NFL Odds: Browns A Popular Super Bowl Bet Following OBJ Trade

(USA TODAY Sports)`

The Cleveland Browns have been the laughingstock of the NFL since returning to the league in 1999. Bettors believe the laughter will come to an end in 2019. After trading for Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Tuesday, the Browns saw their Super Bowl odds shorten at most books. Cleveland is now the most bet-on team win the title by ticket count and handle at DraftKings Sportsbook in New Jersey. Just two years removed from an 0-16 season, bettors believe the Browns are now a serious threat to the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC. Yes, the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns acquired Beckham from the Giants for a first and third round draft pick in 2019, along with safety Jabrill Peppers. Beckham joins an offense that already had second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield, receiver Jarvis Landry and running back Nick Chubb. Cleveland also signed former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt last month.

Browns a popular futures bet

Beckham makes the Browns legitimate contenders in the AFC but the truth is Cleveland was a popular team with futures bettors even before the trade was announced. Last season, the Browns were the Westgate LV SuperBook’s biggest liability to win the Super Bowl.

“We have people betting the Browns at 14-1,” Westgate sportsbook manager Ed Salmons told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “The Browns are always a popular future book team. We had seen smaller money on the Browns to win the Super Bowl, and that’s going to keep coming.”

New Jersey bettors backing Browns

While the Browns were seeing action to win the Super Bowl before the trade, even more money came in on them Tuesday night. DraftKings sportsbook had Cleveland at 20/1 to win the Super Bowl before the trade. However, those odds quickly went to 16/1 but that didn’t stop bettors from hammering the Browns’ Super Bowl futures.

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Since the OBJ trade was announced, 70 percent of all bets placed at DraftKings were on the Browns to win the Super Bowl. As of Wednesday afternoon, Cleveland had the fifth-best odds to win the Super Bowl at 14/1.

The Patriots, Chiefs and…Browns?

DraftKings wasn’t the only sportsbook to shorten its Browns Super Bowl odds. Once news of the deal broke, FanDuel Sportsbook moved its odds to 19/1, down from 40/1 in February. As of Wednesday, Cleveland was sitting at 17/1 at FanDuel.

At the Westgate, Cleveland moved from 25/1 to 14/1 to win the Super Bowl and 12/1 to 7/1 to win the AFC. The Browns are the third betting favorite to win the AFC this season behind only the Chiefs and Patriots, both at 3/1. That’s right Cleveland, the Browns are contenders now.

PointsBet not buying into a Browns Super Bowl run

While virtually every sportsbook scrambled to move its Browns Super Bowl odds Tuesday night, one decided to stand pat. PointsBet sportsbook in New Jersey kept Cleveland’s odds to win the Super Bowl at 30/1. Those were the longest odds we saw in New Jersey or Las Vegas following the announcement of the OBJ trade.

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“We’ve already seen a massive overreaction to this trade,” said PointsBet US CEO, Johnny Aitken. “We believe 2020 will be yet another Super Bowl-less season for the Browns, and that’s why we’re confident enough to issue an odds freeze at 30-1, despite most sportsbooks moving the odds to around 16-1. PointsBet will continue to take a position on futures markets with the Browns now 10 times our worst result. We are a bookmaker and we are here to take bets.”

Giants and Jets going in different directions

Of course, while the Browns’ Super Bowl odds shortened, the Giants went in the other direction. New York went from 40/1 to 80/1 to win the Super Bowl and 20/1 to 40/1 to win the AFC at the Westgate. The Giants’ odds also dropped in New Jersey but being a local favorite, they aren’t quite as long in the Garden State. New York is 50/1 to win the Super Bowl at FanDuel and 60/1 at PointsBet.

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The Giants weren’t the only New York team in the news Tuesday. The Jets signed former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell to a $52.5 million contract over four years. The addition of Bell shortened New York’s Super Bowl odds from 80/1 to 66/1 at FanDuel. The signing didn’t move the needle at the Westgate where the Jets remained 60/1 after opening 100/1 in January.

Raiders Super Bowl odds shorten with Antonio Brown

Another former Pittsburgh Steeler did move the betting odds. On Monday, the Steelers traded receiver Antonio Brown to the Raiders for a second and third round draft pick. Despite Oakland finishing 4-12 last season, the addition of Brown moved the Raiders’ Super Bowl odds significantly at some sportsbooks.

The Raiders moved from 65/1 to 50/1 at FanDuel. Oakland initially went from 100/1 to 80/1 at the Westgate after acquiring Brown and the odds moved even further to 60/1 by midweek. Oakland opened 150/1 to win the Super Bowl when the Westgate released its future odds in January. Surprisingly, the Steelers’ odds shortened from 25/1 to 20/1 after dealing away one of their best players but then moved back up to 30/1 by Wednesday.

Nick Foles not moving the needle

Surprisingly, the one big addition who didn’t impact odds is a quarterback. The Jaguars signed Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to a four-year deal worth $88 million. While Foles is unquestionably an upgrade over Blake Bortles for a team that reached the AFC Championship just two years ago, the signing didn’t move Jacksonville’s future odds.

Jacksonville remained 40/1 to win the Super Bowl at both FanDuel and the Westgate. The Jaguars actually opened 30/1 at the Westgate, so their odds are longer with Foles than they were back in January.

“For the Jags, we did assume they would upgrade at the QB position, so that number was already taking that into account,” Westgate sportsbook supervisor Derek Wilkinson told RotoGrinders. “Also, we’ve seen a lot of bets on the Texans and Colts so far this year, so we wouldn’t mind taking some bets on the Jaguars to even out the pool.”

About the Author

  • Thomas Casale (tcasale)

  • Thomas Casale is the Editor of Sports Betting Content for RotoGrinders. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. Before coming to RotoGrinders, Thomas contributed to The Linemakers and worked as an editor at BetChicago. He's also provided fantasy sports analysis for multiple websites and print publications, while covering the NFL, college football, college basketball and MMA at different media outlets.