NFL division betting: Titans' A.J. Brown trade changes outlook in the AFC South
From the start of the NFL draft to the end of it, only one division saw the favorite change in the odds at BetMGM.
The A.J. Brown trade was a pretty big deal.
The Tennessee Titans decided they didn't want to pay Brown, one of the NFL's most talented receivers, so they traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles. They used the first-round pick they acquired in the trade to take receiver Treylon Burks, but we don't know if Burks can be anywhere near as good as Brown, especially as a rookie.
That's why the Titans moved from AFC South betting favorite to second in line.
Colts, Titans lead AFC South odds
The Indianapolis Colts took over the top spot in the AFC South betting odds after the Titans traded Brown. Here are BetMGM's odds to win the AFC South:
Jacksonville Jaguars +650
Houston Texans +2500
The Titans didn't slip too far, but it's still significant that they aren't favored anymore. Last season the Titans won the AFC South despite a ton of key injuries so you can't count them out, but they are thin in the passing game. Derrick Henry will be back, but it's worth wondering if last season's injury is a bad sign for a running back who has had an incredible amount of touches in his career and is now 28 years old.
The Colts had a disappointing 2021 season, missing the playoffs with an astonishing loss in the finale to the Jaguars, but they think they fixed a problem by swapping quarterbacks. Carson Wentz is out and Matt Ryan is in. The Colts have a good roster and if the quarterback change is an upgrade, they're a rightful favorite in the division.
Jaguars, Texans still building
Picking the AFC South is easier than some divisions because you can reasonably eliminate two teams.
Maybe you are a believer in the Jaguars, and that's fine. Trevor Lawrence was a generational prospect for a reason. Jacksonville has added talent in the offseason. The Urban Meyer hire was such an unmitigated disaster that perhaps all the bad things that happened last season can be attributed to a coach that has already been fired, and new coach Doug Pederson can completely turn things around. It still feels like any big jump for the Jaguars is a year away, but a bet on them at their odds isn't crazy.
It's a lot harder to talk yourself into the Texans being a big surprise. They were probably fortunate to go 4-13 last season with a severely undermanned roster, then fired coach David Culley to replace him with Lovie Smith. There wasn't a huge infusion of talent in the offseason. It would be a surprise — and likely an indictment of the direction the Jaguars are headed — if the Texans don't finish in last place.
Unless the Jaguars make a huge leap (again, Meyer was so bad that it's possible the Jaguars are six or seven wins better just by removing him), the AFC South looks like a two-team race. The difference in who wins might be the receiver the Titans shipped off to Philadelphia.