The AFC South was one of the least competitive divisions in the NFL last year, but the top team still earned the top seed in the AFC. Despite the countless injuries and roster changes, the Tennessee Titans had the best record in the conference at the end of the year.
The Colts almost made the Playoffs, but a collapse late in the year sent them home. The other two teams in the division had rookie quarterbacks and fired their head coaches after one season each, leaving them with new regimes.
This offseason, plenty of moves have happened. Two teams have new coaches. The Colts traded away Carson Wentz and somehow upgraded with Matt Ryan, a former MVP and Falcons legend. The Titans have a healthy Derrick Henry, but they traded away A.J. Brown, the best receiver in the division.
Let’s take a look at the odds for each AFC South team to win the division and see where the value is. How much does the loss of A.J. Brown hurt the Titans? All odds come from BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review).
Indianapolis Colts (-110)
The Colts are the favorites, and it is easy to see why. They are my pick to win the division thanks to Jonathan Taylor and the improvement at quarterback. Ryan should easily be the best quarterback the Colts have had since Luck’s retirement, and the team retains key pieces on both sides of the ball.
The Colts can develop a sustainable offense with Ryan under center. Pairing this with an elite run game and a stout defense should be enough to win the Colts the division.
Still, I don’t like making a futures bet with a negative value. You don’t get a return quick enough for this to be worth the risk. One or two injuries could derail a season, and putting significant capital on hold all year does not make sense.
Tennessee Titans (+145)
While I don’t think the Titans will be better than the Colts, I prefer this value. A healthy Derrick Henry gives this team a high floor, and Ryan Tannehill is better than his last game suggests. This team somehow earned the top seed despite losing many key contributors, so a healthy roster should be a division competitor.
Losing Brown hurts, but the Titans traded for Robert Woods this offseason. They also drafted Treylon Burks. Neither of these players are as talented as Brown, but they should give the Titans options this season.
At the end of the day, the Titans always find a way to compete in the AFC South. Mike Vrabel is one of the best coaches in the NFL, and I don’t see him bowing down to the challenge. I like the Colts to win the division, but I prefer the positive value of a Titans bet.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+700)
This is your shot in the dark, and there is some value here. If you are betting on the Jaguars, you are essentially assuming that Urban Meyer was holding Trevor Lawrence back. With a competent coaching staff, the Jags should be significantly more prepared.
However, the roster moves made this year didn’t move the needle for me. The Jaguars spent a ton of money, but they didn’t add many game-altering players. Christian Kirk is a nice addition, but he was overpaid.
The Jaguars also had a lackluster draft class. They bet on the upside over proven traits, so it might take a while for these players to produce.
Houston Texans (+2200)
If we’re being honest, the Texans shouldn’t be trying to win this year. They have a solid draft class filled with skill players, but the real question is what will happen at the quarterback position. Davis Mills earned a chance to prove himself, but he likely isn’t the longterm answer for the Texans.
Houston would be better off with either Bryce Young or CJ Stroud. If this team outperforms itself, they won’t be able to draft either player. However, the likelihood of the Texans winning enough games to compete for the AFC South is minuscule.
This is going to be a rough year in Houston, and I don’t see things trending up anytime soon.