Oddsmakers show the Cleveland Browns some respect for make-or-break 2023

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) scrambles out of the pocket during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)
The Cleveland Browns have made the playoffs just two times in the 21st century (2002, 2020), and heading into their fourth season under coach Kevin Stefanski, it feels like Cleveland is in a “win now” mode after going 8-9 in 2021 and 7-10 last season.
In 2023 the Browns will start the season with former Pro Bowl quarterback DeShaun Watson as the Day 1 starter. Watson, who signed a fully guaranteed contract for $230 million in 20220, played six games last year with varying levels of success. But that was after missing a season and a half while dealing with major off-the-field issues.
However, for Cleveland to win in 2023, they will need Watson to play like he did with the Houston Texans in 2020 when he threw for 4,823 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Vegas oddsmakers do appear to have some respect for the Browns, with FanDuel Sportsbook putting them at +2800 to win Super Bowl LVIII, in the top half of the betting favorites. The Kansas City Chiefs, who won Super Bowl LVII, are the betting favorites at +600.
With the Baltimore Ravens returning Lamar Jackson and the Cincinnati Bengals riding the wave of young star Joe Burrow, Cleveland is in the think of the AFC North odds board, priced at +350 behind the favorite Bengals, who are at +125, and the Ravens at +240.
The over/under on wins for the Browns is set at 9.5, which puts Cleveland right on the line for a playoff appearance. The over on this number is at +115 and the under is currently at -135.
On the individual side, there is a general belief that Watson will bounce back in 2023. He is at +2500 to win the NFL MVP Award, tying him for No. 12 on the betting favorites board, behind Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (+2000) and even with Lions quarterback Jared Goff. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, already a two-time league MVP, is the co-favorite at +700 with Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Burrow.
Defensive lineman Myles Garrett, already a four-time All-Pro, is tied with Dallas Cowboys star Micah Parsons as the betting favorite to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year at +700. Garrett was second in the NFL last season with 16 sacks. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt is right behind them at +800.
Stefanski is +2500 to be the NFL Coach of the Year. He won the award in 2020 when the Browns made the playoffs for the first time in 18 years.


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