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Bettors like Raiders, Browns, Steelers to win AFC

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Oakland Raiders v Cleveland Browns Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns have made a lot of improvements this offseason, with new coaching assistants and an almost totally revamped roster featuring new starting QB Tyrod Taylor, #1 overall draft pick Baker Mayfield, RB Carlos Hyde and rookie RB Nick Chubb as well as WR Jarvis Landry and returning WR Josh Gordon. They have a far more talented roster now than at any time since the days of Bernie Kosar, and the public is telling Vegas that they are buying in.

This doesn’t mean that the most money is being put on the Browns, it means that the highest amount of people are betting on the Browns to win their division. And why not? The other three teams in it are pretty overrated in my view.

But this Tweet would seem to imply that it’s the Raiders who have the largest number of bets to win the AFC, at least at Caesar’s Palace. How is that possible? Let’s take a look at the current odds to win the AFC.

The Browns are at +3500, the Steelers are at +500 and the Raiders are at +1800. The favorites are, of course, the Patriots at +250. I cannot fathom taking a Steelers team with a creaky defense at +500, that’s a sucker bet. The Browns might win their division, but they will never win a playoff game with Hue Jackson as their head coach.

But the Raiders? At +1800? That right there is worth plunking down fifty bucks. The Raiders have a far better roster with a vastly superior coaching staff now than when they made the playoffs in 2016, and if Jon Gruden’s smash mouth style and Paul Guenther’s blitz-happy defense work as planned, there’s no reason the Raiders can’t win the AFC this year. At those odds, it makes sense that the public is taking that bet.