Stakes winner, War of Will, making his season debut. Despite his triumphs on the dirt in 2019, War of Will started his career on the turf and his pedigree suggests that he’s very likely to be just as successful on the grass. That said, the Shoemaker Mile will be his first start off of a six-month break, and I’m going to try to take a swing or two with some horses who could upset the apple cart at longer odds.

Let’s start out with the horse on the rail, Without Parole. He won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes going a mile at Ascot back in 2018. His three other career wins have all came at this mile distance as well. Granted, he hasn’t won in six races since the St. James’s Palace but he did finish a fast-closing third two starts ago in a much tougher U.S. debut in the TVG Breeders’ Cup MileIrad Ortiz Jr. rode Without Parole in that race and he will reclaim the mount on him again on Monday.

Without Parole has only had one race this year and it was in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in which he finished second to last. However, he had several excuses right from the start of that race when he got squeezed coming out of the gate. He also raced in traffic throughout and got cut off several times in the stretch before Frankie Dettori — who had come from Europe to ride him at Gulfstream — finally just wrapped up on him. The Pegasus World Cup Turf also was a race that didn’t allow him to run on Lasix (furosemide) after he’d shown significant improvement racing on Lasix for the first time at the Breeders’ Cup.

Stream the 2020 Shoemaker Mile live here

How much of a factor might Lasix be for some horses? Well, let’s next look at the horse who finished last in the Pegasus World Cup Turf: Next Shares. In his following start (back on Lasix) in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes, Next Shares finished third (beaten just a neck) to River Boyne. Both Next Shares and River Boyne return in the Shoemaker Mile and I prefer the former as a pace play who has plenty of back-class. If you rewatch the Kilroe Mile, Next Shares covered a lot more ground than River Boyne. With a similar effort, Next Shares could certainly turn the tables.

The other thing to like about Next Shares is that his trainer, Richard Baltas, has entered speedster Neptune’s Storm in the Shoemaker Mile. That horse, along with Voodoo Song, should ensure a very brisk pace up front — they’ll also be kept honest by Blitzkrieg and War of Will, both of whom usually race on or near the lead. All of that speed adds up to good news for Next Shares. He’s a Grade 1 winner who has always done his best running when he’s had some pace to run into. The other two keys for him (like all stalking or closing-type runners) is clear running room late, and hopefully he’ll get that with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez taking the mount.

Lastly, we should take a look at True Valour. It’s hard to make much of an excuse for his flat finish in the Kilroe last out, but he’s truly performed better than what his results on paper might indicate. In the Thunder Road Stakes in February, he looked pretty keen early and it took him a few strides to settle down without throwing his head around and fighting his rider. Turning for home, it was clear that jockey Andrea Atzeni had plenty of horse under him but was just waiting for some running room. It ended up coming too late because River Boyne was in a better spot and had already taken command. True Valour did split horses nicely in the closing stages and was half a jump away from finishing second.

If you go back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, True Valour had excuses there, too. He was up on heels early and he again took a little bit of time to settle down into a comfortable stride. Then, turning for him, he was just waiting for running room but instead got stuck behind a wall of horses. True Valour ended up steadying pretty badly and lost all chance at that point. I’m a little worried about how headstrong he tends to be early in races, but there’s a scenario here that could have at least two horses battling for the lead early and opening up some daylight on the rest of the field. That means he’ll be less likely to be running up on anyone’s heels and it also ensures that he’ll have a nice setup. Whether he can navigate clear passage late in the race is a separate matter.

Longshot Selections

#1 Without Parole

#3 Next Shares

#2 True Valour

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app.

How to bet an exacta on a horse race

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Betting an exacta can present a challenge on several levels.

There is, of course, the primary need to analyze past performances and decide which horses are going to finish first and second.

Yet because of the inherently lower payoffs as opposed to what you’ll find in a Pick 3 or Pick 4, you’ll need to structure your wagers effectively in order to turn your selections into a profitable wager.

For starters, an exacta can be a simple wager. If you like two horses equally, you can just box them in the exacta and collect so long as they finish 1-2 in any order. If you like one of them a little more, you can then bet more on the one you prefer, say $10 on a 1-2 exacta and $5 on 2-1.

If you’re a little more uncertain, make sure you structure your bet around the size of the field and the probable payoffs.

If you like a longshot, the higher probable payoffs give you the cushion you need to wager on more combinations and still turn a nice profit.

But if you’re dealing with favorites or horses at relatively low odds, you have to wager more efficiently to preserve your profit.

In a field of six or less, you’re best to either focus on one horse or box two of them instead of boxing three or more horses because of the small payouts the bet will most likely generate.

In a field of seven, a wise strategy would be to box your top two choices and then, if you are worried about other horses, play them top and/or bottom other the other horses. For example, box 1-2, then bet 1-2 over 3-4 and 3-4 over 1-2. This way you are getting coverage on four horses without having to box them.

Once you get an eight-horse field, as long as there is not an overwhelming favorite, you can expand the number of horses you box since the payoffs will typically be higher, giving you a better opportunity to offset the inevitable array of losing tickets in a boxed wager.