AFC South Odds Preview

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2016

AFC South

NFL Betting Preview

Odds to Win

For any Texans backers last season, big money could’ve been made, as the Colts were a huge favorite. After an Andrew LUck injury, the Colts finished with eight wins, one behind division-winner Houston. With LUck back and healthy, the Colts are oNCe again favored to win the AFC South, but at a much smaller rate after last year’s -500.

Odds to win AFC South

courtesy of 5 Dimes Sportsbook

Indianapolis Colts +140
Houston Texans +205
Jacksonville Jaguars +300
Tennessee Titans +1000

For the first time in a long time, the Indianapolis Colts aren’t the hands down favorite to win the AFC South. While they are the favorite, it’s not by much. The Colts didn’t change many things on their roster from the last couple years and that’s all that’s needed with LUck under center. However, the weapons around LUck seem to be fewer than in previous years with Coby Fleener gone and a short list at wide receiver behind T.Y. Hilton, Donte MoNCrief and Phillip Dorsett. Frank Gore is still the lead back, although at 32 years old. At the least, the Colts improved their offensive line through the draft, which should help. The defense looks mostly the same and they’ll be hoping to be healthier this year, which should automatically lead to improvement. That said, there are still holes in this team and winning the division isn’t a certainty.

The main team in Indy’s way is the Houston Texans, who not only won the division last year, but added valuable pieces in the offseason. The Texans finally have a quarterback — they hope — that can start 16 Games in Brock Osweiler. They also added LAmar Miller to help in the ground Game with oft-injured Arian Foster gone. The receivers should be better as well with DeAndre Hopkins, but also an improved Jaelen Strong and rookie Will Fuller. Back surgery to J.J. Watt is a bit worrisome, as he means everything to the defense, but the group should still be the best in the AFC South. To help, their toughest early Game comes on the road against the Patriots, but with Jimmy GAroppolo at QB.

A year after being +2500 to win the AFC South, the Jacksonville Jaguars are suddenly at +300 with a legitimate chance to take the division. Of course, that’s easier said than done. The Jaguars still only won five Games last year. Blake Bortles improved, but he still had plenty of issues, and for the Jags to have a chance, Bortles needs to take another step. With Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns back, that should be possible, as well as a healthier Julius Thomas at tight end. A running back duo of Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon should also complement the passing Game better than a year ago. Still, they didn’t do much to better the offensive line. But the main improvement has to be on defense for Gus Bradley after giving up a ridiculous 448 points in 2015. They added loads of players through free ageNCy (Tashaun Gipson, PriNCe Amukamara, Malik Jackson) as well as the draft (Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack). Not to mention the return of last year’s top pick, Dante Fowler, should help. If they can put things together, the Jags may actually have a good defense, and soon enough, they will be challenging for the division title.

The Tennessee Titans are in a similar landscape as the Jags, but to a lesser extent, having not made as drastic of changes on the defensive side. Either way, the offense should improve with Marcus Mariota entering his second year as well as receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. But in addition to that, DeMarco Murray was added to the mix as well as a fresher set of legs with Derrick Henry. The running Game should be leaps and bounds better than a year ago. The defense is a bit unknown, though, which could lead to a similar route the Jaguars took last year when they were in high-scoring battles almost every week. The Titans could reach five or six wins, but don’t have the defense to keep up with better teams.

Last year, the only thing stopping the Colts from winning the AFC South again was an Andrew LUck injury. And while LUck is healthy again, his effectiveness is still a question. And in the mean time, everyone around them got better. If Osweiler can live up to his price tag, the Texans could easily win the division again, but they’ll need a fully healthy Watt to do so. The AFC South is up for grabs, but with LUck back, it may be best to roll with the Colts again.

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