Did the Odds Shift for the Browns after 2017 and 2018 Draft First Picks?
A few days from the time of writing, the 2019 NFL Draft will throw up the usual mix of excitement, expected moves, and a few shocks. As we know, however, fans usually need a bit of patience, as their team’s new recruits take time to bed in, and there is always the chance that the team picks the wrong guy in the draft. Sure, you might get an Eli Manning, but there is also the possibility of a JaMarcus Russell situation.
Still, over time, making some astute picks in the Draft will pay dividends. Look how quickly the Rams have transformed into a winning team on the back of picks like Todd Gurley and Jared Goff. But the question is: How quickly does it happen? Comparing 2019, 2018 and 2017 Super Bowl odds for teams like the Cleveland Browns, we would say – not that quickly.
Browns’ picks have had decent success
The Browns had 1st and 4th (from Houston) picks overall in the first round of last year’s Draft, acquiring quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward. Adding that pair to overall number one pick from 2017, defensive end, Myles Garrett. Yet, the Browns, who inexplicably gave a half season to Hue Jackson, were cited as +9500 outsiders by sportsbooks for Super Bowl LIII on 1st September 2018. Those odds didn’t move much from the 2017 preseason price for the Browns, which were offered around +10000. That’s not a sign of confidence in a team that had the first overall pick for two consecutive seasons.
Today, as we approach the 2019 draft, sportsbooks have taken a sledgehammer to the odds for the Browns to win its first Vince Lombardi Trophy. The most common price is +1400, putting the Browns ahead of the Bears (+1600) and Chargers (+2000, odds from William Hill), but these markets can also have special enhanced odds, so check for price boosts from your sportsbook.
Trades have moved the betting markets
Anyway, the point is that the draft didn’t move Cleveland’s odds. But the shrewd trades and signings, which saw the likes of Odell Beckham Jnr and Kareem Hunt arrive at the FirstEnergy Stadium, did. Indeed, GM John Dorsey is getting huge credit for assembling a quality roster after Cleveland’s years of derision by rival fans. The 2019 line-up will be almost unrecognizable from the 2017 season, and while draft picks – like Mayfield and the excellent Garret – will have played a part, it’s only a part of the story.
Of course, the fact that sportsbooks have shortened the odds considerably on the Browns might count for nothing at all. Teams that started at similar odds last seasons, such as the Falcons, Jaguars, and Packers, all finished up with losing records. Even when it comes to the very top of the betting market, as with the +700 Patriots and +800 Rams (William Hill’s odds) for the 2019 season, the sportsbooks can be wrong. Consider the stat that only three times in the 21st century has the preseason favorite won the Super Bowl and has missed out on the Playoffs entirely around 20% of the time.