Watson’s Suspension Update: Bad Look for the NFL, Good Look for Bettors
Recent news has surfaced, per Tony Rizzo, that Watson could potentially be facing a 4-6 game suspension. No, this news is not 100% official, but if it is – it’s absolutely insane.
We’re coming fresh off a season where Calvin Ridley was suspended for the entire season after he was caught gambling on NFL games around the week 6 mark. The bet Ridley placed was about $1,500 – nowhere near an amount that could actually make a financial impact on him. This would be equivalent to me (broke college graduate) placing a $0.50 12-leg parlay.
The real question here is why would Ridley get such a harsh penalty compared to Watson being that their wrongful decisions were much different. Watson has had more cases of sexual misconduct filed against him (24) than Zach Wilson & Trevor Lawrence’s combined rookie year passing touchdowns (21).
Realistically, this shows the bad side of the NFL – focusing on money but not the real problems. Because Ridley gambled on the sport, the billion-dollar NFL betting industry could potentially get the idea that games he was involved in were/will be rigged. Watson’s criminal cases on the other hand will not affect the flow of money into the league and the gambling side of the game.
Now speaking of gambling (shoutout to Ridley), here is where the Watson suspension will make an impact. The Browns are currently available at +280 to win their division and +2000 to win the Super Bowl solely because Watson’s status is technically still up in the air. Without Watson, I personally believe that putting your money on either of these bets is a total waste, but if he is playing then there is definitely a ton of value.
Browns to Win Division (+280)
If Watson does end up getting suspended 4-6 games, we’re looking at Brissett as the starting QB for the first ⅓ of the season – that’s not ideal. The good thing is the Browns’ schedule is relatively easy during this span and Brissett can likely pull away with a few wins. They match up against the Panthers, Jets, Steelers, Falcons, Chargers & Patriots. Even with Brissett starting, the Browns have a stacked team and I could definitely see them winning 4 out of these 6 games by just relying on their run game and defense. If Watson returns in Week 7, then the Browns are potentially a top team in the league. The division will be tough, but bad games and injuries could end up playing a factor for the Ravens and Bengals which would open the door for the Browns.
Browns to Win the Super Bowl (+2000)
Going off of the division winner portion, I personally believe that betting on the Browns to win the Super Bowl would be the better option. I could definitely see the Browns coming into the playoffs as a strong wildcard team, somewhat similar to the Buccaneers in 2021 when they won the championship. By putting your money on this bet, we don’t have to worry about the Browns dominating in the regular season – we only have to focus on them making a run in the playoffs. Even if the Browns were to make it past the 2nd round, we’d still have a great cash-out offer on our hands. We could bet this today and hope for the best, but another strategy would be to wait for a few games and see what Brissett does. If the Browns start off the season without winning a game within the first 3-4 weeks, the odds will definitely go in our favor. Ultimately as long as Watson will be making a return this bet is worth it, it’s just up to you regarding the time you’d like to make this bet official. Just remember, the past 2 NFL seasons have concluded with a great QB coming to a new team and winning the championship in their first season.