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Cleveland Browns Odds Shift Following 11-Game Suspension for Watson

Cleveland Browns Odds Shift Following 11-Game Suspension for Watson
© USA Today

Cleveland Browns futures were a point of uncertainty the moment the team traded for Deshaun Watson. Many books waited to post Cleveland odds with Watson’s future in doubt.  

But now after the final 11-game suspension for Watson has been decided, the Browns' futures are solidified with Watson’s status set for the 2022-23 season. At BetMGM, the Browns are +3000 to win the Super Bowl, +1600 to win the AFC and +375 for the AFC North.  

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The NFL and the NFL Players Association reached a settlement to suspend Watson for 11 games without pay following accusations from more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. 

The suspension starts on Aug. 30 when teams cut their rosters to 53. He will be eligible for reinstatement on Nov. 28 during Week 13 when the Browns head to Houston to face Watson’s old team.  

"I'm grateful that the disciplinary process has ended and extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organization," Watson said in a statement released by the Browns. "I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made. My focus going forward is on working to become the best version of myself on and off the field and supporting my teammates however possible while I'm away from the team. I'm excited about what the future holds for me in Cleveland." 

Watson started the preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, completing 1 of 5 passes for seven yards. Coach Kevin Stefanski said he will not play again this preseason.  

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How the Odds Have Shifted During the Preseason 

Initially, disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson settled on a six-game suspension, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league were seeking a full-year ban for Watson and appealed Robinson’s decision, leading to the 11-game suspension handed out.  

Before the initial six-game suspension was announced, the Browns had the same Super Bowl odds (+3000) and AFC odds (+1600) that they do now, with only the division differing slightly at +300 earlier in the month. 

But once it was known Watson would miss just six games, the Browns saw their odds shorten to +2000 for the Super Bowl, +1100 for the AFC and +225 for the AFC North. Now, those odds are back to where they were with Watson set to miss 11 games.  

"Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL," Goodell said in a statement. "This settlement requires compliance with a professional evaluation and treatment plan, a significant fine, and a more substantial suspension. We are grateful to Judge Robinson and Peter Harvey for their efforts in addressing these matters, which laid the foundation for reaching this conclusion." 

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Browns Going with Brissett  

The Browns' season will now likely come down to how Jacoby Brissett can manage the offense for 11 games. Stefanski named Brissett the starter following news of Watson’s suspension and gave him a vote of confidence by saying he’s “been very impressed,” with Brissett, who has yet to play during the preseason.  

“Very comfortable with him,” Stefanski told reporters. “I think he has a very good understanding of what we’re trying to do offensively.” 

Brissett is 14-23 as a starter for his career. He started five games last year for the Dolphins, going 2-3 in those, completing 62.7% of his passes for 1,283 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. 

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