No NFL team has been responsible for more preseason betting action than the Browns.
1. Is it the Hard Knocks effect? Is it the Baker Mayfield effect. Do people just have short memories?
The Browns—yes, the Browns—have gone from zero wins in 2017 to the darlings of the NFL betting world this year.
A sportsbook manager at Caesars Palace in Vegas told ESPN, "There are more bets on the Browns to win the AFC North than the other three teams combined. Only the Raiders and Steelers have more bets to win the AFC. The public likes the Browns, and I'm not sure why."
Granted, the AFC isn't great, but how that many people expect the Browns to go to the Super Bowl is truly mind-boggling, even if they're just looking to get lucky with the 20-to-1 odds.
Not only that, two-thirds of the bets on Cleveland's win total at Caesars Palace have been on the over 6. People are expecting the Browns to go from zero wins to 7 wins in order to cash their tickets. What?!?
That's a lot to ask for, even with the upgrade at quarterback with Tyrod Taylor and Mayfield, the addition of Jarvis Landry and the return of Josh Gordon.
Personally, I'm rooting hard for the Browns this year because I love Mayfield and I'd like to see Gordon turn things around on and off the field, but the Vegas excitement for the team is confusing.
On a side note: If you're a sports bettor, you'll want to follow SI's new Twitter account dedicated to all things gambling, @SI_Gambling. And this Friday we'll debut The MMQB Gambling Podcast, featuring myself, MMQB Senior Editor Gary Gramling and Scott Gramling, the Managing Editor of DRF Sportsform.
2. New ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jason Witten is still learning the telestrator because this was not good Monday night.
Despite this blunder, I'm amazed at how many people want to judge the new Joe Tessitore-Witten-Booger McFarland crew after two preseason games. Granted, I'm going by Twitter, which is always a dumb thing to do. I've gotten a steady stream of tweets over the past week asking me to assess the crew, but I'm holding out any judgement until the regular season starts. This is the problem with every network now trying to copy the Tony Romo formula. Romo was great from the first second he debuted last season and now people think that's the norm. Can we please give Witten a couple of games before we form an opinion?
3. In a truly great story from last week, MLB Network got fooled by a fake tweet regarding Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer. Bauer got very salty about it and ripped MLB Network and ESPN on Twitter, although ESPN never aired the fake tweets. So yesterday, Bauer apologized to ESPN in the form of a video that looked like a hostage video. All this because of Twitter. LOL.
4. The New York Mets are 54-70, but in the Big Apple the tabloids don't mind kicking you while you're down.
Here's what led to that New York Post backpage (turn your volume way up.)
5. The Shield reunited on Monday Night Raw last night and the Brooklyn crowd ate it up.
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with New York Post sports media reporter Andrew Marchand, who broke the story that ESPN wants to expand Chris Berman’s role for the upcoming NFL season. In addition to discussing what role Berman would have, Marchand also talks about ESPN using Keith Olbermann on MLB play-by-play, the story behind Bob Ley taking a six-month sabbatical, ESPN’s programming changes, Craig Carton, Mike Francesa and more. You can listen below or download the podcat on iTunes.
7. RANDOM HARD KNOCKS VIDEO OF THE DAY: Bernard Pollard is known for two things: Taking out Tom Brady and this.
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IN CLOSING: It's genuinely shocking that the Red Sox have lost two games in a row.