The Cleveland Browns are expected to be terrible once again this year. In fact, we have them as finishing dead last in the AFC North with a 4-12 record.
But apparently people are betting on the Browns to win the 2016 Super Bowl. In fact, ESPN reports that several Las Vegas sportsbooks have received serious action on Cleveland Browns futures.
The MGM Grand reports almost 1,000 people wagering on the Browns to win the Lombardi Trophy, Caesars Palace has taken nearly 750 bets, and CG Technology is nearing 500 Browns bettors. One bettor with CG has even placed a $1,000 bet at 175-1 odds, and another $1k wager on 200-1 odds.
So what’s the reasoning behind this madness?
“City of champions, right?” jokes Jeff Stoneback, the assistant manager at MGM. “We’ve had the Cavs; the Indians are good. Why not the Browns?”
Jokes are part of the reason why bettors are laying down small wagers on the Browns to win. This is the case with Chris Hovan, a maintenance worker from Ohio who bet on Cleveland during a Vegas trip with friends.
“It was made strictly as a joke,” says Hovan. “I just wanted to place the ticket on the wall of my bar in the basement. I’ve been a season-ticket holder for 14 years, and I know that the Browns are going to be horrible again this year.”
Many Vegas sportsbooks have the Cleveland Browns with the worst odds of winning the 2016 Super Bowl. So it’s easy to see where the joke comes into play.
But the potential payoff is no joke for anybody who would win this Browns futures bet. At 200-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl, a simple $10 bet on Cleveland would yield a $2,000 profit.
This seems more like a pipe dream, though, given how bad the Browns have been ever since re-launching their franchise in 1999. They’ve only had two winning seasons from then until now, and haven’t produced a winning campaign since 2007.
Last year, Cleveland was just 3-13 and finished tied with the Tennessee Titans for the worst-overall record in the league.
Can Cleveland turn it around this season?
There are some new faces in Cleveland, but we don’t know if it will result in a greatly improved record.
Robert Griffin III is looking for redemption with the Browns after flaming out in Washington. The team also brought in former Ohio St. quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who’ll be starting at one of the receiver spots.
Corey Coleman will man the other receiver spot until Josh Gordon gets done serving a 4-game suspension.
But if the Browns are going to do anything this year, their defense will have to get better after giving up 27 PPG in 2015. The squad also ranked last in point differential (-9.6).
All-Pro cornerback Joe Haden will lead this defensive unit, which has a lot of holes and unproven players in other areas. Assuming the defense can exceed expectations, then maybe the Browns won’t be so bad.
But the more-likely scenario is that this will be another wasted season for the Cleveland Browns while they continue trying to get young players who’ll make their team better. And if Griffin doesn’t pan out at quarterback, you can bet that the Browns will be looking to find a talented young QB in the 2017 NFL Draft.