Just before the 2021 NFL Draft, the online sportsbook posted regular-season win totals for each team. Those odds came down on Draft Day, but now that the selections have been finalized and the schedule released, NFL regular-season win totals and odds to win the division are back. Here’s what’s changed on the AFC South odds board in the last few weeks.
Indianapolis Colts (Ev)
- April 24: 10 -115o/-115u
- May 17: 10 -115/-115
The Colts were left with a big hole at left tackle after Anthony Castonzo’s retirement. Opting to look to free agency instead of the draft, the Colts signed former Kansas City Chief Eric Fisher to a one-year deal in early May. Fisher is coming off of a torn Achilles, so the Colts are rolling the dice instead of going for a long-term replacement.
General manager Chris Ballard has become synonymous with short-term deals instead of long-term splashes in free agency. He did, however, take a risk in trading for quarterback Carson Wentz earlier in the offseason. The Colts’ win line has stayed put since the draft, which didn’t move the needle.
Defensive end and first-round draft pick Kwity Paye has overcome some long odds to make the NFL and is on the short list to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Outside of Paye, the Colts had a pretty uneventful draft, trading away their third-round pick in the Wentz deal. It’s difficult to assess how good the Colts will be, as a lot rests on Wentz after a horrific year. So, the lack of line movement makes sense, although it’s worth noting the Colts have the easiest strength of schedule (SoS) in the AFC South.
Tennessee Titans (+115)
- April 24: 9½ Ev o/-130u
- May 17: 9½ +110/-140
The public is fading the Titans after an offseason that has left more questions than answers. The Titans, who have an incredibly inexperienced receiver corps, lost Corey Davis in the offseason and inadequately replaced him.
While the Titans picked up a big talent in cornerback Caleb Farley at No. 20 in the draft, he’s coming off of back surgery. The Titans took another risk by drafting undersized North Dakota State offensive lineman Dillon Radunz in the second round. The Titans didn’t take a wide receiver in the draft until Day 3, when GM Jon Robinson traded three picks to move up and select Dez Robinson. Robinson also drafted LSU WR Racey McMath in the sixth round.
Without a big name signing at wideout and a couple of prospects as replacements, the Titans are worse off than they were last season. However, they’re in a weak division and still have running back Derrick Henry. A 10-7 record or better and a division title isn’t remotely out of the question despite all of the turnover.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+750)
- April 24: 6½ -105o/-125u
- May 17: 6½ Ev/-130
The relative lack of line movement here can be attributed to how predictable Jacksonville’s first pick was. There was never any serious doubt about the Jaguars taking Trevor Lawrence with the first pick in the NFL Draft. He gives the Jaguars a potential franchise quarterback for the first time in what feels like a lifetime.
The Jags paired Lawrence with his Clemson backfield mate in Travis Etienne, who was selected with the 25th pick. It is interesting that the Jaguars selected a running back in the first round despite boasting a young 1,000-yard rusher on their roster. Undrafted rookie James Robinson finished with 1,070 rushing yards on 240 attempts in 2020, good for fifth in the NFL.
Tim Tebow is controversially attempting an NFL return … at TE. Tebow, after five years in the New York Mets farm system, reached a contract agreement with the Jaguars and has been reunited with his former Florida coach Urban Meyer. Meyer has commented on how Tebow “looks like he’s 18 years old” and is in the “best shape of his life.” He’ll still face an uphill battle to make the final roster.
Houston Texans (+1400)
- April 24: 4½ -105o/-125u
- May 17: 4 -130/ Ev
The reasons for the negative line movement from 4½ wins to 4 is twofold. The Texans had one of the NFL’s worst drafts and quarterback Deshaun Watson trade rumors are circulating after it has been reported that Watson’s 22 sexual misconduct lawsuits may settle.
The Texans did not have a first- or second-round pick this season after sending them away in the 2019 trade for Laremy Tunsil. Unsurprisingly, the Texans’ first pick in the draft was a quarterback, Stanford’s Davis Mills. With just five draft picks, the Texans, who are badly in need of depth, could not fill important needs.
Following the draft, the Texans signed former Jets linebacker Neville Hewitt, who totaled 91 tackles last season. With a new coach, GM and a quarterback embroiled in legal issues who wants out, the Texans are in an unenviable position.