AFC South Betting Breakdown: Titans Undervalued - Prediction Machine

AFC South Betting Breakdown: Titans Undervalued

AFC South Betting Breakdown

AFC South Betting Preview

The AFC is loaded with quality teams that could make wild card seeding a log jam, so it’s hard to imagine more than one team from the AFC South making the playoffs. Hence, there’s a lot more value betting AFC South teams to win the division than betting them to make the playoffs

For instance, if you like the Jaguars (as many people seem to) then I recommend the -160 bet to win the division more than the -210 to make the playoffs because if they don’t win the division, I don’t think their effort in that weak division is enough to beat out potential Wild Card teams like the Chargers, Ravens, Dolphins, Jets, etc. In other words, at -210, you’d essentially be playing an extra 50 cents for a backup plan not likely to come to fruition.

The team in this division that stands out the most to me as having preseason value is the Tennessee Titans. I view Tennessee and Jacksonville as very comparable teams who should have similar numbers in the futures market, but instead the Titans are being undervalued and the Jaguars are being overvalued — I have a theory as to why. Tennessee lost its final seven regular season games, while Jacksonville won its last five to finish the season and I think there’s some recency bias in the market from how these teams finished 2022.

A team’s finish the prior season is a great data point, but in this case I think it’s dirty data. The Titans, who started 6-2 last season, had injuries at QB leading to Josh Dobbs and Malik Willis taking snaps down the stretch. Despite a massive deficiency at the most important position, the Titans were still competitive including in their final game when Jacksonville needed a fumble return for TD to win.

Mike Vrabel is a fantastic in-game coach and always seems to get the most out of bland rosters. I have a bet on the Titans +375 to win the division and over 7.5 total wins.

Team Win Division Win Total Make Playoffs Miss Playoffs
Jacksonville Jaguars -160 9.5 -210 +170
Tennessee Titans +375 7.5 +280 -370
Indianapolis Colts +525 6.5 +360 -500
Houston Texans +800 5.5 +550 -850

The Jaguars’ late-season magic was a bit of a mirage. Jacksonville’s five game winning streak included an OT win (vs. Dallas), 2 wins vs. the banged up Titans, a win vs. Houston and another vs. the Jets. While I understand the excitement about Trevor Lawrence (and Calvin Ridley) and a team that is clearly improving, I’m not as optimistic about the Jags as most experts.

My main concern with the Jaguars is their offensive line. Jacksonville doesn’t have a guard or tackle that had a PFF ranking better than 43rd last season and their center Luke Fortner, a 3rd round pick last season, graded out as the 34th best center (out of 36). This is a unit with little depth that can’t afford injuries. I haven’t bet any Jaguars futures, but I lean toward the under 9.5 season win total.

While my expectations for the Colts are low, there is a path for them to stun us all and win the division. If their once dominant offensive line plays to their potential (they didn’t last season), Jonathan Taylor doesn’t get hurt (he did last season), and if QB Anthony Richardson is the real deal and ready quicker than expected. That’s a lot of “If’s” but cue the Lloyd Christmas “So you’re telling me there’s a chance” gifs and memes.

The Texans have combined to win just 11 games in the last three seasons and are expected to continue rebuilding this season. Even with a soft schedule, it’s difficult to imagine them making noise in the AFC South with so much youth at QB. With one of the best tackle tandems in the league (Laremy Tunsil & Tytus Howard), the Texans added guard Shaq Mason in free agency (Tampa Bay) and pass rusher Will Anderson was drafted (No. 3 overall) to re-shape the defense. 


Betting on non-QBs in the MVP market is often akin to burning money, so the only legit candidate in the division is Trevor Lawrence. There’s no doubt Lawrence has the potential to be a league MVP one day, but the hype train has the number at +1800 which is too steep of a price for a guy who will be playing behind a questionable offensive line.

Player Odds
Trevor Lawrence - QB, JAX +1800
Ryan Tannehill - QB, TEN +10000
Jonathan Taylor - RB, IND +10000


Ridley is a sneaky player in this market after his year-long suspension. If the Jaguars are close or trailing in a lot of games he’ll get an opportunity to pad his stats with a solid QB and remove the chip on his shoulder from bad press he’s been getting for the last year. Remember Ridley had 1,374 yards and 9 TDs in his last full season (2020) in Atlanta.

The numbers on Henry and Taylor will likely get some bites from Colts and Titans fans, but I don’t have enough conviction to pull the trigger at that value.

Player Odds
Jonathan Taylor - RB, IND +2000
Derrick Henry - RB, TEN +2800
Trevor Lawrence - WB, JAX +4000
Travis Etienne - RB, JAX +5000
Calvin Ridley - WR, JAX +8000
Dameon Pierce - RB, HOU +10000


At first glance, it’s interesting that Richardson has shorter odds than Stroud since Richardson is viewed as more of a project who needs time to incubate. Both QBs are playing behind veteran placeholder QBs, but Stroud seems to have an easier path to starting right away. Because this is such a strong offensive draft class with guys like Bijan Robinson, a handful of good receivers and other QBs who could steal the show, I’m sitting this one out.

Player Odds
Anthony Richardson - QB, IND +550
CJ Stroud - QB, HOU +800
Will Levis - QB, TEN +2500
Tyjae Spears - RB, TEN +3300
Josh Downs - WR, IND +4000
Tank Bigsby - RB, JAX +4000


Vrabel won this award in 2021 after leading the Titans to a 12-5 record so the +3300 odds are probably the most appealing on this board. However, as much as I like the Titans to potentially surprise people and win this division, I don’t think Vrabel has the Cinderella storylines needed to win this award even with a strong season. It would probably take a Ryan Tannehill injury and a Will Levis playoff run to make Vrabel viable in this market.

Coach Odds
Demeco Ryans - HOU +1600
Shane Steichen - IND +2000
Doug Pederson - JAX +2000
Mike Vrabel - TEN +3300