- The Cleveland Browns have added Kareem Hunt and Odell Beckham Jr this offseason
- The Browns won five of their last seven games in 2018
- Cleveland is now favored to win the AFC North at +125
The Cleveland Browns sent shock waves through the NFL on Tuesday night when they acquired superstar wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
That adds to a very young, exciting core of players. While the Browns are now favored to win the AFC North, betting that line might be an overreaction. There’s another team that’s a more tempting bet.
Odds to Win AFC North in 2019
|Team||2019 AFC North odds at BetOnline|
*Odds taken March 13
Browns On The Rise
Seemingly overnight, the Browns have become one of the most exciting, young teams in the NFL.
Baker Mayfield (23 years old) will now be throwing passes to Odell Beckham Jr. (26), Jarvis Landry (26), Antonio Callaway (22), and David Njoku (22), and he’ll have Nick Chubb (23) and Kareem Hunt (23) in the backfield.
Few teams have such a young, talented core of offensive personnel.
— For The Win (@ForTheWin) March 13, 2019
Remember that this team won five of their final seven games in 2018, with Mayfield looking like the real deal.
He tossed 17 touchdowns versus seven interceptions in that span. Now he has a slew of new toys to play with, shifting the Browns from being a sleeper team to one that can challenge the best in the AFC.
Browns’ Divisional Rivals Stripped Of Key Pieces
While the Browns go up, it appears that their top competitors are on their way down.
The Cincinnati Bengals are rebuilding; the Baltimore Ravens young defense was stripped of several key parts; and the Pittsburgh Steelers lost Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
All of this only helps the Dawg Pound as they aim for their first divisional title since 1989.
Browns Head Coach A Wild Card
The Browns decided to let interim head coach Gregg Williams walk in the offseason, as they promoted offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens to the head role. He’s a wild card as we don’t know how he’ll perform as the overall leader of the team.
I’ve enjoyed going back and watching Baker Mayfield’s rookie season again. He doesn’t get enough credit for the minor details he does.
He’s going to be very good.pic.twitter.com/ukvqsNfZud
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 6, 2019
Head coaching is critical and we’ve seen the Browns dragged down by this many times. Kitchens did a great job with the offense but Williams was really the main man for the team’s turnaround.
Mayfield and the offense receives plenty of credit – which they deserve – but it was the defense that allowed just 20.7 points per game over their final seven contests. That same unit allowed 27.4 points per game over their first nine contests.
2018 was a memorable year for @bakermayfield.
We ranked the Top 10 moments from his rookie season 🙌
🎥 WATCH: https://t.co/xRSBLbrgZa
Which was your favorite? pic.twitter.com/svDEWTdKQd
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 5, 2019
Can Kitchens keep it together?
Tons of coordinators are great at running one side at the ball but have embarrassed themselves as head coaches. The Browns are hoping that Kitchens is capable of orchestrating the whole show.
Steelers Offer Up Value
At +125, I wouldn’t bet the Browns.
They’re the sexy team right now but this is still a team that hasn’t posted a winning season in 12 years and hasn’t made the playoffs in 16 seasons. That’s the longest active playoff drought in the NFL right now.
— SteelVideos (@SteelVideos) December 23, 2018
I would, however, be willing to invest in the Steelers. A lot went wrong for them last season and they still finished within a whisker of making the playoffs. They were 7-2-1 at one point and should be very focused to rebound after a lackluster season.
Yes, they lost Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, but they’ve already shown that they have several replacements for Bell.
As for Brown, the Steelers reload at wide receiver better than anyone. And they’ve shown time and time again that they rarely miss the receivers that leave the team.
Just look at guys like Santonio Holmes, Martavis Bryant, Antwan Randel El, Mike Wallace, and Nate Washington. They all left and all declined. And the Steelers found replacements each time.
The Steelers score AGAIN as Jaylen Samuels finds the endzone.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 9, 2018
At +250, I trust that their offense will still be explosive, and if they clean up some mistakes, they’ll have a great shot at 10 wins.
As maligned as Mike Tomlin is, the Steelers have won at least 10 games in four of their last five and eight of the last 12 seasons. The worst season in that span was 8-8.
Would you rather bet on that track record at a better price or the Browns as the chalk?