We’re in the middle of the 2019 NFL free-agency circus, but the biggest move came in the form of a trade. The Cleveland Browns acquired wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants on Tuesday, in exchange for a first-round pick in 2019 (17th overall), a third-round pick in 2019 (Cleveland’s second third-rounder), and safety Jabril Peppers.

Adding arguably the best wide receiver in football for Baker Mayfield to throw to, on a Cleveland roster already on the rise, is obviously a big move. But oddsmakers and the betting world think it’s an *enormous* move in terms of improving the Browns’ Super Bowl chances.

The Browns’ Super Bowl odds at Westgate Las Vegas Superbook went from 25-1 to 14-1 with the trade for Beckham (And Cleveland’s title odds on Jan. 15 were 30-1). The Kansas City Chiefs (6/1), New England Patriots (6/1), Los Angeles Rams (8/1), and New Orleans Saints (8/1) are the only teams with better Super Bowl odds.

And the Browns’ AFC title chances went from 12-1 to 7-1 with the Beckham acquisition, behind only the Chiefs (3/1) and Patriots (3/1).


This feels a bit aggressive, and perhaps in part a move to counter the likely action coming in from bettors with all of the Browns’ hype right now. It’s without question a significantly improved Cleveland roster from the one that went 7-8-1 in 2018, with much improvement likely to still come from within (particularly at the quarterback position with Mayfield, a rookie in 2018).

But the fifth-best Super Bowl odds (tied with the Green Bay Packers)? Ahead of teams like the Chicago Bears (12-4 in 2018), Los Angeles Chargers (12-4 in 2018), and Indianapolis Colts (10-6 in 2018)? That’s questionable, but there’s no doubt you can at least make a good argument for the ascending Browns.

And the fact that the Browns are even in the title conversation now is a big deal. We’re talking about a team that has never appeared in the Super Bowl, hasn’t had a winning season since 2007 (10-6), hasn’t won over 10 games since 1994 (11-5), and hasn’t won their division since 1989.

As for the New York Giants (5-11 in 2018)? Well, their Super Bowl odds went from 40/1 to 80/1 with the trade. It turns out trading away Hall of Fame talents in their prime tends to hurt a lot, especially when it’s an elite wide receiver for a team that has bad quarterback play.

We can debate the specifics of the Browns’ and Giants’ Super Bowl odds, but we can all agree that the odds perfectly reflect the direction that these organizations are going.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.