NFL Handicapping: The AFC South
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2020 NFL Handicapping Insight – Divisional Futures
The AFC South will be an interesting division again this year. The Texans come in as defending champions, but the Titans were one of only four teams standing during the 2019 Conference Championship games. Meanwhile, the Colts have silently emerged as the divisional favorite after the acquisition of Philip Rivers.
This is shaping up to be a three-team race in 2020, so let’s dive in and figure out the best bet for this division.
2020 AFC South Predictions: Indianapolis Colts
Colts Odds to Win 2021 Super Bowl: +2800
Colts Odds to Win AFC Conference: +1800
Colts Odds to Win AFC South Division: +150
The Colts are a very intriguing team going into 2020. They have a great front office, an excellent head coach, and an offensive line that might be the best in the league (ranked third by PFF following the 2019 regular season).
Which explains why their rushing game was so good last season. Behind Marlon Mack, the Colts finished 7th in total rush yards in 2019, with Mack picking up 1100 yards and 8 touchdowns.
The Colts identity is fixated on interior domination. I.e., win on the line of scrimmage. They coupled their top-10 rush offense with a top-10 rush defense.
However, they finished 7-9. For two reasons: A garbage secondary and a garbage passing attack.
Indianapolis finished 23rd in passing yards allowed, and teams completed a whopping 70% of their passes against the Colts defense. They did manage to pick up Xavier Rhodes during the offseason, which will definitely help that secondary. They coupled that acquisition with a trade for Deforest Buckner, which will make them more dominant on the line.
Replacing Jacoby Brissett with Philip Rivers sounds good, in theory. In reality, I’m of the opinion it’s not that big of an upgrade.
Brissett completed 60% of his passes for 3000 yards, 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while adding 300 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Meanwhile, Rivers completed 66% of his passes for 4600 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions while adding nothing on the ground.
The idea that the Colts, a team whose identity is based upon the interior ground game (on both sides of the ball), would suddenly become a divisional favorite because of this quarterback switch seems off to me.
2020 AFC South Predictions: Tennessee Titans
Titans Odds to Win 2021 Super Bowl: +3000
Titans Odds to Win AFC Conference: +1800
Titans Odds to Win AFC South Division: +175
I love the Titans this year.
Tennessee was 9th in overall DVOA in 2019, finishing sixth in offensive DVOA. Wherein, they had the number-one PFF graded quarterback in Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry, who ran for a casual 1500 yards on 5.1 YPC while adding 16 touchdowns in 2019. The Titans ended up with the third most rushing yards in the league last season.
The 2019 Titans had an average defense, where they finished 12th in total yards allowed and 16th in defensive DVOA. However, that defense played very well in the playoffs last year, and just signed Vic Beasley and Nick Dzubnar.
Meanwhile, the Titans haven’t lost anyone of extreme importance.
HC Mike Vrabel looks to be very legitimate, and I believe the Titans future looks very bright.
2020 AFC South Predictions: Predictions: Houston Texans
Texans Odds to Win 2021 Super Bowl: +5000
Texans Odds to Win AFC Conference: +2200
Texans Odds to Win AFC South Division: +250
Everybody in the world is ripping on Bill O’Brien for the decision to trade DeAndre Hopkins.
Given the Texans have Will Fuller and just acquired Brandin Cooks, I don’t think it’s the biggest of issues. Trading him for David Johnson, however, was a very bad move. DJ got benched for Kenyon Drake last season.
The real problem the Texans have, and have yet to address, is one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Deshaun Watson is an incredible quarterback, but even he cannot overcome how pathetic the line is. PFF had them ranked at 20th in the league following the 2019 regular season, and they have done nothing to address that glaring hole.
Their defense kind of sucks, too. 19th in total yards allowed and 26th in DVOA. They did sign Bradley Roby, who is a good cornerback, but it will not leapfrog them to the top of the conference.
2020 AFC South Predictions: Predictions: Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars Odds to Win 2021 Super Bowl: +15000
Jaguars Odds to Win AFC Conference: +4500
Jaguars Odds to Win AFC South Division: +1400
I honestly don’t even know why i’m writing any sentences right now. Jacksonville would be lucky to win four games, much less a division as talented as this one.
Pretty sad, too. Just a few years removed from a fourth-quarter lead, against the Patriots in Foxborough, in the AFC Championship game. Bad things happen when you cut Blake Bortles.
Cappers Picks 2020 AFC South Predictions
The only team on this list I didn’t rip on was the Tennessee Titans.
I think that the Colts acquisition of Rivers makes for a ripe opportunity to snatch the Titans at a good price. The Colts will not be significantly better with Rivers under center than they were with Brissett, but the Titans are on the upswing and they will be significantly better with Tannehill starting a 16-game season.
Deshaun Watson will carry his Houston team to a winning record. But, given their issues on the offensive line and the defense, they are not as good of a team as the Titans are.
This is a great spot to take the Titans at plus-money, and I actually think they are a lock for the AFC South divisional title this year.
2020 AFC South Free Betting Pick — Tennessee Titans +175
Futures Odds to win all 8 divisions for the 2020 NFL season.
- 2020 NFC West Betting Odds
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- 2020 NFC South Betting Odds
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- 2020 AFC West Betting Odds
- 2020 AFC East Betting Odds
- 2020 AFC North Betting Odds
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