The Browns and their fans have generated plenty of buzz this off-season that hasn’t been felt since the Marty Schottenheimer years. And there is something new: hope.
And rightfully so. The defensive front four should be the league’s best and most feared with holdovers Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi, plus newcomers Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson.
Add the fact that the offense got a huge boost with the trade for WR Odell Beckham, Jr. plus the fact that QB Baker Mayfield was an offensive Rookie-of-the-Year candidate, and the entire roster appears to have few, if any, holes.
Right after the Browns drafted LSU cornerback Greedy Williams with their second-round pick in the recent NFL draft, he proclaimed that Cleveland would go all the way to the Super Bowl this year. Others have echoed that sentiment as well. And if nothing else, it has been projected that the franchise should at least capture the AFC North thus propelling them into the playoffs where they would have to get past the Kansas City Chiefs and current Super Bowl Champs New England Patriots.
But one Las Vegas betting source is putting their money where their mouth is regarding the Browns; and stating not only will Cleveland not win the Super Bowl, but the club won’t even take their own division.
The site is the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Recently, they announced their odds for every NFL team to make the postseason, and also their odds on which clubs will miss the playoffs entirely. And involved in the latter, they have inserted the Browns.
Everyone knows that the folks at each Vegas betting site have done their due diligence when it comes to accepting bets on anything and everything. They are not in the habit of paying out large sums of cash and are certainly not accustomed to losing.
And they predict the Browns are a sure bet to miss the playoffs.
Which has to be shocking. Cleveland went 7-8-1 last season and has made numerous radical upgrades to the roster since then. They still have Pro Bowl CB Denzel Ward and the running backs are going to be second to none with Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson and eventually Kareem Hunt.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook states that the AFC North will become one of the league’s toughest divisions to not only play in, but to win. Some folks seemingly have written the Pittsburgh Steelers off since they have lost many of their best players. The Baltimore Ravens captured the division last year, but have also lost many key players especially on the defense. And the Cincinnati Bengals can only get better with new head coach Zac Taylor.
As far as their odds, they have placed the Browns as a 52.38 chance of not advancing to the playoffs. Cleveland has not made the postseason since 2002.
However, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook is just one site and has its own odds attached to each club. But at footballlocks.com, the top odds are the Patriots and Chiefs at 8-1, Rams at 10-1, Saints and Bears 15-1, followed by the Colts and Packers at 18-1, then the Chargers/Vikings/Eagles/Steelers at 20-1, Cowboys 25-1, and finally the 30-1 odds which include the Browns, Falcons, and Ravens. This places Pittsburgh as the division winner.
Other Las Vegas sites tell a very different story. OddsShark.com has the Browns listed sixth as Super Bowl contenders; the Steelers are 13th, Ravens rank 17th while the Bengals nearly touch the bottom at 30th. At VegasInsider.com, they predict the odds of the Super Bowl winner as such: Patriots 6-1, Chiefs and Rams 8-1, Saints 11-1, and then the Browns at 12-1. The Steelers are listed at 30-1, Ravens 40-1 while Cincinnati is 150-1.
Make no mistake about it: the AFC Championship will either run through Foxborough, Massachusetts or Kansas City, Missouri as the Chiefs and Patriots will once again have dominant teams in 2019.
But this year, so should the Browns.