AFC South Betting Preview: There's Value on the Colts' and Titans' Win Totals
If there is ever a downtime for the NFL, this is it. Between the draft and the start of training camps, this is one of the rare stretches on the calendar when there isn't something big happening.
That doesn't mean we have to check out from the action.
FanDuel Sportsbook offers a robust futures market, including odds for each division winner as well as win total odds for every team. With rosters fairly set for most squads, now is a great time to lay some futures bets.
Let's take a look at the AFC South and see where there's betting value to be had.
Titans Under 9.5 Wins (-140)
Tennessee dealt away star receiver A.J. Brown this spring, and Treylon Burks -- the wideout the Titans took in the first round with the pick they got back for Brown -- is having a rough offseason, per reports.
But the loss of Brown isn't the main reason to be down on Tennessee this year. The Titans just weren't as good last season as their shiny 12-5 record might have you believe. Their Pythagorean expected win total was 10.3, and their +65 point differential was just 11th in the NFL, including 6th in the AFC. In short, Tennessee was fortunate to go 12-5.
The Titans will absolutely benefit from playing in one of the worst divisions in the NFL, getting four games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, but they didn't catch many breaks with the rest of their 2022 schedule.
Their intra-conference divisional matchup is the loaded AFC West -- which has three teams in the top nine in nERD -- and because Tennessee won the AFC South last year, they'll also have to play the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, the other division champs. The NFC East isn't too bad for their cross-conference division clashes, but the Titans get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their first-place foe from the NFC. Not good.
We project Tennessee to win only 8.6 games this season, and that is a big enough gap from 10 wins that I'm comfortable taking on the -140 juice. There is even room for the Titans to go over our win projection and still be under 10 wins.
There is also a teeny bit of value in taking Tennessee to miss the playoffs. That's priced at -110, which implies odds of 52.4%. We have the Titans missing the postseason 52.7% of the time.
Colts Under 9.5 Wins (+135)
With a few weeks left in the 2021 season, the Indianapolis Colts appeared to be locked into a playoff spot and were playing some good ball, beating the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals (on the road) in Weeks 15 and 16.
Things went to the crapper after that. Needing just one win over their final two games to clinch a playoff berth, Indy lost at home to the Las Vegas Raiders (somewhat forgivable) and got housed at the Jaguars (very not forgivable).
While the one-year experiment with Wentz felt a little like a circus show at times -- that pick-six against the Titans, the Week 18 Jags debacle and somehow spraining both ankles on one play -- Wentz's overall 2021 numbers were better than Ryan's. Wentz recorded 0.12 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back last year while Ryan finished with 0.06.
Maybe Matty Ice finds another gear with the move to a team that can compete for a division title, but he wasn't good last season.
As mentioned above, the AFC South gets the AFC West, which is a tough draw, although the Colts' second-place foes (Pittsburgh Steelers, Patriots and Minnesota Vikings) aren't too harsh. They also get four games against the Texans and Jags. That helps.
Indianapolis should be a solid team. We rank them 12th with a nERD of 1.61, which is their expected margin of victory against an average opponent on a neutral field. With that said, we project them to win 9.6 games -- basically right at this line.
Our numbers think this line should be priced as close to a coin-flip, but it's nowhere near that. There is -160 juice on Indy to win at least 10 games, so the value lies in taking the under at +135.