Freedman: 4 Browns Bets I’m Making Now for the 2019 NFL Season
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield
- The Browns have aggressively altered their roster this offseason, most notably trading for WR Odell Beckham Jr.
- Matthew Freedman breaks down the four Browns bets he's making now for the 2019 season, including their win total and division futures.
Since the Super Bowl, the Browns have significantly improved their roster through several transactions.
- Trading for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
- Signing running back Kareem Hunt
- Trading for defensive end Olivier Vernon
- Signing defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson
The Browns are even rumored to be in the trade market for Chiefs safety Eric Berry.
And today (March 15) news has broken that Hunt, who had a looming suspension hanging over his head, will be available to play in the second half of the season after sitting out the first eight games.
In the wake of all these changes, here are the four Browns bets I’m making right now for the 2019 NFL season.
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Browns to Win AFC North
- Cleveland Browns: +175
- Pittsburgh Steelers: +200
- Baltimore Ravens: +250
- Cincinnati Bengals: +700
With +175 odds, the Browns have a 36.4% implied probability of winning the division, but I think their odds are closer to 40%. Maybe even 45%.
The Steelers have lost wide receiver Antonio Brown, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be 37 years old. Despite having a high-scoring offense, the Steelers missed the playoffs last year at 9-6-1 and have one of the least inspiring Super Bowl-winning head coaches imaginable in Mike Tomlin.
The Ravens will need quarterback Lamar Jackson to develop as a thrower if they hope to win the division. Although I like his long-term upside, Jackson’s performance last year in the playoffs (48.3% completion rate, 194 passing yards) indicates how far away he is from being even a league-average passer.
And while the addition of safety Earl Thomas is positive, the losses of inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith and safety Eric Weddle will challenge the defense.
As for the Bengals, new HC Zac Taylor has never even called plays or been a coordinator in the NFL, and the organization had a hard time finding someone to come on board as the defensive coordinator.
With quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green, the Bengals have a past-their-prime combination of players leading the passing game. The Bengals will be lucky not to finish dead last.
The Pick: Browns to win AFC North (+175)
Browns Regular Season Win Total
- Over 9.5: +150
- Under 9.5: -200