The AFC South has seen quite a few changes as we head into the 2021 season. Several teams have made significant changes in the offseason, and there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding many of these franchises.
Let’s break down each team in the AFC South and see if we can find value in the divisional futures market.
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Odds To Win The AFC South In 2023
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NFL AFC South Division Predictions
Tennessee Titans -125
The Titans made a lot of noise last season before ultimately losing out to the Ravens in the Wild Card Round. This offseason, their big splash was trading for a future Hall-of-Fame wide receiver, Julio Jones, from the Atlanta Falcons.
Tennessee featured a top-five offense last season, heavily based on the running game and play-action. Ryan Tannehill was elite last season, and so were his weapons.
The offense line hasn’t changed much from last year, but although they added Jones, they did lose other viable targets in WR Corey Davis and TE Jonnu Smith.
An Unlikely Change In Defense
Defensively, the Titans were a disaster, and that is unlikely to change this season. In fact, they likely got worse after failing to retain cornerbacks Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler. Quite simply, this defense is going to be awful.
Tenessee has an impressive offense, but they lost a few weapons, and even though they added Julio Jones, they are possibly too focused as a rush-first offense for their own good.
Their offense success may be hard to replicate, and their defense may be the worst in the league. They’re a hard sell at -125 as a favorite in this division.
Indianapolis Colts +140
The Colts have a new quarterback in Carson Wentz after trading for him after he fell out of favor in Philadelphia. Phillip Rivers is now retired as the Colts look to build off an 11-5 season last year.
Questions about Wentz’s ability as a quarterback make me doubt the offense as a whole. Still, they have surrounded him with an excellent offensive line and decent weapons in T.Y. Hilton and the emerging Micahel Pittman.
Indianapolis plays mostly conservative on defense, not rushing often and dropping back into coverage. The unit has strengths in the defensive line and the secondary.
They did go after two edge rushers in the Draft and kept most of their starters from last season so that this unit may improve.
The Colts at + money is an attractive bet. Frank Reich is a top-tier coach, but their easy schedule last season and questions about Wentz’s talent still make me unsure what happens in Indy this coming season.
Jacksonville Jaguars +650
I did sprinkle a bet on the Jaguars to win the AFC South a few months ago around +1200 at FanDuel. That number is now long gone, but to be honest, I can’t say I feel too confident about my bet.
The team has not looked great so far in the preseason, with Trevor Lawrence under center. But it is early, and the offensive line should be at least average.
Lawrence does have some talent at wideout with Marvin Jones and DJ Chark, but it’s a true toss-up on how his first year will pan out.
The defense was not good in 2020, but it was a unit that suffered many injuries last season and is still extremely young. They didn’t do much in free agency to address their defensive needs.
Jacksonville needs to hope they can stay healthy this season and that some of their young talent pans out.
Jacksonville has some upside, but +650 is too little for me to invest in them in the AFC South, with two teams ahead of them. However, I could see them surprising this year in terms of wins, and I think the over/under total wins at BetUS are a bit low.
I like the over 6.5 wins at -105 with the Jags.
Houston Texans +2000
DeShaun Watson played like an MVP last season for Houston, but it’s unlikely he plays this season due to offseason allegations of sexual assault and possibly pending criminal charges.
Former Charger and Brown, Tyrod Taylor will likely be taking the snaps under center for the Texans in Week 1.
Without Watson, their offense will take a massive step backward. At best, the offensive line is average, and Tyrod Taylor is quite the downgrade, even though he played admirably throughout his career, especially facing pressure.
Brandon Cooks remains the primary receiver in this offense, with the rookie, Nico Collins, likely to be immediately thrust into a starting role. There isn’t much to like about this offense without Watson.
A Big Loss On The Defensive Side
Houston lost J.J. Watt to the Arizona Cardinals. Watt was the Texans’ best defensive player, but it made no sense to keep him around with a clearly rebuilding franchise.
The secondary is the best part of their secondary and could improve. The front seven is full of leaks and will struggle to generate a pass rush.
The Texans could easily be the worst team in the NFL this season, mainly if DeShaun Watson doesn’t play (which is highly likely). Even at +2000, I would stay far away.
AFC South Prediction
I think this one is a more challenging division to predict than others. However, when we look at available odds, I think the Colts are an obvious choice.
I still question Wentz’s ability as a passer, but Frank Reich is an elite coach, and they’re a better team than the Titans, at least on paper. I think there is plenty of value with the Colts at +140.