Now that the NFL has announced the official 2020 NFL schedule, we can start to profitably handicap the win total over/under bets for all teams. Here at The Sports Geek, we are going to spend the next week breaking down each division, team by team, and give you the sharp betting advice you need to make money betting NFL futures. Yesterday we took a look at the AFC North, today we will breakdown the AFC South. Let’s get started!
- 2019 Record (7-9)
- 2020 Win Total (9)
- Odds to win division (+135)
It may surprise many of you, but the Indianapolis Colts start out the year as the favorites to win the AFC South division in 2020. Indy made a big splash when they brought in veteran quarterback and longtime Charger, Phillip Rivers, in the offseason, and assuming he still has something left in the tank, his arrival immediately makes the Colts playoff contenders.
The additions didn’t stop there, as the Colts spent a bunch of money to bring in defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. Buckner was signed to a 4-year $84 million deal and was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-NFL selection last year while playing for the San Francisco 49ers.
They snatched up Taylor in the second round, as just the third running back taken off the board, and hope that the former Badger can continue his college success that saw him rush for over two thousand yards in back to back season in Madison, earning All-American honors both years. He joins Marlin Mack and Nyheim Hines in the backfield to combine to make a three-headed monster that is going to be tough to stop.
— Andrew Walker (@AWalkerColts) May 20, 2020
Pittman Jr. has huge upside and should start from day one opposite TY Hilton in Indy. Many are looking at Pittman Jr. as a potential breakout star for the Colts, and he is one of the favorites to win the rookie of the year award.
The Colts are improved basically everywhere. They brought in a future Hall of Fame QB, an elite D-lineman, and drafted a couple of day one impact players to help boost their offense. I am not sure they should be the betting favorites in the AFC South at this point, but I do feel that they bring a lot more talent to the table in 2020 than they did in 2019.
All the Colts need to push this number is to improve by two wins from last year. And when you look at all the places that they seemingly got better year over year, you would think that they certainly have a shot to go over that total. Below are some games that look like potential losses as we look at the Colts schedule.
- Week 2: Minnesota
- Week 4: at Chicago
- Week 5: at Cleveland
- Week 9: at Baltimore
- Week 10: at Tennessee
- Week 11: Green Bay
- Week 12: Tennessee
- Week 13: at Houston
- Week 14: at Las Vegas
- Week 15: Houston
- Week 16: at Pittsburgh
The Colts schedule is filled with potential losses and tough games. The division is tight up top with Houston and Tennessee, both contending with the Colts for the division title. All those games are going to be tough, and for argument’s sake, I will give the Colts the home games and have them losing the road games at Houston and Tennessee.
That leaves us five more losses to get to 9-7. Week two against Minnesota and week eleven against Green Bay are both going to be very tough games for Indy despite the games being at home. I would think at best, they get one out of those two, and they could lose both. At Baltimore, in week nine seems like a certain loss, and that puts us at five losses.
We have at Chicago, at Cleveland, at Las Vegas, and at Pittsburgh left. To push the line, the Colts would need to win two of those four games. I think they likely lose at Pittsburgh and Las Vegas, leaving just Chicago and Cleveland. I’ll call those games a split as both games are basically coin flips in my eyes. That puts the Colts finishing the season at 8-8, going just under the nine-win total.
- 2019 Record (9-7)
- 2020 Win Total (8.5)
- Odds to win division (+175)
Just behind the Colts, come last year’s Cinderella team, the Tennessee Titans. The Titans snuck into the playoffs as the final wild card in the AFC and did the most with the opportunity as they knocked off the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens, with both wins coming on the road as major underdogs, before blowing a ten-point lead against the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, in the AFC title game.
The Titans finished the regular season winning seven out of their last ten games after benching Marcus Mariota and turning things over to Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill went on to lead the league in QB rating, and the Titans used a heavy dose of Derrick Henry and a stout defense to become an unstoppable force late in the season. The question on every Titans fan’s mind right now, is can they keep up that momentum and do it again in 2020?
I am more bullish on the Titans heading into 2020 than the sportsbooks seem to be. Yeah, they didn’t get a lot better in the offseason, and losing Jack Conklin on the offensive line is going to sting. But they did lock up both Tannehill and Henry, who led them to the AFC title game last year.
#Titans hopeful Vic Beasley can "take his game to another level" in 2020
"We brought him in because he's got ability to rush the passer." 📰 » https://t.co/96xK6Zk1wI
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) May 18, 2020
The Titans also drafted a replacement for Conklin in the first round when they took Georgia offensive tackle, Isaiah Wilson. Tennessee also added Vic Beasley to the pass rush game, and if he can get back to his Pro Bowl form from a couple of years ago, that could end up being a nice upgrade over the departed Cameron Wake.
Now let’s take a look at some of the potential losses on the board for the Titans. With their total coming in just below the Colts at 8.5, a 9-7 season cashes tickets on the over. They have a very similar talent level as last year, and only need to finish with the same record they had in 2019 to go over the total, I like their chances.
- Week 1: at Denver
- Week 3: at Minnesota
- Week 4: Pittsburgh
- Week 5: Buffalo
- Week 6: Houston
- Week 10: Indianapolis
- Week 11: at Baltimore
- Week 12: at Indianapolis
- Week 13: Cleveland
- Week 16: at Green Bay
- Week 17: at Houston
One thing that the Titans have going for them is that they have several of their toughest non-division games, at home. They host the Steelers, Bills, and Browns, with tough non-division road games against Minnesota, Baltimore, and Green Bay.
