Tom Brady’s history as a playoff underdog: Should bettors back the GOAT in New Orleans?


Tom Brady is considered by many to be the greatest quarterback of all-time but he has (gasp) been listed as an underdog in the playoffs before. Yes, at time the odds have been against the GOAT. That includes this weekend when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers face-off against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round showdown on Sunday.

Brady has been a playoff underdog now eight times in his career, as the Buccaneers are 3-point 'dogs against the Saints, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The future Hall of Famer is 4-3 both straight up and against the spread in postseason games.

In honor of the notable opening odds for Brady in New Orleans, here is a look at all the other times the quarterback has been an underdog in the postseason.

2002 AFC Championship Game (+10) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Brady was listed as a playoff underdog for the first time in his career in his second postseason game. This was a wild time for the Patriots, as their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers here followed the Tuck Rule game and preceded their Super Bowl XXXVI win (more on that in a bit, as they were also underdogs in that one).

Despite starting this game, Brady only played part of the first half before getting injured and replaced by Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe then led the Patriots to a 24-17 road dog victory with a key touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Super Bowl XXXVI (+14) vs. St. Louis Rams

The Patriots and Brady entered this 2002 big game as 14-point underdogs against the then St. Louis Rams and won 20-17. Brady threw for 145 yards and one touchdown in his first championship win. And his historic career took off from there, as New England became a perennial Super Bowl contender over the next two decades.

2006 AFC Divisional Round (+3) at Denver Broncos

This game was a big L for Brady and the Patriots, falling on the road to the Denver Broncos 27-13. New England opened at +3 and they didn’t score until the second quarter when they took a 3-0 lead. They went on to be dominated after halftime, in what was one of Brady’s worst postseason performances.

2007 AFC Divisional Round (+5) at San Diego Chargers

New England was a 5-point road underdog going into this game against the then San Diego Chargers. The Patriots came back from a 14-3 deficit to win 24-21. Brady threw for 280 yards with two touchdowns and three picks, which is his career playoff game high for interceptions. This was Brady’s last Divisional Round game as an underdog before the matchup this weekend.

2007 AFC Championship Game (+3.5) at Indianapolis Colts

After entering this game as 3.5-point road underdogs, Brady and the Patriots fell 38-34 to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. New England just missed covering thanks to a late Joseph Addai TD. The Patriots even led 21-6 at the half and then everything fell apart in the final two quarters when the Colts roared back.

2014 AFC Championship Game (+5) at Denver Broncos

In Brady’s second underdog loss to Manning, the +5 Patriots fell to the Broncos 26-16. New England was on the road in Denver and Manning absolutely dominated this one. Brady threw for 227 yards with one touchdown to Manning’s 400 yards and two touchdowns. Denver was always Brady’s house of horrors and it showed again in this 10-point loss.

2019 AFC Championship Game (+3) at Kansas City Chiefs

Brady and the Patriots were 3-point underdogs on the road going into this matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. They ultimately won 37-31 in overtime. Brady threw for 348 yards and one touchdown and the Patriots went on to beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

It was also one of the only times the betting public faded the underdog Pats with a majority of the money on KC that day. And Brady made them pay with a classic performance on the road.


It's amazing that with 42 postseason starts at quarterback, Brady will be an underdog for just the eighth time versus the Saints on Sunday. While his 4-3 record both SU and ATS doesn't give bettors much to go by, there is one interesting trend to take from Brady's past seven games as an underdog.

In the four games where Brady has covered the number, his teams have also won outright. The Buccaneers were a 3-point underdog and +136 on the moneyline at FanDuel on Wednesday. If you like Tampa Bay in this game, history says sprinkling some money on Brady and the Bucs to beat the Saints straight up is worth a shot.