Do you believe? Betting on the prop “Will the Cleveland Browns Win a Playoff Game?”

Sunday, 07 April 2019 14:04 EST

Making predictions for the upcoming NFL season this far out from the actual kickoff date is of course folly, but if sportsbooks are already taking bets on the flipping *CLEVELAND BROWNS* to make the playoffs, we can predict with some assurance that the 2019 NFL season is destined to be a weird one.

In the proposition bet “Will the Cleveland Browns Win a Playoff Game?”, the NO is listed at an incredibly short 1/7, while the YES is at an incredible 4/1. Thus will NFLbets immediately cut through the BS and advise NFL bettors to take the Browns to win a playoff game at 4/1 all day long.

NFLbets has been on the 2019 Cleveland Browns bandwagon since, what, Chris Jones came over from the Saskatchewan Roughriders to take a pretty damn low-level position with the team. The man is a Grey Cup winner and now he’s a mere senior defensive specialist – whatever that is – with the Browns? Nice.

After the Kareem Hunt signing, NFLbets was ready to cover the over on over/under for wins and was pretty confident about covering Cleveland winning the AFC North. After the Odell Beckham trade, we got more specific:

“…Cleveland should be a 10- or even 11-win team, so bet the over/under wins accordingly. We’ll also cover the Browns to win the AFC North, as we honestly believe that they’ll go a solid 5-1 against the North’s teams in rebuild and/or decline and should be getting three wins against the AFC East. By dint of their third-place finish in 2018, the Browns also draw the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos, this far out both looking like wins.

NFLbets’ll admit that covering Cleveland to win a playoff game is a risky proposition (so to speak), but you gotta admit there’s some solid value here. Even with opening day about four months away, NFLbets is penciling in the Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans for playoff spots. We’ll assume that the second-place finisher in the AFC South is also good for double-digit wins, so we’ll put the Colts/Texans in the no. 5 seed. As it stands, we’ve got the Browns to win the AFC North, holding off the Baltimore Ravens, enjoying Mike Tomlin’s final season in Pittsburgh and looking down the table all season at the Cincinnati Bengals.

So naturally the viability of this bet hinges on the New England Patriots.

Unless the New York Jets – right now a good two seasons away from actually winning the AFC East – pull off some shrewd moves and/or miracles in the draft and free agency, we’ll have to assume the Patriots (yawn) win this division again whether or not T.J. Hockensen becomes the next Rob Gronkowski. The question is just how many wins will be required; last season provided ample evidence that Bill Belichick has adopted Gregg Popovich’s foot-off-the-pedal strategy for the regular season. We’re thinking the Dark Emperor might decide that 10 (or even nine) wins is enough to take this hapless division, particularly if they go 6-0 against the division.

The conclusion seems pretty clear: The Browns will need to go into the playoffs at no. 3 (or even no. 6 if, likesay, the Ravens take the North) to get this prop cashed in. Ideally, of course, they’d want the no. 1 or no. 2 spot to get that first-round bye, but let’s not get too nuts over a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since the Clinton Administration. (Besides, if you’re a Cleveland backer, do you really want to see the Patriots, Chargers, Colts or Texans in the playoffs, even in Ohio, even after the bye?)

And full disclosure here: Taking Cleveland to win the wild-card round game is very nearly a 50/50 proposition these days. In the past 10 years’ worth of NFL playoffs, the home team is just 23-21 SU (and 19-25 ATS!) in wild card games. On the other hand, the conservative NFL bettor can simply hedge by covering the Browns’ opponent, either plus or minus the points on the ’spread.

So, yes, some risk is involved in covering the Browns in this prop – but that’s why they call it gambling, right?

Betting on the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs – What a time to be alive!