The Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs for the second time in four years despite a plethora of injuries and uncertainty at the quarterback position.
Despite a top-tier defense and an offense that found its stride under quarterback Joe Flacco, the Browns are still a long shot to hoist the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
The Browns are +3500 to win the Super Bowl at FanDuel Sportsbook heading into the Wild Card Round. Cleveland won four straight games to lock up a postseason berth in Week 17, but the difficult route to the postseason has oddsmakers questioning if the Browns could make history.
At +3500, they have an implied probability of 2.78% to win the Super Bowl. A $100 bettor would win $3,500 if Cleveland were able to defy those long odds.
Can the Cleveland Browns win the Super Bowl?
The AFC North was the first division since 1935 to have every team finish the regular season above .500 and losses to the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers ultimately kept Cleveland from winning its first division title since 1989.
With the No. 5 seed, Cleveland would likely have to win on the road three times to reach the Super Bowl for the first time.
Cleveland did make some noise in its last playoff appearance in 2020 in the first year of the Kevin Stefanski era, who was the NFL’s Coach of the Year that season. Stefanski didn’t coach in the first round of the playoffs due to COVID, but the Browns still upset the AFC North-champion Steelers, 48-37, as seven-point underdogs. Cleveland lost in the divisional round to the Kansas City Chiefs, 22-17, but covered as a 7.5-point underdog.
Does defense win championships?
The Browns have been fueled by one of the best defenses in franchise history this season, anchored by defensive end Myles Garrett, the favorite to be named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Browns’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz could be in line to fill one of the NFL’s head coaching vacancies in the offseason with the success his unit has had this year.
Cleveland ranks first in the NFL in total yards allowed (270.2 per game) and against the pass (164.7 yards per game). The Browns also rank 11th against the run (105.5 yards per game), 13th in scoring (21.3 points per game), and sixth in total sacks (49). Cleveland has been banged up on defense but could have reinforcements in the playoffs with safety Grant Delpit (groin) and defensive lineman Ogo Okoronkwo (pectoral) each nearing a return.
As great as the defense has been, it’s the resurgence of quarterback Joe Flacco that has the Browns playing their best football at the right time. Signed by Cleveland on Dec. 14, Flacco went 4-1 in five starts with 13 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions, while averaging 323.2 passing yards per game.
Flacco has a stellar postseason history that includes a Super Bowl title with the Ravens in 2012. The Delaware product is 10-5 all-time in the playoffs with an 88.6 quarterback rating and 25 touchdowns against 10 picks with Baltimore.
Cleveland Browns are a slight betting favorite in first round of playoffs
The Browns are one of two (Philadelphia Eagles) road favorites in the Wild Card round when they face the AFC South-champion Houston Texans on Saturday, Jan. 13.
The Browns are a 2.5-point favorite against the Texans. Cleveland is -145 on the money line (to win the game outright), giving them a 59.18% of advancing to the second round of the playoffs. A $100 bettor would net $68.97 on a Browns money line bet. The total (over/under) is set at 44.5 points.
The Browns cruised past the Texans, 36-22, in their first visit to Houston on Christmas Eve. However, Rookie of the Year frontrunner C.J. Stroud didn't play in that loss due to a concussion. In that game, the Browns intercepted Texans' starter Case Keenum twice and sacked him three times before third-string signal-caller Davis Mills got Houston's offense moving late in the second half.
If you’re looking to bet on any game in the NFL this weekend, FanDuel Sportsbook has an amazing promotional offer. New users who sign up with the link below and wager $5 will receive $150 in bonus bets.
Sign up for FanDuel now!
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change