With training camps opening across the NFL, oddsmakers are pegging the New England Patriots as the team to beat.
The Patriots are +700 at Caesars Palace sportsbook to win Super Bowl LIV, which would be their fourth title in six years. The Kansas City Chiefs (+750) follow closely behind, and the Cleveland Browns (+1000) are an unexpected entrant in the top five.
The Patriots are the reigning champions, while the Chiefs pushed them to the limit in the AFC Championship Game, losing to New England in overtime. Those two are likely to be jostling for a Super Bowl berth once again in 2019.
Of course, the numbers reflect the general trends in the betting markets and not the probability of a given team lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. From that standpoint, the Browns' title odds are a reflection of the hype they're carrying into the season.
Baker Mayfield threw for 3,725 yards and a rookie-record 27 touchdowns a season ago. The Browns also went 6-7 when he was the starter, two more victories than they had between 2015 and 2017 combined.
Sensing an opportunity, general manager John Dorsey took an aggressive approach in the offseason. Cleveland acquired Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon from the New York Giants and signed Sheldon Richardson, Morgan Burnett and Kareem Hunt.
Although the Browns haven't reached the playoffs since 2002, neither Dorsey nor head coach Freddie Kitchens shied away from discussing a possible championship run.
"My job is to get (Kitchens) as many good football players as I possibly can," Dorsey said Wednesday, per Anthony Poisal of the team's official site. "With the talent this coaching staff has in terms of developing young men, I have no problem with trying to achieve that goal."
Kitchens was a little more explicit: "I want everybody to understand this. Our goal here with the Cleveland Browns, as long as I'm here, will always be to win the Super Bowl. That's the last time I'm going to say that. Just know and make it a given that that's what I believe to my core."
For anybody thinking about putting money on the Browns capturing their first Super Bowl title, it might be a good idea to see whether the market cools a bit more on Cleveland.