AFC South Odds 2018 – Previews & Betting Analysis

jacksonville-jaguars-defenseThe AFC South had been the league’s worst division for a few years running. But they’ll be one of the tougher divisions in 2018.

The Jacksonville Jaguars look like the best team again. But Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans should push them for the South title.

The Tennessee Titans could be a dark-horse pick to take the division crown. Of course, much of this will depend upon Marcus Mariota living up to his potential.

Andrew Luck returns for the Indianapolis Colts after not playing since 2016. This is likely a year to work himself back into shape, because the Colts don’t look overly competitive.

You can check out the odds on each of these teams below along with analysis on how they figure to do this season.

2018 Team Odds on Winning AFC South

Here are the GTBets odds on each AFC South team. Note that these odds are subject to change and may be removed and added leading up to the regular season:

  • Houston +200
  • Indianapolis +450
  • Jacksonville +160
  • Tennessee +390

2018 AFC South Team Previews

Jacksonville Jaguars (+160)

blake-bortles-jaguarsJacksonville’s offense had a very good season under offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. He utilizes a run-heavy approach that features Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon. Fournette has All-Pro potential when healthy, while Yeldon is one of the league’s best backup tailbacks.

The team’s offensive fortunes will rest on how QB Blake Bortles performs. He had his best season in 2017, but has been unpredictable throughout most of his career.

The Jaguars’ defense will once again be the strength of this team. They held opposing QB’s to a league-low 68.5 rating.

Defensive linemen Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, Dante Fowler, and Yannick Ngakoue are a big reason for this, because they combined for 42.5 sacks. Jacksonville also features the league’s best cornerback duo in A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey.

Jacksonville has a much tougher task this year since they face seven 2017 playoff teams. However, their defense and running game are good enough to help them to earn another playoff bid, if not a second straight division title.

Houston Texans (+200)

deshaun-watson-texansCoach Bill O’Brien quickly became a believer in QB Deshaun Watson and changed the offense to meet his strengths. Unfortunately, Watson tore his ACL and missed the latter part of the season.

The Clemson product is back once again, though, and looking to pick up where he left off. WR DeAndre Hopkins continues to be among the best at his position. However, the Texans don’t have much else to work with at the skill positions.

Houston’s defense gave up an NFL-worst 27 PPG last season. Much of this can be blamed on injuries, with both LB Whitney Mercilus and DE J.J. Watt missing 11 games. As long as they return healthy, then DE Jadeveon Clowney won’t be constantly double-teamed.

The pass rush must work, because the secondary isn’t very good. But signing former Arizona safety Tyrann Mathieu will provide an upgrade in the secondary.

The Texans look like a definite AFC South contender as long as they stay healthy. However, they can’t do it if Watt, Mercilus, and Watson get injured again.

Tennessee Titans (+390)

marcus-mariotaQB Marcus Martiota regressed in 2017. Tennessee responded by bringing in Matt LaFleur as the new offensive coordinator. LaFleur should be up to the task of improving Mariota after working under offensive stalwarts Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay.

The Titans have a good offensive line and run game. Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis will be a powerful 1-2 combo at tailback.

Tennessee also has a new defensive coordinator in Dean Pees, who manned the same position for Baltimore the past six years. He’ll guide a unit led by DT Jurrell Casey, CB Malcom Butler, CB Logan Ryan, CB Adorre Jackson, and S Kevin Byard.

Overall, the Titans have good pieces to work with on offense and defense. However, they may be valued a bit high at +390. Too much is riding on whether Mariota can finally be the player this franchise has expected.

Indianapolis Colts (+450)

andrew-luckThe Colts have wisely placed more value on keeping Andrew Luck healthy. They signed former San Diego G Matt Slauson and drafted G Quenton Nelson sixth overall.

However, the team failed to bolster a receiving corp that offers little beyond T.Y. Hilton. They may rely more on the run game more than at any point in Luck’s tenure. Promising young players Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins are the top tailbacks.

New defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is walking into an impossible situation based on the lack of talent. He’s hoping that his 4-3, zone-based scheme can make up for the team’s deficiencies, although it’s unlikely.

Safety Malik Hooker and defensive end Jabaal Sheard will do what they can to anchor a defense that ranked 30th in both points and yardage allowed.

Former GM Ryan Grigson did a terrible job of constructing this roster. And that will haunt them going into 2018.

Luck is an elite quarterback when healthy, which should net the team a few wins. But don’t look for Indy to be anywhere close to the top of the division.

AFC North Odds 2018 – Previews & Betting Analysis

leveon-bell-vs-new-englandThe Pittsburgh Steelers come in as the division favorites once again. Their loaded offense looks to keep them on top of the AFC North.

The Baltimore Ravens came within less than a minute of earning a Wild Card spot. They’ve since retooled their offense in hopes of earning a postseason bid.

After spoiling the Ravens’ season in Week 17, the Cincinnati Bengals hope to return to playoff form. However, they need to reverse a losing trend that’s lasted for two seasons.

