At the MGM in Las Vegas, the odds for the Cleveland Football Browns to win Super Bowl LIII currently reside at 60-1. SIXTY! Now, to be clear, that doesn’t mean the sportsbook there actually believes there is a 1.67% chance that Hue Jackson’s gonna be hoisting a silver football next Feb. 3.
It means that John Q. Public has enough faith in the Browns that the MGM can get significant action on ‘em even at such a low payout that it won’t disrupt their goal of equalizing betting distribution throughout each of the 32 teams. Sure, Cleveland’s gonna be better in 2018 than they’ve been in either of Jackson’s first two seasons in charge — they’re not gonna go winless again, and, dare I say, they’re awfully likely to even win MULTIPLE games. If DeShone Kizer was just some tepid, off-brand, generic cola, then Tyrod Taylor is classic Coke.
But they’re still really bad, lest we fail to also consider things like losing the ultimate classic Coke at left tackle, Joe Thomas. And they’re still coming off but a mere single win over their past two seasons. For perspective, as noted by David Fucillo toward the end of this Niners Nation post, there was at least one casino somewhere on Planet Earth in which the payout you could’ve gotten on the 2017 49ers winning the Super Bowl settled in at 300-1 (which means that at most, if not all others, the odds were likely at least 200-1 or so).
It’s not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, because odds reach different levels at different times at different casinos — but how do you reconcile the public’s stance such that the odds of a team coming off seven wins in two seasons could be set at 300-1 in one place while the odds of a team coming off one win in two seasons could be set at 60-1 in another?
The figures of speech like the casinos not building themselves are certainly true, but the public has also demonstrated enough sanity that plenty of other bottom feeders’ odds are appropriately long. So why not these Browns?
Is it Hard Knocks? Does that show generate irrational levels of confidence in the featured team? Have Hard Knocks teams historically gotten a ton of money coming in on them after the show starts airing? Is it some other phenomenon? It just seems like too monstrous a gap to simply be disregarded as part of the regular ebbs and flows of betting lines.
I certainly get that it can be fun to wager a few bucks on a huge long shot with a gigantic payout. But if you wanna bet on the Browns, how do you justify dropping money on a one-win-over-two-seasons team at a 60-1 payout when you know somewhere in the universe you could’ve gotten 300-1 on a seven-wins-over-two seasons team.
If you wanna bet on ‘em, go for it! But get yourself some better odds than 60-1.