I think the Ravens, Bills, are Packers are going to be very good, and I don’t see the Titans winning those games. But games against those other three teams all look winnable, I’ll give Tennessee two of the three. I also like the Titans to knock off the Broncos in Denver. That gets us to eight wins with four games remaining against Indy and Houston.
As I did with the Colts, I am going to call those an even split for all three teams, with each team winning at home and losing on the road. Totaled up, that puts the Titans at 10-6, going well over their total of 8.5 wins.
- 2019 Record (10-6)
- 2020 Win Total (7.5)
- Odds to win division (+280)
Last year’s AFC South champions, the Houston Texas, come in here at a projected third place finish this year, after a head-scratching offseason. The Texans inexplicably traded away their best player, wide receiver De’Andre Hopkins, to the Arizona Cardinals, for the rotting corpse of running back David Johnson.
If this trade was made three years ago, and Johnson was still an elite running back, it might have made a little bit of sense. But when you look at what Johnson has done in the last three years, you wonder why they would even want him on the team, let alone trade away their best player just to get him.
The #AZCardinals are receiving WR DeAndre Hopkins in the deal for David Johnson, source said. Bill O’Brien and his crew at it again.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2020
In thirteen games last year, nine of which were starts, Johnson rushed for just 345 yards on 94 carries. To make matters worse, when the Cardinals brought in Kenyan Drake during the season, he lit the world on fire running in the same backfield, as he piled up 643 yards in just eight games. Johnson is still just 28-years old, so maybe this move works out, but either way, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Terrible trades notwithstanding, the Texans did little to help their 29th ranked pass defense in the offseason either. The Texans play in a conference with the likes of the Chiefs and Ravens that can throw the ball at will against good defenses, let alone bad ones. And now that Philip Rivers is in the division, and Ryan Tannehill is the guy all year long for the Titans, this bad Texans secondary is going to get exposed.
I don’t like this Texans team, at all. They are by all accounts worse than they were last season, and with the Titans and Colts both looking like teams geared up for the playoffs, the Texans are the odd man out, in my opinion. Below are potential losses for Houston.
- Week 1: at Kansas City
- Week 2: Baltimore
- Week 3: at Pittsburgh
- Week 4: Minnesota
- Week 6: at Tennessee
- Week 7: Green Bay
- Week 10: at Cleveland
- Week 11: New England
- Week 13: Indianapolis
- Week 14: at Chicago
- Week 15: at Indianapolis
- Week 17: Tennessee
Yikes, it is going to be a brutal start to the season for Houston as I see them losing each of their first four games. Don’t be shocked if they hit their week eight bye sitting at 1-6. If they do get off to a very slow start like I expect, it is difficult to predict that they are going to still be playing hard by the time the second half of the season comes around.
Deshaun Watson is a rare talent, and I think he finds a way to win at least one of those first-half games that he shouldn’t. That gets the Texans to six wins total with easy wins coming against the likes of the Bengals, Lions, and Jaguars (twice). Can I find two more wins on this schedule to push the total over seven and a half?
Maybe, just maybe they can win in Cleveland against a Browns team that should be improved. And maybe the Texans can beat a Tom Bradly-less Patriots team or knock off the Bears in Chicago in the freezing cold. But I don’t think so. I’ll give them one of those three games and that has them finishing up their season at a disappointing 6-10, and going under the total.
- 2019 Record (6-10)
- 2020 Win Total (4.5)
- Odds to win division (+2000)
Rounding out the bottom of the division are the Jacksonville Jaguars. No team in the NFL has a lower win total than the Jags 4.5. To put it lightly, they are expected to be the worst team in the NFL in 2020. And for good reason.
— Gardner Minshew (@GardnerMinshew5) September 21, 2019
The Jags were bad last year, finishing in last place, and they don’t seem to be any better this year. They traded away quarterback Nick Foles, a guy that was brought in just a year ago to be the savior of the franchise, and instead are going to go with Gardner Minshew.
To make matters worse, the Jaguars are very clearly not looking to win in 2020, as they have floated trade rumors involving all of their best players, including running back Leonard Fournette and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. This team is in rebuild mode, and don’t be shocked if they flip some of their best assets to start building towards the future before and during the season.
There aren’t many wins on the schedule for the Jags this season. On the road, this team just cannot be trusted. They went just 3-5 on the road last year, with none of those wins coming against playoff teams, and one of them coming against the hapless Cincinnati Bengals. When you look at their schedule this year, they may not win a single road game. Some potential wins are listed below.
- Week 3: Miami
- Week 4: at Cincinnati
- Week 6: Detroit
- Week 8: at Los Angeles Chargers
- Week 12: Cleveland
- Week 16: Chicago
I don’t see this Jags team having much success at all this season. Players being traded, or possibly even sitting out in order to force a trade, is going to happen. And this team isn’t very talented, to begin with. The two road games I see them having a shot at winning are at Cincy and at LA. The Bengals are in full rebuild mode and were last year’s worst team, and the Chargers are looking at life without Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon and should be weak.
As much as I hate to pick this team to win on the road, I am guessing they get one of those games. That leaves four home games against Miami, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago, and they would need them all to go over the total.
Yeah, it ain’t happening. Miami is improved and could be a dark horse playoff team, and so are the Browns. I’ll give them home wins over Chicago and Detroit, to finish out the season an NFL worst 3-13, going under the 4.5 win total.
The NFL is committed to starting their regular season on time, meaning week one is just around the corner. Make sure to get your futures bets in now, before the sharps move all the number and steal all the value. Thanks for reading and make sure to stay tuned to The Sports Geek all season long for all of your sharp 2020 NFL betting advice!