- Browns have taken major steps back to respectability following winless 2017 season.
- They now possess better odds of winning Super Bowl 54 than perennial contenders like the Steelers, Packers & Vikings.
- Is there any value?
The Cleveland Browns fell just short of recording their first winning season in over a decade during the 2018 NFL campaign.
But despite their lengthy stretch of futility, the Browns enter the current offseason perched among the leaders in Super Bowl 54 odds, outpacing such perennial favorites as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings with strong +1600 odds on the NFL futures at BetOnline.
Odds to Win Super Bowl 54
|Team||Odds to win Super Bowl 54 at BetOnline|
|New England Patriots||+600|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+700|
|Los Angeles Rams||+1000|
|New Orleans Saints||+1000|
|Green Bay Packers||+1800|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+2000|
*Odds taken 2/14; follow the link in the table to see odds for all 32 teams
Mayfield, Chubb Lead Browns’ Charge Back to Respectability
After tallying just one combined win over the course of the 2016 and 2017 NFL campaigns, the Browns took significant steps back toward respectability in 2018.
Powered by rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Browns’ 7-8-1 record marked their strongest showing since winning 10 games in 2008.
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) January 16, 2019
The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner is joined in the Browns backfield by rusher Nick Chubb, who played a critical role in the Browns’ late-season resurgence by topping 100 rushing yards on three occasions during the team’s 5-2 season-ending run.
Signing of Kareem Hunt Adds to Cleveland’s Impressive Offensive Depth
The signing of former Kansas City Chiefs rusher Kareem Hunt earlier this week adds to the Browns’ existing offensive depth.
We've signed RB Kareem Hunt
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 11, 2019
While giddy NFL fans in Cleveland may be contributing to the Browns’ impressive early performance on the Super Bowl 54 odds, it is hard to deny that this long-suffering franchise is finally moving in the right direction following years of disappointment.
Departure of Bell and Brown, Status of Big Ben Leave Steelers at a Crossroads
The same cannot be said for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who find themselves pegged at an uncharacteristically distant +2200 on the Super Bowl odds following a dismal campaign, which ended with the team missing the NFL playoffs for the first time in five years.
— SportsRadio 740 (@SportsRadio_740) February 10, 2019
Winners of 13 games in 2017, the Steelers endured a year of discontent in 2018, which featured a season-long holdout by star rusher Le’Veon Bell, along with reported locker room conflict between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and star receiver Antonio Brown that has resulted in Brown demanding a trade out of Pittsburgh.
While Big Ben still managed to finish the season as the NFL’s leading passer, questions linger about the soon-to-be 37-year-old’s future in Steeltown, and who he will get the ball to, if he remains a Steeler.
Even Rodgers Couldn’t Save Packers in 2018
Similar circumstances prevail in Green Bay, which joins the Vikings at +1800 in Super Bowl wagering.
The success of the Packers in recent years has been directly linked to the health of their star pivot. With Aaron Rodgers sidelined by injury for the better part of 10 games, Green Bay hobbled to a 7-9 record in 2017.
Aaron Rodgers gets blind-sided, this time by former Packers teammates https://t.co/lBpHC0SYgC
— Bay Area Sports HQ (@BayAreaSportsHQ) February 8, 2019
But even a healthy Rodgers couldn’t save the Packers in 2018. The team struggled to generate offense throughout the campaign, scoring 17 or fewer points on five occasions during a dismal 3-7 stretch run, while a falling out with quarterback Aaron Rodgers reportedly contributed to the Packers’ decision to fire coach Mike McCarthy back in December.
The same is true for the Minnesota Vikings, who opened 2018 as the favorite to repeat as NFC North champions before struggling through a mediocre 8-7-1 campaign.
Chargers have Plenty to Prove, but Still Offer Value on Super Bowl Odds
Perhaps the team most overlooked on the Super Bowl odds is the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers flew under the radar on the NFL futures for most of the 2018 season, but muscled their way up the odds board during an impressive 11-2 run that featured impressive wins over both the Chiefs and Steelers.
The Chargers’ meek playoff exit at the hands of the New England Patriots may leave some sports bettors thinking twice about their value in 2019, and with good reason. Philip Rivers must still prove he can lead his squad to the Promised Land, and staying healthy remains a major concern for lineman Joey Bosa.
— K Dubb (@TheReal_KDubb) January 25, 2019
But as a lengthy +2000 wager, an experienced Chargers squad playing amid low expectations provides some of the best value on the early Super Bowl odds.
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