The summer may just be beginning, the Cleveland Cavaliers are halfway to winning back-to-back championships, and the Indians are just over a month into their season, but is it ever too early for Browns talk? With the NFL regular season a mere four months from kicking off, odds are beginning to be released; including total wins for each team and the spreads for every regular season game.
After going a dismal 1-15 in 2016, the Browns have had themselves quite an offseason. While they added plenty of talent in the draft, along with revamping their offensive line, Cleveland has improved, but by how much is the question? According to sportsbook operator CG Technology, the Browns are underdogs in 14 of their regular season games this fall and are a pick’em in another. They do not have odds for Week 17’s matchup against the Steelers in Pittsburgh- or any Week 17 game- due to high variance of playoff seeding games the last week of the regular season. Let’s take a look at the spreads of all 16 of their games:
- Week 1: Steelers (-9) vs. Browns
- Week 2: Browns vs. Ravens (-9.5)
- Week 3: Browns vs. Colts (-9.5)
- Week 4: Bengals (-4.5) vs. Browns
- Week 5: Jets vs. Browns (pick’em)
- Week 6: Browns vs. Texans (-9.5)
- Week 7: Titans (-5) vs. Browns
- Week 8: Vikings (-7) vs. Browns in London
- Week 9: Bye
- Week 10: Browns vs. Lions (-8.5)
- Week 11: Jaguars (-3) vs. Browns
- Week 12: Browns vs. Bengals (-8.5)
- Week 13: Browns vs. Chargers (-7)
- Week 14: Packers (-9.5) vs. Browns
- Week 15: Ravens (-4.5) vs. Browns
- Week 16: Browns vs. Bears (-4.5)
All in all, Cleveland is at least a touchdown (or worse) underdog in nine of the 15 games and an average of six points per game. Although they aren’t favored in any game, the Browns are expected to improve on their 1-15 record last season. Then again, it’s hard not to improve off of that. But, with an improved team, look for the Browns to not only upset some teams this season, but also be much more competitive overall.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the New England Patriots are by far the best team in the NFL and the odds prove that. They are favorites in all of their games and favored by an average of 6.5 points per game.
A look at the other teams in the AFC North:
- Pittsburgh is favored in 13 games and are underdogs against the Chiefs and Patriots.
- The Ravens are favored in eight of their first 15 games.
- Like Baltimore, Cincinnati is also favored in eight of their first 15 games.
For what it’s worth, the Browns have 300-to-1 odds to win Super Bowl LII and 150-to-1 odds to win the AFC, both of which are worst in the league.