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Cleveland Browns Betting Odds Preview

After a 4-12 season a year ago the Browns cleaned house once again, shaking up the coaching staff for what seems like the millionth time since they returned to Cleveland.

After only one full season Rod Chudzinski was let go, and upon replacing him with former Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine the Browns are on their fourth head coach since 2009. That was just the start of the off-field news in Cleveland during the offseason.

Cleveland Browns Odds to Win AFC North: +500 at Bovada
Cleveland Browns Odds to Win Super Bowl: 75/1 at Bovada
Cleveland Browns Regular Season Win Total: 6.5 at Bovada
Cleveland Browns Betting Props: Johnny Manziel to Win Offensive ROY 6/1 at Bovada

The Browns made a flourish at the draft, moving up to take Johnny Manziel late in the first round. Johnny Football continues to make headlines for his off-field behaviour, but he’ll likely begin his rookie season watching Brian Hoyer from the sidelines. No matter if it’s Hoyer or Manziel taking the snaps life will be much easier if Josh Gordon is on the field. Last year’s top receiver, Gordon is awaiting the word on his suspension for failing another drug test. He could be gone for the season, which would be a huge blow to the Cleveland offense.

To give Gordon some support, or possibly fill in for him entirely, Cleveland picked up veterans Miles Austin and Nate Burleson. Both are steadily on the decline though, so if Gordon is out long term tight end Jordan Cameron will be the top option in the passing game following his breakout season. Cleveland also tried to fill their hole in the backfield through free agency by snagging former Texans running back Ben Tate. He’s also slowed in recent years and rookie Terrance West could supplant him eventually.

The Browns' defense surprised last season and finished off as the ninth-ranked unit in the league. They lost some heavy hitters, though, with the departure of T.J. Ward and leading tackler D’Qwell Jackson. Cleveland tried to fill one hole via the draft with eighth overall pick cornerback Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State, and if he’s the real deal he’ll make for a formidable duo alongside Joe Haden.

AFC North Odds at Bovada as of August 5
Pittsburgh Steelers +190
Cincinnati Bengals +210
Baltimore Ravens +275
Cleveland Browns +500

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For the fifth straight year in 2012, the Cleveland Browns finished with over 10 losses, going 5-11 SU. While the team showed some signs of improvement last year, there still seems to be some work to do before the Browns will be able to compete in the competitive AFC North.

Odds to Win AFC North: +700 at Bovada
Regular Season Win Total: 6 at Bovada

Despite finishing among the league’s worst teams with a 5-11 SU record, the Browns actually turned their backers a small profit with an 8-7-1 ATS mark in 2012. The close games were a testament to Cleveland’s improvement, but the team still hasn’t quite figured out how to turn small steps forward into wins.

While the offense finished 24th in the NFL with just 18.9 PPG, it was actually a fairly impressive showing considering how young and inexperienced the team was. Starting quarterback Brandon Weeden, starting running back Trent Richardson, and leading wide receiver Josh Gordon were all rookies. Weeden showed flashes of brilliance amongst rookie mistakes passing for 3,385 yards and 14 touchdowns with 17 interceptions, while Richardson looked like a star in the making with 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.

Wide receivers David Nelson and Devone Bess have been brought in to give Weeden more to work with, and veteran backup Jason Campbell should help with his development as well.

On defense, the Browns struggled on both sides of the ball, allowing 363.8 total yards per game. Defensive end Barkevious Mingo was the sixth overall pick, and should make an immediate impact as a dynamic playmaker out of college.

Cleveland’s relatively quiet offseason seems to indicate that the Browns know what they are, and that is a work in progress. The pieces are slowly starting to come into place, but in the brutal AFC North, there just isn’t much wiggle room. This will be an important season for Brandon Weeden, who will turn 30 this year. As a late-starting rookie last year, Weeden will need to prove that he can be the guy in Cleveland soon, or the Browns may go in a different direction.

AFC North Odds at Bovada as of July 26
Baltimore Ravens +190
Pittsburgh Steelers +190
Cincinnati Bengals +200
Cleveland Browns +700