2016-17 AFC South Odds to Win
Despite not winning the division a year ago, the Indianapolis Colts are currently favored to win the AFC South in 2016-17.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Colts are +140 to win the AFC South this upcoming season. The Houston Texans have the next-best odds at +190 while the Jacksonville Jaguars are +300 and the Tennessee Titans have the longest odds at +1000.
The Colts missed the playoffs last year due in large part to Andrew Luck suffering torn cartilage on two of his ribs earlier in the season and then going down with a lacerated kidney. After only playing in seven games, if Luck returns healthy then Indianapolis should be right back in the mix of a postseason berth. One of the biggest acquisitions the Colts made this offseason was drafting Alabama center Ryan Kelly in the first round. If he can help stabilize the protection in front of Luck, the Colts have more than enough weapons around their quarterback in receivers T.Y. Hilton, Phillip Dorsett and Donte Moncrief. Frank Gore should also have a little left in the tank as well.
The biggest threats to the favorites will be the returning AFC South champs, the Texans. Houston should once again have a top 10 defense thanks to J.J. Watt, but the Texans' playoff hopes ride on new quarterback Brock Osweiler. The team drafted Will Fuller to play opposite DeAndre Hopkins at receiver, plus running back Lamar Miller was added in free agency so Osweiler has plenty of tools around him. With a defense that helped carry Brian Hoyer to the playoffs last year, will Osweiler put the Texans over the top or will he be exposed over a full 16-game season? Time will tell.
Some view the Jaguars as a potential sleeper this year thanks to an up-and-coming offense that boasts young talent Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Chris Ivory was signed in the offseason to complement T.J. Yeldon in the backfield, plus 2015 big-money free agent Julius Thomas returns at tight end. The question is whether or not Gus Bradley can finally turn around the defense. The front office added Malik Jackson in free agency, plus drafted cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack. With the return of 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler Jr., who missed all of last season after suffering an injury in the offseason, Jacksonville has intriguing talent on both sides of the ball. Will it all come together for the Jags to make a surprise run is the question.
Finally, the Titans will be competitive thanks to second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota, plus the team traded for running back DeMarco Murray and drafted former Alabama back Derrick Henry. But will players like Dorial Green-Beckham take the preverbal next step? And after finishing in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency, do the Titans have enough on defense to surprise? It's likely that the Titans are still a year or two away from seriously competing.
2016-17 AFC South Odds to Win
Indianapolis Colts +140
Houston Texans +190
Jacksonville Jaguars +300
Tennessee Titans +1000