Value Positions on NFL Futures and Props - 2019 AFC South

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

We’re in the process of running through all eight NFL divisions and looking for good value opportunities in futures and prop betting markets. In this installment, we’ll examine the AFC South which is one of the most interesting—and could me one of the most evenly matched—divisions in the league.  Looking at the the NFL futures odds  at the Indianapolis Colts are a -125 favorite to win the division but if things break the right way all four teams could challenge for the AFC South crown.  At the same time, if things don’t do right all four teams could have an extremely difficult season.

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Given the talent that Jacksonville has on the defensive side of the ball and the upgrades that they’ve made on offense the ‘Over 7.5 Wins’ isn’t really asking much.  The Jags’ offense was dismal last year and yet they won five games so we just need a three win improvement to cash this ticket.  As you can see from the second bet—that the Jags will make the playoffs—we expect to see even more improvement than we need.

Jacksonville had a downright nasty defense last year and they return most of that unit intact.  The Jaguars finished ranked #5 in total defense and #4 in scoring defense despite an inept offense that kept them on the field and didn’t give them any ‘rest breaks’.  The Chicago Bears led the NFL in scoring defense giving up just 17.7 PPG.  The Jaguars weren’t far behind giving up just 19.8 PPG.  At various points last season, members of the defense expressed their displeasure at the shabby state of the offense.  They should be much happier this year and in theory at least that should help them play at an even higher level knowing that they’ll be winning more games.

The offensive side of the ball has been upgraded significantly simply by replacing the bumbling Blake Bortles with a competent veteran NFL quarterback.  Nick Foles signed on as a free agent and just his penchant for heady play will improve the Jaguars’ defense overnight.  Foles is a better decision maker, better game manager and much better at taking care of the football.  He’s also a tough competitor and a creative quarterback that has a knack for finding ways to win.

Jacksonville also got tougher on both the offensive and defensive lines thanks to a strong college draft class led by defensive end Josh Allen out of Kentucky and offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor out of Florida.  The jury is still out on Doug Marrone as a head coach but in his first year at the helm in 2017 the team improved from 3-13 to 12-7.  He’s got more to build on this time so an improvement from last year’s 5-11 is a realistic goal.


One of my longtime sports betting cronies has a great line that fits perfectly for this play.  He says that on occasion you can find strong wagering opportunities simply by ‘listening to the betting board’.  Apropos of this, the ‘team win totals’ prop bets at is telling us that the Houston Texans could very well regress this year.  Keep in mind that Houston went 11-5 last year and won the AFC South due in large part to a furious 9 game winning streak after an 0-3 start to the season. 

So the Texans won 11 games last year yet this year the linemakers have their O/U win total set three victories lower?  Not a huge vote of confidence for this team, now is it.  For one thing, you can make a good case that every other team in the division got better.  The Colts and Jaguars definitely did.  The jury is still out on Tennessee but keep in mind that this team won 9 games last year and have an underrated defense.  We raved about the Jags’ defense above but the Titans’ scoring defense was #3 in the league a full point better than Jacksonville.  Bill O’Brien has a very impressive 20-4 SU record against opponents with losing records but the problem is that based on the projections for the AFC South and improvement in the teams on the Texans’ non-divisional schedule he’s not going to play a lot of them this year.

Houston greatly benefited from a +13 turnover ratio a year ago but more than any other statistical metric in football this has a way of ‘evening out’ from season to season.  The defense lost cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and star linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is currently a holdout.  Houston’s offensive line was one of the worst in the league last year and they desperately need to do a better job protecting QB Deshaun Watson.  Texans drafted to improve the OL and on paper it looks good—they got 6’5” 322 pounds of Tytus Howard out of Alabama State and 6’6” 327 lb. Max Scharping out of Northern Illinois.  O’Brien has already charged the two with being Watson’s ‘bodyguards’ but that’s a lot to ask from a pair of rookies.  A lot can potentially go wrong for Houston this year and they’ll be hard pressed to come anywhere near last season’s win total.

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