NFL Betting Week One Preview: LeBron Gone From Cavs, But ‘Believeland’ Finding Optimism in Browns

Posted on: September 4, 2018, 11:35h. 

Last updated on: September 4, 2018, 11:39h.

NFL betting lines are active in five states where sports gambling is now legal, and to some surprise, an early 2018-19 season wagering favorite has been the Cleveland Browns. Yes, the team that went 0-16 last year.

NFL betting odds Super Bowl
NFL betting enthusiasts are hoping for a Hail Mary catch on the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl. (Image: Jason Miller/Getty)

ESPN reported last month that the Browns are receiving substantial action at several Las Vegas sportsbooks. And as Cleveland closes in on kicking off its regular season, the bets keep on coming.

There are more bets on the Browns to win AFC North than the other three teams combined. Only the Raiders and Steelers have more bets to win the AFC. The public likes the Browns, and I’m not sure why,” one Caesars Palace oddsmaker told ESPN.

On Sunday, the Browns host rival Pittsburgh, though the series hasn’t been competitive for years. Bettors think this game will be different, and many have taken the underdog.

The current spread has the Steelers giving the Browns just 3.5 points. The line is rather small considering Pittsburgh is a favorite to win Super Bowl 53, with the Westgate SuperBook listing the team at 10/1. Meanwhile, the Browns are at 80/1.

Week One Showcase

The NFL season officially gets underway Thursday night when the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field.

Philly will begin their Super Bowl defense with Nick Foles under center, as regular starter Carson Wentz remains in recovery from two torn knee ligaments. Philadelphia is a slim two-point favorite over the Falcons.

The New England Patriots, losers in Super Bowl 52, play at home against the Houston Texans. Tom Brady and company are nearly a touchdown favorite, as they spot the underdogs 6.5 points.

Monday Night Football features a doubleheader, but the first game pits two teams that have long odds of finding much success this year. The visiting New York Jets are 6.5-point underdogs to the Detroit Lions. The two teams’ respective Super Bowl odds are currently 150/1 and 50/1.

The nightcap is a game that features two teams looking to make a deep playoff run. The Los Angeles Rams travel north to Oakland to play the Raiders where the visitors will spot the home team four points.

Looking (Far) Ahead

Super Bowl LIII is still five months away, but NFL betting action is of course lively. New England remains the Las Vegas favorite, with the SuperBook having the Pats at 6/1, or implied odds of 14.29 percent.

The Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, and Rams follow at 10/1. The Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Chargers are next at 12/1. The Eagles join the New Orleans Saints, Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Texans at 14/1.

MGM VP of Race and Sports VP Jay Rood says the betting is spread around enough that as it stands now, the casino operator will do well no matter which team ends up hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. However, there is one exception.

“The Browns are our only liability right now,” Rood said in August. “We’re sitting pretty well on every other team except Cleveland.”