Betting for and against the Cleveland Browns minus Watson
Although the Cleveland Browns are accustomed to playing without Deshaun Watson in their lineup over the past few seasons, his season-ending injury slows they hype train considerably.
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Browns’ backers may fear yet another season is down the tubes, and they may be correct, but let’s take a beat and survey the situation. Cleveland’s yards per play, yards per pass attempt, and yards per rush drop significantly minus Watson. What was an awkward and predominantly at best a mediocre offense simply becomes challenged at best and ineffective at worst.
Before tearing up your Futures’ Tickets, though, let’s look at Cleveland’s remaining schedule and assume the Browns need to find four wins to make the playoffs and five to cash win total tickets:
Week 11 vs. Pittsburgh (6-3) – Crucial game for division, playoffs, win totals…for both teams.
Week 12 @ Denver (4-5) – Sean Payton’s team has won three straight, and the offense has been far more efficient the past month.
Week 13 @ LA Rams (3-6) – This one probably comes down to the health of Matthew Stafford and that is almost religiously a gametime decision.
Week 14 vs. Jacksonville (6-3) – Maybe Trevor Lawrence and the Jags overlook this game were it not for the surging Houston Texans.
Week 15 vs. Chicago (3-7) – Justin Fields is playing for his job with Caleb Williams lurking in the shadows of Soldier Field.
Week 16 @ Houston (5-4) – C.J. Stroud has the Texans in the hunt for the AFC South.
Week 17 vs. NY Jets (4-5) - Two touchdowns in the Jets’ last 50 offensive possessions. Enough said.
Week 18 @ Cincinnati (5-4) – Cincy will need to have won at least four of their previous six to make this one even potentially meaningful to them.
You can certainly make a case for the Browns getting four wins in their final eight games, but it will not be easy.
Where can Browns’ backers find value?
In an effort to stay positive for Browns’ backers, getting to ten wins means Myles Garrett (+140) almost certainly has to win Defensive Player of the Year. He is the current favorite, but there is definite value in that ticket.
Kevin Stefanski (+3000) for Coach of the Year is more of a reach and is not worth the risk. There are too many more viable candidates in the market including Dan Campbell (+150), Kevin O’Connell (+750), and Mike Tomlin (+1000).
If you have read through this piece and are still confident in the Browns (-190) to make the playoffs you will pay some juice and probably sweat but can go all in with that wager.
If you have read through this piece and just have a pit in your stomach, a full pivot is in order. Take the Browns UNDER 10½ wins (-140). It’s a definite avenue to recoup pending losses should Cleveland’s season go south. Their schedule is not intimidating, but 10½ wins means the Browns must win five of their last eight.
Enjoy Browns’ football once again sans Deshaun Watson and enjoy the sweat.
*all odds courtesy of DraftKings