The Texans are slight favorites to win the AFC South title, but the dark horse Titans could be the top value play in the division.
The Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts have each won the AFC South four times over the previous eight years. The Tennessee Titans would like to change that after last winning the division title back in 2008.
All three teams figure to have a solid shot to claim the AFC South in 2017, with the Jacksonville Jaguars expected to finish dead last yet again. That said, Houston is the +175 favorite (bet $100 to win $175) to win its third straight division title at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Last season, the Texans won the AFC South with a 9–7 record for the second consecutive year, only this time it was without star defensive end J.J. Watt for most of it. Watt played only three games in 2016 due to back surgery, and the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year obviously needs to stay on the field to make an impact.
Houston’s quarterback situation will be one to watch with inexperienced veteran Tom Savage having just been named the starter over heralded rookie Deshaun Watson.
The Colts are listed as the +200 second choice to win the division, although their odds depend on how healthy starting quarterback Andrew Luck is heading into the season. Like Watt, Luck is one of the best players in the AFC South, and he is still recovering from shoulder surgery and may not be ready to start the year.
If Luck continues to miss significant time, Indianapolis probably will not be worth wagering on until he can return. The Colts start the season well back at +5000 on the odds to win Super Bowl 52.
With uncertainty for both the Texans and Colts at quarterback, the Titans might just be the best bet to win the AFC South. Marcus Mariota is entering his third season under center in Tennessee and has proven to be a solid signal-caller so far. Mariota has steadily improved and may be on the verge of becoming one of the NFL’s young stars.
The Titans are right behind Indy at +225 and could be the top value play in the division.
Finally, the Jaguars are listed at +550 and a risky pick as long as Blake Bortles is the starting quarterback. Bortles has continued to look awful this preseason, but rookie running back Leonard Fournette should be able to take some pressure off him or whoever ends up starting, giving Jacksonville at least some optimism on offense.