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2021 NFL: Early AFC South Preview

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A lot is going on over in the AFC South right now. The only team on the road to nowhere in this division is the Houston Texans. In fact, they may be on a road straight down to football hell.

After we did a quick Unibet review, we found that even the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had the worst season in franchise history last year, are more than a field goal favorite over the Terrible Texans of Houston.

So, let’s preview the AFC South by looking at the odds and probabilities.

AFC South Preview

AFC South Division Odds

The odds vary depending on where you look, but the overall consensus on odds to win the division is:

  1. Indianapolis Colts +105
  2. Tennessee Titans  +110
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars +800
  4. Houston Texans +2800

If you are unfamiliar with betting odds, the bookies set it up in risk versus reward. The more likely a team is to win—in their opinion—the more you tend to risk, and less you tend to receive in return. For example, the Colts are +105. This number means that for every 100 dollars you risk, you would potentially win 105 dollars. For the Texans who already look like they are going to have a terrible season, a 100 dollar bet would net you $2800, should they manage to win the division.

Now, as far as the implied probability is concerned, +105 can be looked at as 1/1.05, very close to 1 to 1 odds. So, the Colts have an implied probability of 48.7805% to win the AFC South at this price. The Tennessee Titans have a probability of 47.619%, the Jacksonville Jaguars 11.1111%, and lastly the Houston Texans 3.4483%. But really, with the Texans, that number should be reversed, and you should think of them along the lines of a 96.5517% chance of not winning the division. 

But why are the Texans getting no love? 

Well, they lost JJ Watt, Duke Johnson, Nick Martin, and their relationship with Deshaun Watson is tenuous at best. 

Meanwhile, over in Jacksonville, the Jags hired Urban Meyer to reorganize the offense and breath some life into the franchise with his winning ways. They drafted the most highly touted high school prospect ever and Clemson’s most winningest QB in school history, in Trevor Lawrence. They are making move after move to rebuild their team into a place full of ‘winners’. 

The Indianapolis Colts picked up Carson Wentz and still have a nasty defense. Although I’m not entirely sold on Wentz as a top-tier QB nowadays, he does fit the bill for their offensive style, plus he has some genuinely explosive offensive weapons around him. 

As far as the Titans are concerned, I believe they will actually win the AFC South. They just nabbed Julio Jones. So, now Ryan Tannehill, who has thrived under Mike Vrabel, and Arthur Smith, now has Todd Downing as his OC and Julio Jones, A.J Brown, Josh Reynolds, Anthony Firkser, and Derrick Henry as weapons. 

The Tennessee Titans are going to match up well against the best teams in the league. It will come down to the Colts and the Titans in the AFC South. I think the two teams will split head-to-head wins this year, as division rivalries are always tough. But in the grand scheme of things and overall NFL landscape, I believe the Titans are the best team in AFC South this year. 

Their biggest shortcoming last season was their 24th ranked defense. If they play better on that side of the ball, they should take the AFC South by storm. That said, the Colts finished last season with a defense just outside of the top 10, so they won’t make it easy on the Titans.

Even so, the Tennessee Titans finished just above the Indi Colts on ESPN’s FPI. The Titans’ offense was so much better than the Colts that Indianapolis’ superior defense was nullified. This year, the Titans’ offense is going to be even better. Sportsbooks even have these two teams neck and neck with season wins, giving the Colts an OVER/UNDER of 10 games and the Titans an OVER/UNDER of 9.5. 

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Mathias is a graduate student at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. He is currently studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism on the Sports Media and Communications track. He graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2021, where he studied journalism and served as the Sports Editor and Opinions Editor for the school's newspaper, The Signal. He joined Overtime Heroics as a writer in June of 2019 and became an editor in December of 2020 before taking over the MLB department in June of 2021. Mathias is also a former varsity swimmer and is the youngest of five kids.