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AFC South Notebook
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Jacksonville Jaguars

2013 record: 4-12
Postseason: No Playoffs
Off YPG: 294 (31st)
Def YPG: 379 (28th)
Off PPG: 15.4 (32nd)
Def PPG: 28.1 (28th)

2014 Total Win Analysis: LVH Total Win Opening Line - 4.5

We have to lean towards the OVER here. Jacksonville had an abysmal start to the 2013 season, losing eight straight games by an average of 22.3 points per game (all by 10+ points). Something clicked in the second half of the season as the Jags closed out 2013 on a promising note, winning four of the final eight games - two of the four losses were by seven points or fewer). Players starting buying into what 1st year head coach Gus Bradley was selling and we have to like what he has done with this team. He's building a stronger defensive line, gathering young players at the talent positions on offense, and developing a tougher-minded mentality throughout the organization. Jacksonville faces the 4th easiest schedule in 2014, according to the opponents 2013 win percentage, and the slate plays out quite nice for the Jags. They only have to travel to the west coast once (@San Diego) and three of the final five games will be at home. Divisionally, the AFC South expects to be better, but Tennessee and Houston still have a lot of question marks. The Jags are very youthful but we definitely see the arrow pointing up. Expect the Jags to eclipse last year's win total.

Betting Notes

-- 2013 ATS-O/U Record: 5-10-1, 9-7
-- Jacksonville was the only team in the NFL to not be favored in a single game last season
-- Jacksonville is just 15-31-1 ATS (32.6%) at home since 2008 - worst in the NFL
-- The Jags are 21-32-2 ATS (39.6%) as an underdog since 2010 - the worst record in the NFL
-- Contrarily to the fact above, they've been a favorite just nine times since 2010, but own an NFL best 77.8% cover in those games (7-2 record)
-- They are also an NFL-worst 5-15 ATS (25%) since 2009 against the NFC (0-4 ATS last year). This year they face the NFC East.
-- The Colts and the Jags have stayed UNDER the total in six straight meetings
-- Jacksonville is 5-1-1 ATS the last seven games against Tennessee

Player & Team Notes

-- The Jags ranked dead last in the NFL with just 31 sacks. Coach Gus Bradley, formerly the DC in Seattle, knows the importance of a strong defensive line. The Jags signed DT Red Bryant and DE Chris Clemons from Seattle, and DE/DT Ziggy Hood from Pittsburgh.
-- The Blaine Gabbert experiment is finally over. Jacksonville drafted QB Blake Bortles with the 3rd pick in the NFL Draft. Bortles will compete with Chad Henne in the preseason for the starting QB job.  They hope to bring a boost to a pass offense that ranked 2nd to last in the NFL with just 16 passing TD's.
-- With WR Justin Blackmon likely suspended for the season, Jacksonville added Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft.
-- Allowed Maurice Jones-Drew to walk in free agency and signed former Minnesota backup Toby Gerhart.
-- Jacksonville allowed 20 rush TD's last year, fourth worst in the league.
-- One area that has been steady over the past three seasons: the field goal unit. Josh Scobee has drilled 23-of-25 attempts in both 2011 and 2013, as well as 25-of-28 tries in 2012. He's 12-of-15 from 50-plus in the previous four years.

Houston Texans

2013 record: 2-14
Postseason: No playoffs
Off YPG: 347 (11th)
Def YPG: 317 (6th)
Off PPG: 17.2 (31st)
Def PPG: 26.8 (25th)

2014 Total Win Analysis: LVH Total Win Opening Line – 7.5

Another really tough call in our opinion. While the Texans are very talented at a number of key positions, they still don’t have a QB that can be trusted. They had the worst turnover margin in the NFL last year at -20 and adding Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting QB this year will do nothing to help that situation. Fitzpatrick is an interception throwing machine with 93 in just 85 NFL games. RB Arian Foster is injury prone playing in only 8 games last year and WR Andre Johnson is nearing the end of his “prime” years. The offense could be a problem. Defensively they should be outstanding at pressuring opposing QB’s with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney to play opposite of All-Pro JJ Watt. It’s always tough to predict how a team will react to a brand new coaching staff which is the case here as Bill O’Brien takes the helm coming over from Penn State. Our first reaction would be that Houston should be much improved as they can’t be any worse than last year. With the number sitting where it is at 7.5, obviously the oddsmakers feel the same with a 5.5 win improvement expected. However, we’ll have to pass as we just don’t trust their QB situation as it stands.

