Why Bettors Should Hold Off On Browns 2021 Super Bowl Odds

  • Kevin Stefanski signed a 5-year deal as head coach for the Cleveland Browns.
  • Cleveland is coming off a disappointing 6-10 season.
  • Stefanski may be just what Baker Mayfield needs.

CLEVELAND - The saga of Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns continues as the Browns announce their new head coach Kevin Stefanski. The 37-year old offensive coordinator has agreed to a 5-year contract with Cleveland, leaving many fans hopeful for the future.

Stefanski is coming off of a successful season as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator. The Vikings finished the season with a 10 and 6 record, placing them second in the NFC North. This, and the play of Kirk Cousins under Stefanski, is why there is optimism for fixing the Browns stagnant offense.

It may seem hard to remember, but there was a lot of excitement surrounding the Cleveland browns coming into the season. With the Browns Super Bowl odds increasing from + 3300 to +1200 as the season approached. There was a lot of intrigue as to how Freddie Kitchens would continue Baker Mayfield’s record-breaking play.

Unfortunately, due to a disappointing 6 and 10 record which caused them to yet again miss the playoffs, Kitchens was fired and the team is ready to move forward with Stefanski.

Stefanski accepted the role on Sunday and will be introduced at a news conference on Tuesday. After a disappointing season where they fell short of all expectations, Cleveland is hopeful to change things around in the upcoming season.

What Stefanski Brings To The Table

In Minnesota, Kevin Stefanski helped make Kirk Cousins statistically a top quarterback in the NFL. This success has been credited to Kevin Stefanski’s play-action focused play-calling. The Vikings used play-action on 31.4% of Cousins’ dropbacks which placed them highest in the entire NFL.

When running those plays, Cousins managed to score 14 touchdowns on 1,373 passing yards while only throwing two interceptions. This netted him a top passer rating of 129.2.

The numbers show that Mayfield is excellent when the offense is running play-action. This season, 134 of Mayfield’s 534 pass attempts were through play-action passes. On those plays, he threw for 1,128 yards. With a new coach that is an expert in play-action, the numbers support the benefits this will have on their offense.

Freddie Kitchens Failures

Freddie Kitchens was in over his head from the beginning as he has had no prior experience as a head coach in the NFL. Due to the firing of Hue Jackson as head coach and Todd Haley as offensive coordinator, Kitchens subsequently went from being the running back coach, to offensive coordinator, to head coach.

At the time, his expedited promotions didn’t seem too farfetched since as offensive coordinator he managed to help Baker Mayfield break the all-time rookie passing touchdown record. A lot of eyes were on the Browns as fans and sports bettors tuned in every week only to be consistently let down.

Although it seems like a ridiculous thought now, at the time the Browns were a favorite to win the AFC North at +130 odds and even had some bettors taking them to make the Super Bowl at +1200 odds.

The reason for all the optimism coming into the season was in part due to the Browns managing to accumulate big names like Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) and Sheldon Richardson to pair with the rising star Baker Mayfield.

What the Browns did manage to prove, however, was that having big names and an abundance of talent alone does not equate to winning in the NFL. Coaching and chemistry are just as important.

A crucial problem that plagued the Browns all season was that former coach Freddie Kitchens failed to adjust offensively. His situational play calling was laughable at times and his use of time outs and play challenges showed clear signs of amateurism.

But the main problem with Freddie Kitchens was, despite all the media attention that surrounded trading for Odell Beckham Jr., Beckham was completely underutilized in the Kitchens offense.

Coming into the season OBJ was considered a top three WR in the NFL. Yet despite this, many weeks went by with OBJ getting far too little touches. All season OBJ seemed frustrated and even began sending cryptic messages in his post-game interviews.

As Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com puts it “Odell Beckham Jr.’s exceptional talent has been wasted this season in what multiple sources describe as a dysfunctional Browns offense.”

Tamer Expectations For The Future

With Kitchens gone and the Browns ready to move forward with Stefanski, there should be more realistic expectations for the team as opposed to last year.

Within their same division, the Baltimore Ravens have emerged, with MVP front runner Lamar Jackson setting the league on fire this last season. Because of this, the odds may not be as favorable for the browns going forward. But as a team, there should be a significant improvement.

The reality is since 1970 only one coach has had a winning record, that coach being Greg Williams at 5-3 and he was just an interim head coach. The Browns have a lot to prove coming into this next season, and bettors will likely be more hesitant than to take the bait set by Super Bowl oddsmakers.

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