Nobody in the division has more young talent than the Cleveland Browns. But will they finally be able to turn this talent into a winning season?

You can see the odds on each AFC North team below along with their season outlooks.

2018 Odds on Winning AFC North

Here are the GTBets odds for all four teams in the division. Note that these odds are available on and off leading up to the regular season:

  • Baltimore +385
  • Cincinnati +1000
  • Cleveland +1000
  • Pittsburgh -250

2018 AFC North Team Previews

Pittsburgh Steelers (-250)

antonio-brown-steelersBen Roethlisberger is talking more about retirement in recent years. But he still has the arm strength to make fast, short throws mixed with downfield passes.

He’ll once again benefit from having Antonio Brown, the league’s top receiver. JuJu Smith-Schuster, who had a very good rookie campaign, will serve as a nice complement to Brown.

Running back Le’Veon Bell is yet another option in the passing game. He exercises a patient run style and will benefit from the Steelers’ elite offensive line.

Pittsburgh suffered a huge loss with Ryan Shazier’s horrific back injury last season. The results showed as they frequently gave up both big runs and passes.

However, they also led the league with 56 sacks last season, including 12 by Cam Heyward. The team also brought in safety Morgan Burnett and first-round pick Terrell Edmunds to help with the secondary. Pittsburgh’s young linebacking core won’t be able to make up for the loss of Shazier, but they should improve in 2018.

It’s almost impossible to see anybody but the Steelers winning the division. They have a realistic chance of starting 10-0 and should definitely match last season’s win total of 12. How far they go in the playoffs all depends upon how the defense rounds into form.

Baltimore Ravens (+385)

joe-flaccoJoe Flacco has yet to recapture the magic he had during Baltimore’s 2013 Super Bowl title run. But the Ravens’ aren’t ready to go away from him yet and upgraded the receiving corp to help Flacco.

New receiving additions include Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and John Brown. Tight ends Mark Andress and Hayden Hurtst will also provide decent targets.

The run game looks strong after Alex Collins emerged as a true starting back. Kenneth Dixon could also figure into the mix after missing last year with a knee injury.

Baltimore has pieces of a good defense, including linebacker Terrell Suggs and a strong secondary. They also forced a league-high 34 turnovers in 2017.

The main cause for worry, though, is that the Ravens will face a much better crop of quarterbacks outside their division. Should-be-backups like Brett Hundley, Matt Moore, Tom Savage, and E.J. Manuel have been replaced by the likes of Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton.

Baltimore benefited from a favorable schedule last year and lucky bounces in the turnover department. It’s hard to see them matching last season’s win total, especially if they fail to sweep the Browns and Bengals.

Cincinnati Bengals (+1000)

aj-green-footballCincinnati had a terrible offensive start last season and fired coordinator Ken Zampese after just two games. But much of these problems can also be blamed on a weak offensive line.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Bengals upgraded in this area by drafting C Billy Price with their first pick and adding former Buffalo tackle Cordy Glenn.

The Bengals’ skilled players should shine as long as the offensive line holds up. A.J. Green is still one of the league’s best receivers, while running back Joe Mixon claimed the starting job in his rookie season. The team will also benefit from receiver John Ross actually getting a chance to play after being hurt throughout 2017.

Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap form an excellent pass-rushing duo for Cincy. The two have combined for over 60 career sacks.

LB Vontaze Burfict is another productive member of this defense when healthy. The Bengals have also added Preston Brown to the linebacking corp.

Darqueze Dennard, Dre Kilpatrick, and William Jackson form a very good secondary that limited opposing teams to just 6.5 yards per pass attempt.

Cincinnati’s defense looks strong at all three levels. Their season all depends upon how the offense performs coming off a lackluster 2017.

If everything goes right, the Bengals could make the playoffs. Furthermore, they might even be a good bet to win the division with long odds of +1000.

Cleveland Browns (+1000)

myles-garrett-cleveland-injuryCleveland’s plan on offense is to start veteran Tyrod Taylor and see where things go. Assuming the Browns don’t rack up too many wins, we should see first-overall pick Baker Mayfield eventually.

One of the biggest problems for Cleveland’s offense last year was receivers who couldn’t create separation. They went out and added Miami’s Jarvis Landry to help in this department. They also return Josh Gordon, who looked great the last few games after coming off a lengthy suspension.

The running game will also be better with the addition Carlos Hyde serving as the early down tailback. Duke Johnson should get plenty of work once again on third downs.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams helped this team improve last year, with Cleveland ranking around the middle of the league in terms of yards allowed per play and yards allowed per game. The points-per-game numbers weren’t too good, but the Browns committing 41 turnovers put the defense in difficult spots.

Adding former Green Bay corner Demarious Randall and drafting Denzel Ward in the first round should help the secondary. DE Myles Garrett will emerge as a beast, provided he doesn’t have any more injuries.

Cleveland is coming off only the second 0-16 season in NFL history. The 2018 schedule doesn’t do them any favors either, because their first eight-game stretch will be brutal. Nevertheless, we expect them to at least notch a few wins thanks to an upgraded roster.