Mark DeRosa earned a degree in geography at Appalachian State before becoming a professional sports bettor.
In a roundabout way, DeRosa has put his degree to good use over the past year, winning more than $300,000 in wagers after correctly predicting that Tom Brady would leave New England and land in Tampa Bay.
A day after the 2020 Super Bowl, DeRosa placed $1,000 in bets to win $45,000 at DraftKings sportsbook in New Jersey on Brady’s 2020 team to be the Buccaneers. He placed $500 each on Tampa Bay at 50-1 odds and 40-1.
TB stands for "Tom Brady Buccaneers" on these tickets. IMO odds better than 50/50 he ends up in TB. Major rift in NE. Better weapons, more money, easier path to SB, being "wanted." I also think Brady would retire if he knew he was washed up, so Tampa is "live" if he signs. The… pic.twitter.com/Wta3KCP0or
— Mark DeRosa (@edteach23) March 16, 2020
On Feb. 29, DeRosa went all-in on the Bucs to make a Super Bowl run. He placed an $8,000 wager to win $280,000 to win the NFC at 35-1 at the Borgata sportsbook in New Jersey and bet a few thousand more to win the Super Bowl at 65-1.
On March 15, DeRosa (@edteach23) posted his futures bets on Twitter. Coincidentally, Edward Teach happens to be the real name for Blackbeard, the legendary pirate, aka buccaneer.
“TB stands for ‘Tom Brady Buccaneers” on these tickets. (In my opinion) odds better than 50/50 he ends up in TB,” he wrote. “Major rift in NE. Better weapons, more money, easier path to SB, being ‘wanted.’ I also think Brady would retire if he knew he was washed up, so Tampa is ‘live’ if he signs.
“Super Bowl is in Tampa next year. I think Tampa is exceptional value right now in futures markets but won’t be in two days.”
Five days later, Brady joined the Bucs, and their odds quickly plummeted to 5-1 to win the NFC and 10-1 to win the Super Bowl.
The Patriots were the clear favorites to re-sign Brady. But DeRosa was convinced the quarterback was done in New England after he listed his Boston home for sale and let his contract expire for the first time in his career.
As for his landing spot, DeRosa thought it was going to come down to the Bucs or Los Angeles Chargers.
“I thought Tampa was a good fit because the NFC was a weaker conference,” he said.
The Bucs were coming off a 7-9 season but had a rising defense, and DeRosa thought they could turn things around if Brady replaced Jameis Winston and his 30 interceptions.
“They really were that one player away from being a contender,” said DeRosa, a Florida resident who used to live in Las Vegas.
Tampa Bay fell to 7-5 this season after a 27-24 loss to Kansas City, but will take a seven-game win streak into Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Chiefs.
DeRosa, 38, said the only hedge bet he has placed was on Washington +10 in Tampa’s 31-23 win in their wild-card playoff game.
“So that was a nice little middle, but I didn’t hedge the New Orleans game, and I didn’t hedge the Green Bay (NFC title) game, and I’m probably not going to hedge on this one, either,” he said. “I really don’t like to hedge unless I get a positive expected value bet on the other side.
“The Chiefs on the money line are (-165) right now. If somebody gave me -130, I would jump all over it.”
DeRosa said he and sharp bettor Zack White (@Gambleballs), his friend from college, have a total of about $8,000 to win about a half million dollars on the Bucs to win the Super Bowl at 60-1 and 65-1.
“I think they can win. It’s just a matter of them bringing their best game,” DeRosa said. “Even to this day, I don’t feel like they’ve played their best game.
“I honestly believe Tampa has the better team, but I do think it’s a bit of a coaching mismatch. I think Andy Reid is the better coach, and Kansas City should be favored because of that.”
Win or lose, DeRosa has been on the hottest streak of his life in the past year. In February 2020, he won more than $300,000 on about $3,400 in wagers on Lamar Jackson to win the 2019 NFL MVP award. His haul included an oversized check from Circa for $63,000 for a $500 bet he placed at 125-1.
When DeRosa flew back to Florida, he jokingly dubbed his home Lamar-a-lago.
“The funny thing is my friend who also bet the Buccaneers is buying a house,” he said. “He’s going to call it the house that Brady built.”