Titans Favored in Opening Odds to Win AFC South in 2021 NFL Season – Are They the Best Bet?

AFC South

FILE – In this Dec. 20, 2020, file photo, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) carries ball against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn. Henry as named The Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the NFL Honors. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen, File)
  • Tennessee Titans, coming off an 11-5 season, open as -150 favorites to win the AFC South Division in 2021
  • Indianapolis Colts (+125) could move into the favorite role if they acquire a quality quarterback
  • Read the story below for divisional odds and analysis as the NFL enters the offseason

The Tennessee Titans are the early -150 favorites to win the AFC South’s NFL divisional odds next season, but their favorite status could be temporary.

The Indianapolis Colts and Titans were both 11-5 last season, including 1-1 against each other. The Colts, perhaps on the basis of a strong defense, were the preseason AFC South favorites last season.

The Colts’ +130 odds today reflects the reality that last season’s starting quarterback Philip Rivers has retired. Once the Colts settle on a replacement those odds will undoubtedly change, maybe significantly. If they land a higher profile quarterback, they could change places with Tennessee.

2021 AFC South Odds

Team Odds
Tennessee Titans -150
Indianapolis Colts +130
Houston Texans +1000
Jacksonville Jaguars +1600

Odds as of Feb.10 at FanDuel

Colts’ Potential Hinges on QB Acquisition

The Colts’ defense ranked eighth overall last season, according to Pro Football Reference. Their offensive line is strong. Indy’s collection of running backs and receivers is noteworthy.

But bettors won’t embrace this team until they know the identity of Philips’ replacement.

After missing out on Matthew Stafford, the Colts are reportedly looking at trading for Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz. The Colts have also been linked to free agents Mitch Trubisky, Cam Newton or Ryan Fitzpatrick, or maybe a trade for Matt Ryan or Derek Carr.

The Colts draft 21st, meaning they aren’t going to find a QB that will be NFL-ready any time soon.

Titans Are a Flawed Favorite

Thanks to Derrick Henry’s NFL-leading 2,027 yards rushing, plus quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s impressive season, the Titans had the NFL’s No. 11-ranked offense last season, according to lineups.com.

But the Titans were often disastrous on defense: the Titans’ defense ranked 24th in points allowed, 28th in overall yards allowed (19th vs run, 29th vs pass), and dead last in both sacks per pass attempt (3.02 percent) and third-down defense. Those are not the kind of defensive notations that you read about a division favorite.

Not surprisingly, the Titans are looking to improve their defense during this offseason.

Watson’s Trade Request Creates Uncertainty

The resignation of Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes Wednesday is symbolic of the cloud of uncertainty hanging this team.

Talented quarterback DeShaun Watson was reported to be unhappy with the team’s management and wants out. Reports say Watson wanted a say in the hiring of a GM and coach. That didn’t happen. The Texans hired a new general manager (Nick Caserio) and a new coach (David Culley) and now they might end up with a new quarterback.

If Watson is moved, this won’t be a step forward. It will be the acceptance that the team is starting over. The Texans were 4-12 last season. It’s difficult to remember that they qualified for the playoffs four of the previous five seasons.

2021 Australian Open Odds Tracker

Meyer Faces Tough Road in Jacksonville

Urban Meyer is a quality football coach, but he isn’t going to transform the Jaguars into a contender immediately.

Trevor Lawrence may be able to step into the starting quarterback role and put up numbers as impressive as those generated by Joe Burrow last season. But let’s not forget that the Bengals, despite the arrival of Burrow , were still 4-11-1 last season.

The Jaguars ranked 29th offensively and 31st defensively last season. This is a franchise that has won more than eight games in a season only once in the last 13 seasons. If you want to bet a long shot, don’t make it the Jaguars to win the AFC South.

Best Bet is Team With Best Talent

If you believe the Colts will land a QB, it’s hard not to believe they will win the division. The Colts are a skillful and improving team. Jonathan Taylor should be a 1,000-yard rusher next season. There’s no reason to believe the Colts won’t be a top 10 defensive team again next season. When it comes to giving up yardage, the Titans, Texans and Jaguars were all ranked in the bottom five last season. They aren’t suddenly going to become a strong defensive team.

Pick: Colts (+130)

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