Deshaun Watson Expected To Play Friday For Favored Browns, How Does it Change the Odds?

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Deshaun Watson Expected To Play Friday For Favored Browns, How Does it Change the Odds?
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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected to start Friday in the team’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Florida.

Accused of sexual assault, Watson has been suspended for at least a portion the regular season but is allowed to play in preseason games for now.

For bettors, Watson’s appearance in Friday’s game, even for a limited set of downs, could have an impact on the outcome. An explosive player, Watson led the NFL in 2020 with 4,823 passing yards.

At BetMGM Sportsbook, the Browns were favored by 1.5 points on Thursday, one day after the team announced Watson would play. The Over/Under was 37.5.

The game is being played TIAA Band Field in Jacksonville. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.

Lawrence To Start For Jaguars 

Another factor for bettors to consider is whether Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence will take more than a few snaps.

Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson said Lawrence, the 6-foot-6, second-year quarterback from Clemson, is likely to see limited action Friday. 

Running back Travis Etienne, another former Clemson star, also probably will play for Jacksonville in the game against the Browns. 

Lawrence and Etienne did not play in Jacksonville’s first preseason game this year, a 27-11 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Aug. 4 in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.

Peterson told reporters Lawrence and Etienne probably will play a couple of series against Cleveland.

“Nothing too crazy, nothing too long, but want to get them the feel of the game and get them in there and get them working in game situations,” he said.

NFL Appeal Pending

Facing sexual assault allegations, Watson, who also played college football at Clemson, sat out last year as a member of the Houston Texans.

Signed by the Browns this spring for $230 million, Watson was recently handed a six-game suspension by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson regarding the sexual assault allegations. Watson has denied wrongdoing.

Earlier this month, the NFL appealed the ruling and is seeking a season-long suspension. Commissioner Roger Goodell called Watson's behavior "predatory" and "egregious."

Browns Prepping Backup QB

With Watson’s status unresolved, the Browns are preparing backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, a six-year veteran from North Carolina State, to step in as needed. 

The Browns also are said to be looking at bringing another quarterback into camp. One name in the rumor mill is Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback whose protests against police brutality spurred a league-wide movement. Kaepernick had a tryout earlier this year with the Raiders.

Baker Mayfield, the Brown’s primary quarterback last season, now is with the Carolina Panthers, competing with Sam Darnold for the starting job.

With preseason underway, oddsmakers are not giving the Browns and Jaguars much of a chance to make the Super Bowl in February. 

At FanDuel Sportsbook, 12 teams have better odds than the Browns (+2400) to win the Super Bowl. The Jaguars (+12000) are fifth from the bottom. 

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Larry Henry

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