Cleveland Browns Training Camp Opens: AFC North, Futures Odds
It’s been five months since the Super Bowl ended. Finally, NFL fans can rejoice as the first sign of football season kicks off: players reporting to training camp. The Cleveland Browns opened their training camp in Berea on Friday ahead of a highly-anticipated 2023 NFL season in Year 2 under Deshaun Watson. It will also be the first Week 1 Browns fans can bet on their team at the best Ohio sportsbooks. Expectations remain high, at least according to Browns odds, and Kevin Stefanski has all his chips pushed to the middle. Let’s dive into futures odds for the Browns this year, including their AFC North forecast and projected win total.
Browns fans get their first look at the 2023 squad in the Hall of Fame Game on August 3 as they take on the New York Jets. Click any of the following odds to place a wager at the best sports betting sites. The prices listed are the best available in your state.
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Browns Futures Odds: AFC North
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Death, taxes, and a highly-competitive and physical AFC North. This year, the Cincinnati Bengals () top AFC North odds boards with another season of Super Bowl expectation. The Baltimore Ravens () follow, while the Pittsburgh Steelers () bring up the rear.
That leaves the Browns as the third pony in the race, with their current number set at . At their longest, the Browns have a 19.1% implied probability to win the division, just barely edging out Pittsburgh at 18.2%, at least according to DraftKings Sportsbook. (Note: The Steelers’ best price at bet365 pins them at 14.3%.) The Browns last won a division title in 1989, taking the then-AFC Central crown. All time, the Browns have a paltry 36-89-1 (.286) record against the Bengals, Ravens, and Steelers.
Comparing lines across available sportsbooks, the AFC North winner market can be played down to an artificial 0.1% hold. In theory, a bet on any of the four teams can be justified. Whether or not you’re betting on the Browns depends on your view on Watson. In a disastrous Year 1 (in which Watson hadn’t played live NFL football in almost two years), the Browns offense sank to 22nd in success rate from Week 13 on.
A Bet On The Browns To Win The AFC North?
The NFL landscape as a whole was quick to discount Watson as a quarterback for the remainder of his career. While the stat sheet didn’t represent it, Watson did grow as the weeks moved on last season. His escapability and athleticism is very much still there. He also suffered from a mediocre receiving corps (18th in receiving grade, per PFF) that finished the season with the 10th-most drops (24); nine of those came in the finals six weeks with Watson at the helm.
Elijah Moore presents a nice upgrade to the receiving group. However, the Browns’ dynamic backfield becomes a single dynamic player as both Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson exited in free agency. Nick Chubb continues to grade out as the best pure rusher in the NFL and he runs behind PFF’s fifth-ranked offensive line. Overall, the offensive unit should improve from what we saw at the end of last season.
Defensively, the Browns should also improve. Talent has never been the issue – Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward are perennial All-Pro considerations and the defensive line got better with the addition of Dalvin Tomlinson. Cleveland also returns Anthony Walker and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at linebacker after that unit was decimated to injury last year. The biggest improvement, though, comes at who calls the defense. Jim Schwartz replaces Joe Woods, who turned in one of the worst coordinator stretches anywhere in the NFL.
There’s plenty to like about this Browns team and the general expectation is that they should out-perform their 7-10 finish from last season. However, with the ceilings of both the Bengals and Ravens, betting the Browns to win the AFC North is a difficult recommendation to make – one I won’t make at this time.
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Browns Super Bowl 58 Odds
At one point last offseason, the Browns were a popular Super Bowl odds bet. However, when Watson’s suspension was changed from four to 12 games, those odds lengthened quickly. Heading into 2023, Cleveland’s odds to win Super Bowl 58 are a bit more reasonable. At , the Browns hold the seventh-longest odds in the AFC and second-longest in the North behind only Pittsburgh.
The AFC is loaded with talent, particularly at quarterback, making the route to Las Vegas arduous. Additionally, the Browns would need to find success in their own division, which – as laid out previously – they historically have not. They have just two playoff victories since returning as a franchise in 1999, the last coming in 2021 over the Steelers. All-time, the Browns are 0-3 in AFC Championship Games, the last coming in 1990.
Browns Win Total
Sportsbooks line the Browns for / regular season wins for 2023. Just twice since returning to Cleveland in 1999 have the Browns surpassed 9.5 wins, the last time coming in 2020. However, this is Year 3 under the 17-game schedule, increasing their chances at going over their 9.5 win total. According to NFL win totals, the Browns project to finish with a similar record to the Saints, Dolphins, and Lions.
As mentioned, the AFC is a daunting league filled with QB talent. Fortunately, Cleveland avoids Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Justin Herbert – arguably the top three quarterbacks in the NFL – and handles Trevor Lawrence and Aaron Rodgers at home. According to Sharp Football Analysis, the Browns play the 16th-most difficult schedule.
Best of luck betting Browns futures odds ahead of the start of the season.
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