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AFC South Preview

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AFC East · AFC South · AFC North · AFC West
The AFC South looks to be a two-horse race once again this season between Houston and Indianapolis. The Colts rebounded from a tough 2011 campaign without Peyton Manning to qualify for the playoffs in 2012 under top pick Andrew Luck. However, Indianapolis couldn't catch Houston, who jumped out of the gate to a lengthy lead in the division. Will Houston sit atop the AFC South for a third straight season in 2013?

The Texans took care of business inside the division with a 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS record, while compiling a franchise-best 12 victories last season. The only loss to an AFC South foe came in the final week of the season against the Colts, just two weeks after beating Indianapolis by 12 points. Even though Houston came up short in the divisional playoffs for the second consecutive season, the Texans are one of the most profitable ATS teams in the league since 2011 at 22-12-2.

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Indianapolis started last season at 2-3, while head coach Chuck Pagano underwent treatment for leukemia. The Colts caught fire by winning nine of their final 11 regular season contests, while posting a 9-2 ATS record. Interestingly enough, this club was blown out in three opportunities as a double-digit underdog at Chicago, New England, and Houston, while putting up a 6-2 ATS mark when listed as a 'dog of nine points or less.

The Titans couldn't capitalize on a 9-7 record from 2011, as Tennessee fell back to 6-10 both straight-up and against the spread in 2012. Tennessee seemed like a solid 'fade' as a road underdog, covering just twice in seven chances (in outright victories at Buffalo and Miami). The best way to approach the Titans is to go against them in their limited favorite opportunities this season, as Tennessee owns a 3-9 ATS record under Mike Munchak when laying points.

And then, there are the Jaguars. Jacksonville finished tied with Kansas City for the fewest wins in the league last season with only two. The two victories by the Jaguars both came against AFC South foes, beating the Colts and Titans as three-point underdogs. Jacksonville actually profited on the road last season by covering five of eight games, but stunk it up at home with a 2-6 ATS record.

September Games to Watch:

Tennessee at Pittsburgh - Week 1: The Titans shocked the Steelers on a Thursday night last October, 26-23 as 5 ½-point home 'dogs. However, Tennessee lost four road contests by at least 24 points last season, while failing to beat a playoff team in its six victories.

Kansas City at Jacksonville - Week 1: The two teams with the worst record in the league in 2012 now get an opportunity to start 1-0. The Jaguars have won just two of their last 11 games at home against non-division opponents, while covering just three times (twice as a double-digit 'dog).

Houston at Baltimore - Week 3: The Texans blew out the Ravens last season at home, 43-13, one week after suffering their first loss following a 5-0 start. Houston is 1-3 ATS the last four times in the road underdog role since 2011, which includes losses at New England and Baltimore.

Indianapolis at San Francisco - Week 3: The first road game for the Colts following a pair of home contests against the Raiders and Dolphins will be a tough test. Luck returns to the Bay Area for the first time since leaving Stanford, but the Colts cashed just twice in seven road 'dog opportunities last season.

2013 Win-Loss Projections
Team 2012 Record 2013 Win Total (LVH) Predicted Over/Under
Houston 12-4 10 OVER
Indianapolis 10-6 8 ½ UNDER
Tennessee 6-10 6 ½ UNDER
Jacksonville 2-14 5 UNDER


Week 1 Best Bets (courtesy of LVH Hotel and Casino):

-- Chiefs -3 at Jaguars
-- Steelers -6 ½ vs. Titans
-- Raiders +7 at Colts
-- Texans -3 at Chargers

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.



  
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