The Cleveland Browns’ metamorphosis into “America’s Team” includes this unexpected twist: People think the Browns are going to be good this season.
The one group holding out on the Browns hype are the oddsmakers in Las Vegas.
The Westgate in Las Vegas posts playoff odds for all 32 teams, for a yes/no bet. And the Westgate’s opening lines made the Browns missing the playoffs as the favorite, a more likely occurrence than Cleveland getting into the postseason (here are the full odds for all 32 teams, via BetChicago.com).
The Browns not making the playoffs? Everyone on the bandwagon just booked a flight to lay some action.
Browns trying to make playoffs for first time since 2002
The odds for the Browns moved fast. The Browns not making the playoffs started at -120, meaning someone would have to bet $120 to win $100 if they miss the postseason. If you think the Browns make the playoffs, a $100 bet would have gotten a $100 win.
Already by Monday afternoon, the odds on their app changed and both propositions were -110. That means early bets came in on the Browns to make the playoffs, and the Westgate adjusted the odds. Now it’s 50-50, if you ask Vegas.
But in a season that has had hopeful, optimistic predictions about the Browns and what they might do, leave it to the house to pour some cold water on the excitement.
Browns will have a tough test in AFC North
There are a lot of reasons to like the Browns. Baker Mayfield looks like a star. Odell Beckham is a huge difference-maker obtained in a trade. The defense is coming together. They played well late last season.
But as Westgate SuperBook director John Murray told ESPN, when explaining the Browns’ odds, the AFC North is still tough. The Steelers and Ravens are quality organizations. Murray said “the Bengals can't help but be better with Marvin Lewis gone,” and that’s giving unproven rookie coach Zac Taylor a lot of credit he hasn’t earned, but maybe.
It’s also tough to fully embrace the idea the Browns will be good. They played well in the second half of last season, but they also haven’t made the playoffs since 2002. They went 1-31 in 2016-17. Part of that hideous record was Hue Jackson’s coaching, but the lack of any recent Browns success is troubling.
But hey, if you think the oddsmakers are wrong and the Browns are a lock to make the playoffs, they’ll happily take your bets.
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