Heading into the 2019 season, the Cleveland Browns were the ‘it’ team to bet on. With the improvement, they showed the year before, the perceived potential of Baker Mayfield, and all the offseason moves, it was not hard to understand why.
But as all their supporters know, it ended up being just another year for the Factory of Sadness.
Will this year be more of the same, or could the Browns actually be a respectable, competitive team in 2020? As far as their division goes, the oddsmakers at William Hill don’t have a lot of faith in them winning the AFC North:
Odds To Win The AFC North in 2020:
- Baltimore Ravens -260
- Pittsburgh Steelers +370
- Cleveland Browns +500
- Cincinnati Bengals +3000
According to those odds, the Browns have a 16.67 percent chance of winning their first division title since 1989 (when they were in the AFC Central). It is not too hard to envision a scenario where they could win. But it is not going to be easy against the Ravens (72.22 percent) or Steelers (21.28 percent).
The Bengals will likely be a lot better this year as well. But not to the point where they could win the division.
So, if you want to roll the dice on the Browns to win the division, you can. However, if you would rather put your money down on a bet they are more likely to win, BetMGM has some options:
AFC North Division 2020 Cleveland Browns Exact Finish Odds:
- Team to finish second: Browns +225
- Team to finish third: Browns +105
- Team to finish fourth: Browns +500
The Baltimore Ravens are heavy favorites to win the division, and they probably will be barring an injury to Lamar Jackson. If the Steelers or Browns can gel early and everything goes their way, one of them could win it. But that would not be an advisable bet.
As for second place, it could be a heck of a fight between the Browns and Steelers.
Even without Ben Roethlisberger and with James Conner’s health issues, the Steelers were not bad last year. If Big Ben can return to form and Conner can remain healthy, the Steelers will be a good team. Good enough to give the Ravens a run for their money? Probably not—but it is not hard to see them finishing second.
An excellent case could be made for the Browns to finish in second as well. If Baker Mayfield can get over his sophomore slump and get on the same page with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, the offense could be formidable. Should Nick Chubb be as good as he was last year, the offense could be downright dangerous.
Factor in the influence new head coach Kevin Stefanski, as a former offensive coordinator (with more experience than Freddie Kitchens), and it is not hard to see the Browns as a legitimate contender. But without an offseason to learn Stefanski’s system, this season might not be as good as it could be.
So—how should you bet?
They are not going to finish fourth unless Joe Burrow lights up NFL secondaries like he lit up the college ranks last season. Second is a best-case scenario with third being the more likely. However, it all depends on how good you think the Steelers will be.
If you think Big Ben and James Conner will come back and dominate, take the Browns to finish third. But if you don’t have as much faith in Big Ben, take the Browns to finish second.