The AFC South Division was clearly split in two parts last season: The haves, which were the 11-win Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, and have-nots, which were the four-win Houston Texans and one-win Jacksonville Jaguars. Bettors at William Hill Sportsbook are destroying Under 4.5 wins for Houston this year but wagering Over 6 wins on Trevor Lawrence, Urban Meyer and the Jags. The AFC South is the lone division with two teams that have a win total of Under 7. On the flip side, the Titans are taking a massive Over lean since a certain trade.
Only two years ago, the Texans won a division, a wild-card playoff game and were up 24-0 in Kansas City in a divisional round matchup. Not much has gone right since, and of course it all starts with QB Deshaun Watson, the 2020 NFL passing yardage champion. There seems to be zero chance he plays this year with all the off-field issues and less-than-zero that he plays for Houston ever again. Expect Watson to land on the Commissioner's Exempt list any day now.
Most agree the Texans – who didn't have a first- or second-round draft pick this year – now have the worst roster in the NFL thanks to the Watson issues and awful trades/contracts courtesy of former Coach/GM Bill O'Brien. The front office and coaching staff are both new. Journeyman Tyrod Taylor likely will be the Week 1 starting QB; how little is expected from the Texans? They are currently +2.5 at home Week 1 against a Jags team on a 15-game skid.
William Hill opened the Texans with an Over/Under of 5.0 wins, but so much Under action has dropped it to 4.5 and the Under is still a -160 favorite. A whopping 90 percent of all money wagered is on the Under – highest percentage of any team in the league -- and 62 percent of all tickets sold.
"We're very high on Texans Under," said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. "They've been one of the top Under bets, definitely top 3 in terms of handle. We moved it off of 5, and they're still betting Under at 4.5. Obviously the Texans are a mess—new coach, potentially new quarterback, no J.J. Watt. So who knows how low this number reaches."
Jacksonville upset Indianapolis in Week 1 last year and then didn't win again, but at least it earned the Jaguars the chance to draft Lawrence, the +280 favorite to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The lure of Lawrence also lured Meyer out of retirement. A total of 72 percent of all money wagered on the Jags' total is on the Over 6 as well as 56 percent of tickets sold.
"We're a little high on Jaguars Over," Bogdanovich said. "I think this is the most interesting team in the league this season. I'm excited to see how the combination of the No. 1 pick and new head coach works out. But their record was so bad last year, you're asking for a lot of improvement to take that big of a leap. Lawrence is obviously the big question. If he meets the hype, I think they'll sail Over 6."
Clearly, the division will be a two-team race between the Titans and Colts again – both are +110 to win it. Tennessee won the tiebreaker in 2021. With the addition of QB Carson Wentz, Indy has an Over/Under of 10 wins and is taking a split: 63 percent of tickets on the Over and 55 percent of money on the Under.
"Professionals are on this Under and the public is on the Over," Bogdanovich said. "We've gotten good two-way action on this number, so they think we got this one right. Wentz was running for his life the last two years in Philly, so I'm not sure how fair of an indicator it was of his skill level. I think a change of scenery will do him good. He hit the lottery ending up in Indy, it's just whether he still has anything left."
With the addition of future Hall of Fame WR Julio Jones, Tennessee is set at Over/Under 9.5 wins. A total of 88 percent of tickets sold is on the Over as is 58 percent of the money. Since the Jones trade, though, the Over has brought in 96 percent of the tickets and 94 percent of the money. No team has been hit harder on the Over since the Jones trade.
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