The 2023 preseason kicks off on Thursday but we are still over a month away from football that counts. For the Cleveland Browns, this season has a lot riding on it after two straight losing seasons. The team has had quite the changes since 2022 with both its roster and schemes.
With concerns around QB Deshaun Watson’s ability to return to the player he was in 2020, most power rankings that we’ve covered have the Browns near the middle or lower this offseason. A talented roster with few holes and some depth, HC Kevin Stefanski and Watson have a lot to prove this year.
Sports betting continues to take a bigger share of the interest in the NFL. From advertisements to sponsorships to live-in-game action, gambling is now ingrained in the sport.
Pro Football Focus looked at Draft Kings for information to create market-derived power rankings for the season. Overly simplified, the power rankings are based on what Draft Kings betting lines indicate a team’s value is.
For Cleveland, once again, we find them in the middle of the pack:
16. CLEVELAND BROWNS
PFF Win Total Projection: 10.0
Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 1-5
Cleveland continues to find discounted assets that can allow them to build around Deshaun Watson’s massive contract. However, Watson actually returning to his Houston high-end range of outcomes is the only way the Browns find themselves in the playoffs.
Betting lines change as games occur. Right now, with not even a snap of preseason, the expectations for the Browns are in the “prove it” tier. If they get off to a hot start, especially given the first five games are their toughest stretch, the market will adjust appropriately.