Cleveland Browns Betting – Young Browns Still A Year Or Two Away
Sports betting players may think that Cleveland is cursed when it comes to its sports teams, but things are looking up for the Browns, who have a new head coach in Pat Shurmur and a lot of young talent that is eager to learn. The Browns won’t be a factor this year because they have to get used to their new coaches and system, but watch out for Cleveland in 2013.
Head Coach: Pat Shurmur
Offensive Coordinator: Pat Shurmur
Defensive Coordinator: Dick Jauron
Owner: Randy Lerner
Stadium: Cleveland Browns Stadium
Super Bowl Wins: 0
The Browns were 29th in the league offensively, and it would have been worse if Peyton Hillis had not burst on the scene to finish 11th in the NFL in rushing. The left side of the line, featuring tackle Joe Thomas, guard Eric Steinbach and center Alex Mack, was excellent and it took Thomas and Mack to the Pro Bowl (Steinbach was an alternate, as was Hillis and fullback Lawrence Vickers, who is a free agent). All of this is good news for Colt McCoy, who should enter the season as the starter after some solid efforts in the second half of his rookie year. McCoy will be excited to have Shurmur in town after seeing what he did as the offensive coordinator in St. Louis with Sam Bradford, the No.1 overall pick and Offensive Rookie of the Year (as well as a good friend to McCoy, and the two were Big 12 rivals at Texas and Oklahoma).
Shurmur didn’t have many weapons in St. Louis in the passing game, and he faces a similar situation in Cleveland where tight end Ben Watson was the leading receiver. The Browns could have drafted Julio Jones, but five draft picks from Atlanta was too much to turn down. Keep an eye on rookie Greg Little, who missed all of last season because of an NCAA suspension at North Carolina; he’s a big target and he has great hands. The Browns may try to get more out of Josh Cribbs, who is trying to make the jump from return specialist to all-around player.
The first move that Shurmur made to boost the Browns’ NFL betting odds was to hire Dick Jauron, whose last head job was in Buffalo in 2009 and while he didn’t fare well there, you can’t deny that he improved the team’s defense before moving onto Philadelphia as the secondary coach. He’s fine at the back as long as safety T.J. Ward is around, as the rookie had a fantastic campaign while leading the team in tackles. Another rookie, Joe Haden, had six picks (including in four straight games) and was a Pro Bowl alternate. Cleveland also stated their intention to get a push up front by taking tackle Phil Taylor and end Jabaal Sheard with their first two picks, and they’ll be hoping that linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who led the league in tackles in 2008, can stay on the field for an extended amount of the time.
But the Browns still need some work at linebacker as Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita are alongside Jackson, and even though they’re solid, they’re not gamebreakers. Also, there is a lot of pressure on the rookies to produce right away, and end Jayme Mitchell is a free agent. Safety Abram Elam could also hit the market and he started to garner offers as soon as the lockout ended.
Cribbs is one of the best return players in the game, and he is in the “try not to kick it to him if you can” category. That being said, the Browns were last in kickoff returns and Cribbs disagreed loudly with the new rules that kickoffs will be moved up to the 35-yard-line, which will likely result in more touchbacks. However, the Browns were 11th in punt returns thanks to Cribbs and he figures to be just as dangerous. Cleveland was first in covering kickoffs and fifth in punts, which helps their defense out a lot.
Punter Reggie Hodges was 13th in average punting and ninth in net, so it should be no surprise that he’ll be back. The Browns slapped the franchise tag on kicker Phil Dawson, who is still pretty steady, but we’re not sure he was worth the tag. Then again, points could be scarce for the Browns.
NFL betting odds have Cleveland listed at +700 to win the AFC North, +3100 to win the AFC and +7300 for their Super Bowl odds, which sounds about right. In fact, the Browns may be overvalued for the division as it is highly unlikely that they’ll be able to overtake Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the two powers of the North. However, they’ve likely leapfrogged their state rivals from Cincinnati, and that’s good enough for the fans right now.
The Browns have a lot of young, interesting pieces on both sides of the ball and a rookie head coach, so it isn’t fair to expect much this season. But Cleveland is on the ascent with the likes of McCoy, Hillis (as long as the “Madden Curse” doesn’t strike him), Haden and Ward leading the way, and they’re going to push the Steelers and Ravens in about two years. However, in 2011, avoid their online betting odds.
Week 1 – vs. Cincinnati (1:00 PM ET)
Week 2 – at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 3 – vs. Miami (1:00 PM ET)
Week 4 – vs. Tennessee (1:00 PM ET)
Week 6 – at Oakland (4:05 PM ET)
Week 7 – vs. Seattle (1:00 PM ET)
Week 8 – at San Francisco (4:15 PM ET)
Week 9 – at Houston (1:00 PM ET)
Week 10 – vs. St. Louis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 11 – vs. Jacksonville (1:00 PM ET)
Week 12 – at Cincinnati (1:00 PM ET)
Week 13 – vs. Baltimore (1:00 PM ET)
Week 14 – at Pittsburgh (Thursday, 8:20 PM ET)
Week 15 – at Arizona (4:15 PM ET)
Week 16 – at Baltimore (Saturday, 1:00 PM ET)
Week 17 – vs. Pittsburgh (1:00 PM ET)