The AFC South is wide open with the title still up for grabs. Here we look at how the teams stack up going into week 15 and where they rank on the Super Bowl 50 odds board.
AFC South Wide Open
Although we’ve waved goodbye to the Tennessee Titans for the season, the remaining three teams are still in play for the divisional title. What’s more, it’s anybody’s guess which will win it.
As it is, odds makers continue to favor Indianapolis Colts to win the AFC South at -150 NFL odds, followed by the Houston Texans at +188 and the Jacksonville Jaguars at whoping +550 NFL odds. While this current NFL futures outlook for the AFC South coincides with the current hierarchy in the table, it doesn’t mesh up with current form and the challenges a couple of those teams are facing.
To begin with, the Indianapolis Colts have been forced to campaign without their starting quarterback Andrew Luck for the better part of the season. Admittedly, he wasn’t great at the start of the season, but he’s still their starting quarterback, upon which the organisation is hanging its hat on for the foreseeable future. It’s yet uncertain when Andrew Luck will be available to play this season, if at all. And if he does return in the regular season, NFL bettors must share in the realism of his limited chances to lead the team to greener pastures in the postseason. Without enough match play, fitness and toughness, how ready will he be?
To say the season hasn’t gone exactly to plan is the understatement of the season. Preseason Super Bowl 50 betting markets had the Colts amongst the top four favorites to win it all. Indeed, they were a popular NFL pick at the time amongst NFL experts, analysts, fans and, even, neutral public bettors.
That notion was underscored by their charmed run into the AFC Championship game last season, not to mention optimistic predictions for Andrew Luck, who was heralded as the quarterback to spot in 2015; many going so far as predicting he would come of age and, even, finish the season as the MVP. How far things have come from those rosy predictions.
The AFC Wild Card Race
In all likelihood, the only way and AFC South representative will enter the playoffs is through winning the division. The AFC Wild card race is tighter than an accountant’s wallet with the Chiefs (8-5) and Jets (8-5) currently fifth and sixth and the Steelers (8-5) just outside the hunt in seventh.
At the moment, the Colts are in the lead in the AFC South and are one foot through the door. In turn, they are ahead of their AFC counterparts in AFC Conference futures betting (See Table 2). But they are faced with the Houston Texans in week 15 NFL betting [insert dramatic shiver].
The Colts are locked down in a two-way tie with the Houston Texans atop the AFC South pile, and, not without some irony, faced with a pivotal clash in week 15 with said rivals. It’s a must-win game for both teams if they are to advance their bid in the AFC South and put some distance between themselves and the fast approaching Jaguars.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, however, are playing some of the best football in the AFC South in recent weeks. That they underscored that run of form with a 51-16 evisceration of the Colts in week 14 is nothing short of remarkable. Could it be gauntlet throwing? Imagine if the Jaguars win out the last three weeks and leapfrog into first place? Heady thought indeed.
If there’s one thing they have going for them is a healthy starting quarterback right now – something neither the Colts nor the Texans can boast (TJ Yates is starting in place of Hoyer this Sunday).
Super Bowl 50 Prospects For AFC South
In a word, grim. Colts have fallen out of favor, from fourth overall favorites in preseason markets to outside contenders at +5000. They are quite correctly the long shots now in the AFC, along with their counterparts Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.