CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Browns fans are always optimistic at the start of a new season, but now the betting public is also backing the team.
After winning only one game during two disastrous seasons, suddenly the Browns are red hot with the oddsmakers and sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
“There are more bets on the Browns to win the AFC North than the other three teams combined,” a sportsbook manager for Caesars Palace told ESPN.
“It makes sense to me, you know, with the Browns being on Hard Knocks (HBO) and everybody saying positive stuff is happening here in Cleveland,” said Emmett Golden, ESPN Cleveland radio personality. “The Browns have a quarterback now, actually they have two, and that’s really different from what we’re used to with Baker Mayfield and Tyrod Taylor; that is the reason why everyone is so excited.”
After two years of being virtually ignored in Las Vegas, currently the Browns are at 7-1 odds to win the AFC North, and 20-1 odds to win the AFC Championship.
“The thought of it is crazy; yes, the thought is definitely out of this world from 0-16 to winning the division -- never seen anything like that,” said Golden.
Many fans were stunned by the news too.
Some like former season ticket holder Mike Kiec began laughing out loud and said, “They’re crazy!”
Other fans like Matt Henricks were more optimistic, “We are looking a lot more positive, a lot stronger.”
The Browns are also gaining some support with people betting on them to go all the way and win the Super Bowl, with the odds now set at 60 - 1.
"I’m hopeful,” said Ken Bray, grinning from ear to ear. “I think that anything is possible, and I’d love to see that happen.”
Back at the ESPN radio studios, located inside of the Galleria in downtown Cleveland, Golden offered a more realistic number, projecting the Browns to win between 7 and 9 games.
Although he says, “Really if this team wins the opening game against the Steelers it doesn’t matter at that point; we’re playing for house money after that one.”
**Catch the Browns' preseason game #3 only on FOX 8 this Thursday night**