In his short career, Andrew Luck has been as good or better as advertised and now the Colts are favorites to win the AFC South again. However, they aren’t as big a favorite as you might have thought considering Houston’s collapse last year and the bumbling Titans and Jaguars.
Odds to win AFC South
Indianapolis Colts -152
Houston Texans +260
Tennessee Titans +450
Jacksonville Jaguars +1500
Indianapolis Colts season win total over/under: 9.5 (over -101)
The Colts should run away with this division and it wouldn’t have been all that surprising to see their division odds around -250, so this is a good bet. They’re much healthier than they were last year and really, their defence couldn’t have gotten much worse. Defensive lineman Arthur Jones and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson are significant upgrades. Then there’s Andrew Luck. He’s essentially put this team on his back since he got here and there’s no reason to think he won’t do it again. Even if the running game improves slightly, that’ll be a big help to Luck.
Prediction: 10-6, first place in the AFC South. Look for the Colts to hang tough with Denver in Week 1 and roll from there. There may be more value betting the under in Colts game than last year with Indy’s improved defence.
Houston Texans season win total over/under: 7.5 (over -159)
Well, on the bright side, it can’t get much worse for the Texans than their 2-14 debacle last year. Houston took Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick and he looks like he’ll contribute immediately to a defence that will be led by new coordinator Romeo Crennel, while Bill O’Brien will oversee the team after coming on as head coach. There are still lots of question marks on this team – Arian Foster’s health, Andre Johnson’s age – but the biggest of the lot is at quarterback where Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter. The best thing about Fitzpatrick is his beard. If Foster gets banged up and the Texans have to throw it around, cover your eyes.
Prediction: 8-8, second place in the AFC South. Fitzpatrick may hold this team back. Watch for the defence to return to form.
Tennessee Titans season win total over/under: 7.5 (under -161)
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has his work cut out for him. Last year the Titans managed to win seven games but kit seems like this team has some growing pains in front of it yet. Jake Locker is in a contract year and needs to show he can be a dependable NFL quarterback and his support system is questionable. Rookie Bishop Sankey will likely be the No. 1 running back and second-year wideout Justin Hunter will have a big role also. Both are good prospects but the Titans are putting a lot on their plates. It’s not that Tennessee doesn’t have some talent. The problem is a lack of depth. This could be an 8-8 team if healthy or a 4-12 if the injury bug hits hard.
Prediction: 6-10, third place in the AFC South. The combination of a new coach and very limited depth at the skill positions is cause for concern. Betting Tennessee when favored is risky business.
Jacksonville Jaguars season win total over/under: 4.5 (over -194)
It’s clear that rookie quarterback Blake Bortles is the future for the Jags, but when they decide the future is now? As of now, Chad Henne is the starter and Bortles is the understudy and that’s probably a good thing for the kid’s development. That said, it’s awfully tempting to put Bortles in there. The Jags have a strong nucleus on defence that should keep them in a lot of games and Toby Gerhart is a running back that can kill the clock in the second half. Things are looking up for the Jaguars.
Prediction: 6-10, third place (tie) in the AFC South. Really like the look of Jacksonville’s defence. The Jags could be a strong against the spread team covering fat lines.