Welcome to the Cleveland Browns hype train. After reeling in Odell Beckham Jr. in the off-season, oddsmakers have the Browns as +135 favourites to win the AFC North.
The Cleveland Browns sure look like they have all the bells and whistles checked off with their spiffy new roster of playmakers, but it remains to be seen what’s really under the hood and how reliable this club will be on a weekly basis.
Bringing in Odell Beckham Jr. gives and already burgeoning offence a game-changer, not to mention a huge marketing boost that the franchise desperately needed. If he can mesh well with sophomore quarterback Baker Mayfield and the offence lights up the score board, that might be enough to snap a playoff drought that has stretched to 16 seasons. But first, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Cleveland Browns Acquisitions and Transactions
The Browns ended last season on a hot streak, going 5-3 in the second half to finish at 7-8-1. That run, which coincided with replacing head coach Hugh Jackson with Freddie Kitchens, helped Cleveland supporters finish 10-6 against the spread, but expectations are on the rise. That’s what happens when you bring in a talent like Beckham as well as as Sheldon Richardson, Kareem Hunt and then drafting corner back Greedy Williams. This is the first full season with Freddie Kitchens at the helm and he wants the Browns to be a much more difficult team to play against.
Cleveland Browns 2019 NFL Schedule
Nobody knew what to expect from the Browns this year, but they aren’t going to surprise anyone this year. They opened as 5.5-point favourites for Week 1’s season opener against the Titans and will likely be favoured on the road against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. The Browns need wins in those games before dates with the Rams and Ravens.
Week 1: vs. Tennessee Titans on Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 2: at New York Jets on Sept. 16 at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
Week 3: vs. Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 22 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC
Week 4: at Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 5: at San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 7 at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
Week 6: vs. Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: at New England Patriots on Oct. 27 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 9: at Denver Broncos on Nov. 3 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 10: vs. Buffalo Bills on Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 11: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 14 at 8:20 p.m. ET on Fox/NFL Network/Amazon
Week 12: vs. Miami Dolphins on Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 13: at Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 1 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 14: vs. Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 15: at Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 15 at 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Week 16: vs. Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 17: at Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 29 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Cleveland Browns NFL Betting and Odds
The hype around the Browns might be getting a little out of control already – and training camp hasn’t even started yet. Yes, this is a team that is on the rise, but let’s pump the brakes a bit. Cleveland had the most missed tackles in the NFL last season and even though Kitchens is trying to make that a priority, it may very well be a problem again. If Greedy Williams is ready to start at cornerback, tackling isn’t exactly his bread and butter. Denzel Ward isn’t known for getting receivers to the ground either. The addition of Sheldon Richardson should help, but good tackling is a habit, not normally something that you can just flip the switch on.
On offence, there’s no denying the talent across the board. The Browns might have the best collection of receivers in the league with OBJ, Jarvis Landry and David Njoku and a very strong stable of running backs in Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, and Duke Johnson. Meanwhile, all Mayfield did was shatter passing records as a rookie. The issue with this unit will likely be its offensive line again. The right side of the 0-line was a turnstile last season and Cleveland had to make major adjustments to cover Mayfield’s back side.
The Browns’ win total is set at 9.5, which is the same number as teams like the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Cleveland’s odds to make the playoffs are at -133 and the Browns are +135 favourites to win the AFC North for the first time since 1989.
Cleveland Browns Prediction
The Browns are moving in the right direction, but we aren’t convinced they’ll contend just yet. Don’t be surprised if Mayfield experiences some growing pains. Teams have a lot more tape on him as he heads into his sophomore season and we aren’t sold on this offensive line at all. Plus, as dynamic is OBJ is, he can be difficult to play with. That’s another situation worth monitoring in training camp.
Above everything else, this team seems at least a little soft. It has a ton of talent on paper, but translating that into wins when the rest of the league has a bull’s-eye on you is different story all together. We’re putting this team on our point spread fade radar to begin the year and will be looking to play over the total in Browns games as they continue to struggle to make defensive plays, while the offence does make some big plays to put up points.
Prediction: 9-7 regular season followed by a loss in the first round of the playoffs.