2014 Odds to Win AFC South with Picks and NFL Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 6/19/2014
As the march towards the start of another NFL regular season continues, all 32 teams remain busy with their offseason preparations that will hopefully propel them to a run to the Super Bowl. A great starting point to any championship run is first securing your individual division title. To get you ready for all the action, I am going to take a closer look at BetOnline's NFL futures odds to win each of the eight divisions; with this installment covering the AFC South along with my betting picks and predictions.
Indianapolis Colts Odds to Win the AFC South -110
The Colts were a dominant force in the AFC South for years when Peyton Manning was at the helm at quarterback. Now that Andrew Luck is heading into his third season as the team's new starter they are hoping this dominance will continue after he helped Indianapolis earn two trips to the playoffs and a division title in 2013 in his first two seasons in the NFL.
Indianapolis cruised to the AFC South title last season by four games with an overall record of 11-5, but the odds favor a much tighter race this time around as the team has a projected win total of 9.5. The Colts remain the most talented team in this division, but I would tend to agree that nine or 10 wins is a very realistic total for this team.
Houston Texans Odds to Win the AFC South +200
The first-to-worst plummet of the Texans from 12 wins in 2012 to just two in 2013 was probably the most shocking storyline from last season, but many experts believe that a return to the top of the AFC South is well within this team's capabilities this season. Houston is going with Ryan Fitzpatrick as its new starting quarterback to replace the recently-departed Matt Schaub, but the burning question right now is will All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson be back in be fold in light of a lingering contract dispute?
One thing that should hold true is an improved defense with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney as the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft. The Texans have always been known for playing solid defense, but they slipped to 25th in the NFL last season in points allowed despite being ranked seventh in total yards allowed.
Tennessee Titans Odds to Win the AFC South +400
Tennessee is the type of team that is always going to win a few unexpected games along the way while losing a few it should have won. The Titans have just one winning record in their last five seasons, and their projected win total this year is set at seven , with the -135 moneyline slightly favoring the "over". They went 7-9 last season to finish second in the division standings.
To get over the hump and seriously complete for the AFC South title, Tennessee is going to need a much more consistent effort from quarterback Jake Locker and an offense that was ranked 22nd in the league in total yards. He appears to be well on his way to a full recovery from a foot injury that caused him to miss the final seven games of the 2013 season. The Titans' defense remains the primary strength of this team, and it should be able to carry Tennessee to at least seven wins again in 2014.
Jacksonville Jaguars Odds to Win the AFC South +2000
It is pretty obvious that Jacksonville has nowhere to go but up after winning a combined 11 games in its last three seasons, but just how far it rises this season still remains to be seen. The Jaguars' win total for 2014 has been set at 4.5 , which does not suggest all that much improvement after winning just four games last season. While I would not go so far as to suggest they can win the AFC South this season, I do like their chances to exceed the 4.5 game total.
One of the biggest reasons why they can make some noise this year is the addition of wide receivers' Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round of the 2014 draft. At some point this season you would have to believe that first-round pick Blake Bortles will be throwing them the ball as the new starter, but for now it appears that Chad Henne will begin the new season as the No. 1 quarterback on the Jaguars' depth chart.
AFC South Picks and Betting Predictions
Luck's overall numbers may not compare with Manning's at this point in his career, but the Colts gunslinger has shown the ability to win at this level. I am not overly thrilled with the value in Indianapolis's -110 odds to win the AFC South again this year, but I am not going to bet against this team to get it done. Look for a solid rebound from Houston to make things interesting into December, but in the end, a 10-6 record will be enough for the Colts to earn a second-straight AFC South Division crown.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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