The Cleveland Cavaliers made history this spring by coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the Warriors the win the NBA Championship. The Cleveland Indians took the Chicago Cubs into extra innings of Game 7 in the World Series. The Cleveland Browns
drafted the level-headed Johnny Football, definitely their franchise QB for at least another decade, and are on their way to their first ever Super Bowl are approaching even odds to go winless on the season. The 2008 Detroit Lions are the only team to ever go winless since the NFL switched to a 16-game schedule, so don’t worry Browns die-hards…the Browns are on the verge of history, too.
So…just what are the chances that the Browns go 0-16? Let’s take a closer look.
Before the season began, the Browns win total over/under was set at five at BetOnline. It was the lowest total in the league, but the books apparently set the bar too high. This was also before RGIII got hurt in Week 1 but, as we saw in Week 2, the difference between RGIII and Josh McCown on the spread was practically nothing.
If you look at the table below, you will see all of the Browns’ results, including closing lines from Pinnacle and lookahead lines posted by CG Technology in April. They’ve had their share of blowouts, but they have also come close to winning a few times. Arguably their most disappointing loss came in Week 2, when they were up 20-2 after the first quarter and ended up losing 25-20. That essentially set the table for the way their season has gone so far.
|Opponent||Result||Closing Line (ML)||Lookahead Line (4/21)|
|@ Philadelphia||29-10 Loss||+3.5 (+162)||+7.5|
|vs. Baltimore||25-20 Loss||+4 (+171)||+3|
|@ Miami||30-24 Loss||+10 (+361)||+7|
|@ Washington||31-20 Loss||+7.5 (+297)||+7.5|
|vs. New England||33-13 Loss||+10 (+385)||+7|
|@ Tennessee||28-26 Loss||+7.5 (+285)||+3.5|
|@ Cincinnati||31-17 Loss||+11.5 (+480)||+11.5|
|vs. New York Jets||31-28 Loss||+2.5 (+121)||+5|
|vs. Dallas||35-10 Loss||+7 (+255)||+5|
|@ Baltimore||28-7 Loss||+7.5 (+301)||+8.5|
|vs. Pittsburgh||24-9 Loss||+8 (+272)||+8.5|
|vs. New York Giants||27-13 Loss||+7 (+250)||-3.5|
|vs. Cincinnati||?||+5.5 (+201)||+7.5|
|vs. San Diego||?||?||+2|
The Browns were actually favored in one game this season according to the lookahead lines, which was Week 12 against the Giants. However, the Giants have been playing well and the Browns obviously have not been. This explains why the Giants opened as 6.5-point favorites at the Westgate Superbook.
Below, you can see the line history over the past couple of months for the Browns to go 0-16. As you can see, books realized fairly early into the season that the Browns had a real shot to do this.
|5Dimes (12/6)||BetOnline (11/29)||5Dimes (11/21)||5Dimes (11/15)||Bovada (11/3)||5Dimes (10/15)||Bookmaker (10/11)||5Dimes (9/22)|
|At least 1 win or tie||-155||-155||-165||-265||-900||N/A||N/A||N/A|
About a month ago, Bookmaker was offering odds for the first win for each of the Browns’ remaining games. Each one of the games that still remain were listed at +1500 or greater, granted, that factors in the chance that they would already have a win at this point.
When will the Cleveland Browns win their first game? A winless season is available at +450 (via Bookmaker). pic.twitter.com/7aoJyQZHc3
— Sports Insights (@SportsInsights) October 11, 2016
Looking at their remaining slate of games, the odds are stacked against the Browns. The Steelers haven’t been playing great, but they should definitely emerge victorious this week and will likely need the win in Week 17 due to their current place in the standings.
The Giants are in a position to make the playoffs, while the Bengals and Bills may also be fighting for a wild card spot. All three teams are capable of laying an egg, but I believe they will all be fighting for wins late in the season and will take advantage of the Browns.
I think the most likely victory will be in Week 16 at home against San Diego. The Chargers have been plagued by injuries and aren’t going to be playing for anything in late December. The Browns will at least be playing for their dignity. I’m not saying they will win; I’m saying that the Chargers likely give them the best shot at doing so.
The list below displays our projected spreads for the Browns remaining games:
- Week 15 at Bills (+8.5)
- Week 16 vs. Chargers (+7)
- Week 17 at Steelers (+10.5)
Several sportsbooks have been offering odds for the Browns to go 0-16, with lines ranging from +175 to +200 for Cleveland to go winless. Sorry Browns fans, but I feel that there is value there. The implied probability of +200 is 33.3% and I feel that it is more or less a coin flip at this point.
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If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to reach out to the Sports Insights staff by utilizing our live chat feature, commenting below, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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