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Super Bowl betting: Will the weird Tom Brady first quarter trend hold up for a 10th time?

Frank Schwab
·3 min read
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Tom Brady is the only NFL player with a reasonable sample size of Super Bowls to study.

Brady has played in a record nine Super Bowls. Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs will be his 10th, though his first with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

One trend has hit all nine times in Brady’s Super Bowls. He starts slowly. Very slowly.

BetMGM offers a line just for the first quarter of the Super Bowl. It’s Buccaneers +0.5 with an over/under of 10.5. If you believe at all in Brady’s Super Bowl history carrying over, you probably should take the Chiefs and the under.

Tom Brady has struggled in first quarter

Brady’s first-quarter history in Super Bowls is weird. Even in games that the Patriots ended up scoring plenty of points, the first quarter was a problem.

Brady has not led one touchdown drive in nine Super Bowl opening quarters. That seems impossible to believe, but it’s true. Here are the first-quarter scores of each of Brady’s nine Super Bowls:

XXXVI vs. Rams, Rams led 3-0
XXXVIII vs. Panthers, tied 0-0
XXXIX vs. Eagles, tied 0-0
XLII vs. Giants, Giants led 3-0
XLVI vs. Giants, Giants led 9-0
XLIX vs. Seahawks, tied 0-0
LI vs. Falcons, tied 0-0
LII vs. Eagles, Eagles led 9-3
LIII vs. Rams, tied 0-0

That’s nine Super Bowls, and only one field goal for Brady’s teams. It’s not like Brady has been bad in Super Bowls. He has four Super Bowl MVPs, which is the all-time record. He just doesn’t like the first quarter.

There have been more than 10.5 points scored just once in Brady’s nine Super Bowls, and his team has never led after one quarter.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) has gotten off to many slow starts in the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) has gotten off to many slow starts in the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)

Will Brady’s slow starts continue?

It’s possible Brady’s first quarter issues are a fluke with no predictive value. Nine quarters isn’t exactly a huge sample, after all.

It doesn’t seem like Brady would still be that nervous in a Super Bowl setting. The Buccaneers weren’t a bad first-quarter offense this season, ranking 13th in the NFL at 5.5 points per game in the opening quarter, according to TeamRankings (the Chiefs were in a three-way tie for 10th at an average of 5.6 points in the first quarter). This Super Bowl, it’s a whole new team for Brady with a different approach. There’s no logical reason to believe Brady and the Bucs will put up a zero in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Yet, it’s hard to go against such a strong trend.

BetMGM seems to have accounted for it. The second quarter over/under bumps up to 16.5 points. The third quarter is 10.5 and the fourth quarter is 14.5.

If we get another low-scoring first quarter with Brady, nobody can say they didn’t see it coming.

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