2021 AFC South Odds: 17-Game Schedule Notes And Analysis

Written By Josh Lander on May 23, 2021
2021 AFC South odds

2021 AFC South odds show a likely two-horse race to win the division this season, as the Jaguars and Texans are projected to have high draft picks again in 2022. Considering Houston is clearly rebuilding and will have its own first-round pick in next year’s draft for the first time since 2019, that’s not a terrible thing.

The Colts and Titans, however, will both be eyeing a return to the postseason, despite neither squad doing much to boost its roster outside of the Colts trading for Eagles QB Carson Wentz.

Let’s see how each team’s preseason odds to win the division stack up across sportsbooks.

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2021 AFC South Odds

2021 AFC South Odds

Wentz has shown an obvious decline since his stellar 2017 season, but his arrival in Indy still has the Colts favored to take the division. Tennessee didn’t do enough in free agency to make up for key departures on both sides of the ball, but neither did Indy. The Titans still start Derrick Henry at RB and sit just behind the Colts in the odds.

For perspective, +100 odds on the Colts carry an implied probability of 50% to win the divison, and +120 odds equals a 45.5% implied chance for the Titans.

Following one of the worst seasons a team could have, the Texans have fallen the furthest since a year ago when they were valued at +200 to take the AFC South. Thanks to Houston’s rapid and volatile decline, the Jaguars find themselves as short as +700 odds to take the AFC South with a shiny new toy at QB to boot. The best price available for Jacksonville is .

Let’s check the schedules.

17-Game Scheduling Notes

It’ll be the NFC West and AFC East teams on the schedule in 2021, with the former posing the most complete division from top to bottom. Still, the current strength of schedules for each team are weak, affording the Colts the alleged easiest path with a strength of schedule ranked eighth easiest. This is to be expected with a division claiming two of the worst teams in the league, and the Texans are probably going to be even worse this year.

Each team’s 17th game on the schedule this year will be at home against an NFC South opponent, a division that’s slightly weaker than the juggernaut it was a season ago.

  • Colts vs. Buccaneers
  • Texans vs. Panthers
  • Jaguars vs. Falcons
  • Titans vs. Saints

AFC South Team Breakdowns

Indianapolis Colts

Indy may have the eighth-easiest strength of schedule, but let’s pencil them in for a much tougher ride than that. Four of their first five games are against 2020 playoff teams (Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Ravens). You can add the 49ers, Buccaneers, Patriots, and Bills to the list of their remaining opponents who will give them a tough time. Of course, playing the Jags and Texans twice each will always help your record at season’s end.

If Caron Wentz can muster up some of that accuracy and confidence he showed when we all thought he was about to claim his spot as a top-five QB, the Colts could be in for a long ride deep into the playoffs. He’ll have the recently re-signed T.Y. Hilton to throw to in addition to the emerging Michael Pittman Jr. Considering their roster is much more complete than Tennessee’s, especially on defense, Frank Reich may not even need Wentz to shine that brightly for his bunch to claim the South. A strong offensive line and budding backfield star in Jonathan Taylor could help the cause.

2021 Indianapolis Colts Betting Guide

Tennessee Titans

If the Titans plan on repeating as division champs, they’ll have to hope their new arrivals can fill some pretty productive shoes. Wide receivers Adam Humphries and Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith all took off in free agency, leaving behind 192 receptions combined. Potentially even more impactful, highly-respected offensive coordinator Arthur Smith took the head coaching job in Atlanta.

As mentioned, Tennessee still starts back-to-back rushing champ Derrick ‘King’ Henry in their backfield, though. Meaning if they can assert their will in a game early, they’ll always have a chance against any team in the league. They’ll also welcome back stud receiver A.J. Brown, who went for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons in the league and showed a significant leap in ability and production his sophomore year.

If you think the Titans’ players contributed to the team’s success the last two seasons just as much as the recently-departed Arthur Smith did, you might feel confident in their ability to repeat as AFC South champs. Otherwise, doesn’t seem worth it for a team that lost a lot on offense and almost its entire starting defensive backfield.

2021 Tennessee Titans Betting Guide

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Urban Meyer-Trevor Lawrence era in Jacksonville kicks off with a handful of cupcake defenses. In the first six weeks, their only opponent with a defense that ranked in the top half of the league last season will be the Cardinals. The Jags themselves are returning the second-worst defense in the league from a season ago so wins aren’t necessarily the expectation in year one of the franchise’s rebuild.

Rebuild or not, the Jags brought in a bounty of free agents this offseason, including veteran receiver and red zone weapon Marvin Jones. Jones provides Lawrence with a quick, reliable receiver unafraid of using all parts of the field. They also beefed up their interior defensive line and added Shaquille Griffin to their secondary. A wager on the Jags at is basically a wager on both the Colts and Titans suffering devastating injuries to key players. Of course it could always be worse. You could be the Texans.

2021 Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Guide

Houston Texans

After a tumultuous offseason of in-house arguing and media leaks, Deshaun Watson’s future with the team is still a mystery — for now. The same can’t be said for the future of the team overall, however, especially after two straight seasons without a single first-round draft pick. The front office tried to compensate for its lack of draft capital with a ton of free-agent signings all over the field, most of whom should see a lot of time this season. That means a total lack of familiarity with teammates and coaches throughout the roster.

If Houston was hoping they might catch a break from schedule-makers, they will be hugely disappointed. The Texans start things off against the Jags and then seven of their next 10 games are against 2020 playoff teams. The other three teams won’t be a walk in the park either – the Cardinals, Patriots and Panthers should all be formidable this season.

It could get ugly fast in Houston.

2021 Houston Texans Betting Guide

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