The Cleveland Browns have often been one of the more talked about teams in the NFL. However, the reason people are talking about them is changing. For years, the conversation has centered around how bad they are, wondering when they are going to get it together, and being glad your team is nothing like them.
With how last season went and the moves they have made so far during the offseason, the conversation is much different now. No longer are people talking about how bad the Browns are. The conversation is about how good they could be.
If you listen to the oddsmakers at some sportsbooks, the Browns have become Super Bowl contenders since acquiring Odell Beckham Jr. For example, their odds to win the Super Bowl went from +1600 to +1000 once the trade was announced. They have since settled in at +1400.
They even have the third-best odds to win the AFC (along with the Indianapolis Colts) +800. While that is still largely considered a stretch, it is not hard to imagine them winning the division—and oddsmakers agree (via BetOnline.ag):
- Cleveland Browns +140
- Pittsburgh Steelers +200
- Baltimore Ravens +300
- Cincinnati Bengals +800
Cleveland hasn’t won the division title since it was called a different name (the AFC Central back in 1989). But with their improvements combined with the moves (or lack thereof) made by the other teams in the division, it looks like they could win this year.
However, while most books have odds similar to BetOnline.ag, there is one that still isn’t quite ready to call the Browns a good team. MyBookie.ag has the Browns winning the AFC North (+175), with the third-best odds to win the AFC (+700), and among the best to win the Super Bowl (+1400).
But they don’t think the Browns are going to win a single playoff game:
- Yes +400
- No -700
That means the Browns have a 20 percent chance of winning a playoff game and an 87.5 percent chance of not winning one. They briefly had odds posted on whether the Browns would even make the playoffs (Yes– +175; No– -250).
For a team to have such good odds to win the conference and not have good odds to win a playoff game just doesn’t make sense. But with all the buzz the Browns have been generating, they have become a popular bet lately (which helps drive the odds becoming as short as they are for the Browns to win the Super Bowl/AFC/AFC North).
So, are the masses wrong for believing so heavy in the Browns? Forget the Super Bowl and the AFC for a moment—can they win a playoff game?
Before trying to answer that, let’s look who they could play. Let’s assume they win ten games and take the division but are the No. 4 seed. Of the teams they could face, it is not hard to imagine the Colts, Texans, Ravens, Chargers being in the No. 5 slot based off where they finished last season. With the moves that the Jaguars and Jets have made, they could sneak into the playoffs, too.
Sometimes the wild cards are good teams; at other times they are just the bad team that won more games than the other bad team. Some of those teams would give the Browns a better run for their money than others. When it comes down to it, we don’t know enough about anyone yet to really make a good call.
What we do know is that the Browns were a good team last year that has gotten a lot better. Take the +400.