National Football League

NFL odds: How Deshaun Watson impacts Cleveland Browns futures

May 24

When NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson was traded to the Browns from the Texans, bettors immediately saw opportunities to throw cash at Cleveland. After all, Watson's arrival had an immediate positive impact on the team's Super Bowl odds.

The 2020 passing leader and three-time Pro Bowler obviously brings a lot of value to a team, hence the huge contract the Browns just gave him. But how will all this upheaval for a quarterback who hasn't taken a snap in the league in more than a year eventually pan out? And how much is Watson actually worth to the Browns from a gambling perspective?

We talked to FOX Bet sports trader Steven Hemke for more insight.

"No NFL player is worth more than six points to any spread normally," Hemke explained. "Even when Aaron Rodgers was out against the Chiefs at Arrowhead, the Packers' spread only moved six points or so. 

"In a normal week facing a regular opponent, Deshaun is probably worth around three and a half points per game."

Speaking of how many points the quarterback is worth on a game-to-game basis, if you're thinking about betting on the Browns' season futures, it's also important to also know how much Watson is worth to the team's win total.

"Depending on the suspension, which will probably be somewhere between four and six games, Watson is worth around two games to the Browns' win total," the oddsmaker explained. "They still have quality backups with either Baker Mayfield or Jacoby Brissett to soften the time he misses. With Watson, I'd put Cleveland's win total at 9.5. Without him, 7.5 seems about right based on our projections."

Hemke explained that the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback's immediate playing future with his new team has influenced how FOX Bet has set the lines for the AFC North division winner. At FOX Bet, Cleveland has the third-best odds (+225) behind the Bengals (+190) and the Ravens (+200). The Steelers have the longest odds to win the division at +900

He also noted that "before getting Watson, the Browns were around 40-1 to win the Super Bowl," but those odds shortened to 17-1 after Cleveland added the 2017 first-rounder.

Here's a quick look at some of Watson's records against the spread.

The QB is 26-25-2 ATS (against the spread) and 28-25 SU (straight up) as a starter in the regular season over his career. One area the quarterback has excelled in is as an underdog in the regular season. The signal-caller has gone 17-10 ATS in those spots, covering about 62% of those contests. 

Watson did post back-to-back double-digit win seasons in both 2018 and 2019, and that ceiling is what the Browns are hoping for once he takes over as QB.

Being armed with this information will certainly be helpful to bettors as they decide how much and how often they want to put Cleveland on their bet slips next season.

If you're ready to see what Brown can do for you — with or possibly without Deshaun — head over to FOX Bet to throw some cash on Cleveland!

Download the FOX Super 6 app for your chance to win thousands of dollars on the biggest sporting events each and every week! Just make your picks and you could win the grand prize. Download and play today!


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