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BETTING: Deshaun Watson Suspension Impact

deshaun watson betting impact

Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension has been increased to 11 games, and this increase will have significant ramifications for the Cleveland Browns season. Read on for the Deshaun Watson suspension impact from a betting perspective.

Chris Farley already tackled how Watson's original suspension would impact the Browns through the first six games. On opening day in Carolina, for instance, Watson’s anticipated absence has driven the line between 4 and 5.5 points against the Browns. We can expect that type of impact on the spread in every game that Watson misses this season. If the Browns now trade for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, that weekly line impact would land closer to the three-point range.

deshaun watson
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In a big picture sense, the Browns win total has been off the board for most of the offseason. When it was first posted, the Browns win total was around 9.5 games before there was any official ruling on Watson. Right now it’s at 8.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook, which still seems high. I expected it to be in the 7.5 range with Watson missing 11 games.

Schedule Analysis

Watson returns in Week 13 in Houston, which will be a high interest game that will make the Texans “America’s Team” in the eyes of many for one Sunday afternoon. Leading up to that game, with Jacoby Brissett at the helm the Browns could realistically go 2-5 or worse in their early matchups against strong teams: vs Chargers, vs Patriots, at Ravens, vs Bengals (MNF), at Dolphins, at Bills, vs Buccaneers. Looking through that lens, the Browns would have to go at least 7-3 against everyone else to beat their win total of 8.5 games. The Browns under is already getting juiced on DraftKings, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the number was moved or even pulled before the end of the today.

deshaun watson
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The Browns with Brissett 

Brissett is a good backup quarterback that NFL teams can potentially survive with as we saw with the Indianapolis Colts in 2019. Our Head of Pro Scouting T.J. McCreight broke down what the Browns would look like without Watson earlier this month. Dirty, run-heavy game plans backed by strong defensive efforts is the path to the Browns exceeding expectations through the first 11 games with Brissett. A 5-6 record through that stretch is a big ask considering some of the difficult opponents on the Browns’ docket, but that outcome isn’t entirely out of the question.

The Browns Full Season Outlook

I see the Browns prospects of taking down the AFC North the same way our Mike Tannenbaum does:

The AFC as a whole is loaded with competitive teams this season. The Jets, Jaguars, Texans, and Steelers are the only teams in the conference with win totals below eight games. Aside from the Browns, that leaves 11 teams in the conference that are projected to be .500 or better. You might need to win ten games to have a shot at the seventh seed in the AFC this season. The Browns aren’t completely drawing dead at that outcome as they would be a title contender if Watson were playing the whole season. But, Cleveland has a steep uphill battle to making the playoffs this year.