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Odds to Win the AFC South: Colts Hold Top Spot

Odds to Win the AFC South Title

It was a dogfight in the AFC South in 2018 with three teams finishing with records above .500 and the Houston Texans ended up being the cream of the crop with an 11-5 mark, winning their third division title in four years. However, the Indianapolis Colts finished second in the division last year and they are favored to take the AFC South in 2019.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Indianapolis Colts as the favorites at EVEN money, followed by the Houston Texans at +275, the Jacksonville Jaguars at +375 and the Tennessee Titans bringing up the rear at +650.

Here’s a breakdown of each team’s chances to win the division:

Read more on the betting odds to win the AFC East, AFC West and AFC North.

Indianapolis Colts (EVEN)

The 2018 season was a volatile one for the Colts, but it all led to a playoff appearance that ended with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round. The Colts opened the season with a 1-5 record and it appeared to be a lost year, although those losses were very close. The team then rallied behind a 37-5 drubbing of the Buffalo Bills in Week 7, going 9-1 down the stretch to finish second in the AFC South.

Some of the early struggles Indianapolis faced were due to injury with running back Marlon Mack playing just two of the first six games with 22 total carries over that span. Additionally, quarterback Andrew Luck was coming back after missing the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury. When those two felt healthy and strong, the team went on a tear.

During the offseason, the Colts brought in some crucial reinforcements who could help this team win the division title in 2019. Firstly, they signed Devin Funchess from Carolina as a second wide receiver beside the speedy T.Y. Hilton. Additionally, they signed four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Houston, who spent eight seasons with Kansas City. Indianapolis had 38 sacks last year to rank 19th in the NFL and Houston had nine himself so he will help immensely in the pass rush. I think a full healthy season for the Colts makes them dangerous and they will be the team to beat in the AFC South.

Houston Texans (+275)

Coming off the second-best regular season in franchise history, the Houston Texans are chomping at the bit to get the 2019 campaign underway. The Texans didn’t begin the season the way they would have liked, dropping their first three games by a combined 15 points, but they went on to win 11 of the remaining 13 games to claim the AFC South title for the fifth time over the last eight years.

Similar to the Colts and Andrew Luck, Texans QB Deshaun Watson was coming off a torn ACL in 2017 and there were many question marks about how he would fare in his return. The injury didn’t set him back at all as he played all 16 games and had a completion percentage seven points higher than he posted in the seven games he played in his rookie season.

Houston let safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Kareem Jackson leave via free agency but brought in Jacksonville safety Tashaun Gipson and Denver cornerback Bradley Roby. The Texans struggled in pass defense last year, ranking 27th in yards allowed per game, so that was their main hole to fix in free agency. Overall, I think that Houston is a strong team that should finish over .500 but I think the Texans are a step behind the Colts.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+375)

Following a 2017 campaign in which the Jacksonville Jaguars returned to the AFC championship game for the first time since 1999, 2018 was back to the same ole, same ole we’ve come to expect from the Jags with a 5-11 record. They got out of the gate hot, winning three of their first four, including a home victory over the New England Patriots, but won just two of the remaining 12 games.

Jacksonville had significant issues with star running back Leonard Fournette, who was the backbone of their success just one year prior. As a rookie, Fournette amassed 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns over 13 games, but last year he battled injuries and a suspension, only suiting up for eight games and ending up with five touchdowns and just 439 yards.

Additionally, Cody Kessler and Blake Bortles were entrenched in a quarterback battle for most of the season. Neither was overly impressive, though, and the duo combined for 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

The biggest splash made by the Jags in the offseason was signing Nick Foles from the Philadelphia Eagles. Foles led the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory in 2017 and returned the team to the playoffs in 2018 after starter Carson Wentz went down again. Did Foles just come into his own in Philadelphia or was the supporting cast the reason for his success? If it was the latter, then he has a lot of work to do in Jacksonville. The Jags will have a lot of question marks heading into the season so I would be hesitant to wager on them to win the division at this point.

Tennessee Titans (+650)

The 2018 season was a typical one for the Tennessee Titans in a third straight 9-7 campaign that was littered with both winning and losing streaks. They were wildly inconsistent through the year and even game to game, limiting the New England Patriots to just 10 points one week only to give up 38 to the Indianapolis Colts in their next game.

I feel like the Titans were caught in limbo in whether they wanted to be a run-first team and what personnel would lead the charge. Before the season began, there was talk that 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry was going to be the lead bruising back while Dion Lewis would be the shifty, change-of-pace pass-catching back.

Well, this didn’t come to fruition until late in the season when Henry rushed for a combined 585 yards and seven touchdowns over the last four games. Additionally, quarterback Marcus Mariota once again dealt with injuries and was also very inconsistent through the year.

Tennessee addressed its need to bolster the offensive line by signing guard Rodger Saffold from the Rams and he will help the running attack and gives the Titans more of an identity. Meanwhile, they also picked up wide receiver Adam Humphries, who will provide a lot of help from the slot position and easy check-down passes for Mariota. I think if they get the ball to Henry early and often, they can punish and slow down opposing defenses, but I don’t think they have enough weapons to win the division.

Odds to win the 2019 AFC South
Indianapolis ColtsEVEN
Houston Texans+275
Jacksonville Jaguars+375
Tennessee Titans+650

Odds as of July 11 at Bovada