Some clarity on the outlook of the Cleveland Browns’ upcoming season, as well as for those waiting for Ohio sports gambling to launch on Jan. 1, came Monday when Deshaun Watson’s long-awaited suspension was announced.
The quarterback, accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women, was suspended for six games without pay for violating the NFL’s person conduct policy. The suspension will remain at six games unless there are further appeals by the NFL. Retired federal judge Sue Robinson, jointly appointed to handle the case, handed down the ruling, which the NFL could appeal.
Watson, who signed a five-year $230 million (all guaranteed) contract with the Cleveland Browns in March after joining in the offseason from the Houston Texans, is eligible to return in Week 7 when Cleveland takes on AFC North rival Baltimore.
The market for Ohio mobile betting apps won’t launch until toward the end of the NFL season.
Here’s how the sports betting market nationally shifted upon the news of Watson’s six-game suspension. All odds are provided by BetMGM.
When sports betting in Ohio launches, expect BetMGM Sportsbook Ohio to be among the top brands.
Cleveland Browns Super Bowl Odds
According to BetMGM, the Cleveland Browns were +3000 to win the Super Bowl before the Watson news broke on Monday. That number dipped to +2000 following the news, making the Browns the 12th favorite to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February.
The Buffalo Bills are the favorite to win Super Bowl 57, to be held Feb. 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. Buffalo is +600 to hoist its first Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Super Bowl 55 champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are second favorite at +750, followed by the other two teams to win it all in the past three years, the Kansas City Chiefs (+900) and defending champion Los Angeles Rams (+1100).
When the Browns acquired Watson in March and signed him to that huge contract, the oddsmakers reacted by slashing the Browns odds of winning the Super Bowl. That has happened again now that it appears the quarterback will be able to play the majority of the season.
Cleveland Browns AFC Championship Odds
Cleveland was +1600 to win its first-ever AFC title, but now sit at +1100 following the Watson news. The Bills are favored to win the conference at +300 followed by the Chiefs at +450.
Cleveland Browns AFC North Odds
Could the Browns win their first-ever AFC North crown and first division title since the original franchise captured the AFC Central in 1989?
The team’s odds got a bump to +225 after the Watson news on Monday after previously sitting at +300. The Browns are still the third-favorite in the division behind the Baltimore Ravens (+175) and the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals (+200).
Cleveland Browns Over/Under for 2022-23 Wins
Upon the news of Watson’s suspension, an over/under for wins was finally released. Cleveland has an over/under of 9.5 wins (-110 on both the over and under).
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Cleveland will likely turn to veteran Jacoby Brissett under center over the first six games of the season with Watson suspended. Brissett, who is on his fourth team and third in the past three seasons, has a career 14-23 record and went 2-3 in five starts last season with the Miami Dolphins.
The Browns will stay home at FirstEnergy Stadium for four of the six games without Watson. They will play two playoff teams from last season over that span (the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots), both at home.
Cleveland’s two road affairs in the first six weeks are against Carolina (Week 1) and Atlanta (Week 4), two teams picked to finish below .500 and miss the playoffs. The Browns will also host the New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers in that span.
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