Betting Notes

-- 2013 ATS-O/U Record: 4-12, 9-7
-- Houston is a terrible 1-19 SU the last 20 times they’ve been tabbed an underdog of 3 or more. Texans are just 4-21 SU the last 25 times they’ve been getting points period. Obviously not a good money line play as a dog.
-- The Texans are currently on a 7-18 ATS run dating back to 2012.
-- Six of the last seven meetings between Houston & Indianapolis have gone UNDER the total. Prior to that recent run, these two had gone OVER the total in 10 of 11 games.
-- Since 2002, Houston has only covered 41% of the time (30-43 ATS) when coming off a SU win.
-- The Texans do cover nearly 60% of the time (45-31 ATS) if they are an underdog AND coming off a SU loss.

Player & Team Notes

-- Houston had the worst turnover margin in the NFL at -20 for the season. The last 8 NFL seasons there have been 4 teams that had a TO margin of -20 or worse. Those teams had a combined record of 10-54 (2012 – Philly & KC, 2006 – Oakland + Houston last year)
-- The Texans have been dominated by AFC South rival Colts. Houston is just 4-20 SU vs Colts since 2002.
-- The Texans started last season winning their first two games over San Diego and Tennessee before dropping 14 in a row…9 of Houston’s 14 losses came by a TD or less.
-- Texans hired Penn State coach Bill O’Brien as their new head man. O’Brien has never been an NFL head coach and was New England’s offensive coordinator before taking over at PSU.
-- Houston finished 6th in total YPG defense and 11th in total YPG offense yet still only won 2 games. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers!

Indianapolis Colts

2013 record: 11-5
Postseason: Lost in Div. to New England
Off YPG: 342 (15th)
Def YPG: 357 (20th)
Off PPG: 24.4 (14th)
Def PPG: 21 (9th)

2014 Total Win Analysis: LVH Total Win Opening Line - 9.5

The Colts were by far the best team in the AFC South last season as Jacksonville, Houston, and Tennessee had down years. Indy also notched huge non-division wins against San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and Kansas City en route to 11 wins. We believe with all three foes in the division improving this offseason and a little less "luck" in the big games that Indy will have a tough time reaching 10 wins. On paper, Indy has the easiest schedule in the NFL this season as its opponents amassed just a .430 winning percentage in 2013. Still, like we said before, the division games will be a lot tougher this year than in 2013 and they have difficult non-division matchups at Denver, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Baltimore, vs. Cincinnati, at Pittsburgh, at NY Giants, vs. New England, and at Dallas. That's an extremely difficult slate and we feel that Indy will not exceed 9.5 wins this year - lean towards the UNDER.

Betting Notes

-- 2013 ATS-O/U Record: 11-5 , 8-8
-- Indy ranks 1st in the NFL over the last two seasons at home with a 13-4 ATS mark (76.5%)
-- 11-5 ATS as a favorite over the last three seasons, good for 2nd in the NFL over that span
-- The Colts are 10-4 ATS (71.4%) as a home underdog since 2010, the fourth best percentage in the NFL
-- Since 2008, Indy is 16-5-2 ATS as an away favorite - third best in the NFL
-- Indy is on a 6-0 SU & ATS run vs. Denver, their first opponent of the season
-- Just 2-5 ATS last seven home games against Jacksonville
-- The total has stayed UNDER in 14 of the last 18 matchups with Tennessee
-- UNDER in six of the last seven matchups with Houston

Player & Team Notes

-- Trent Richardson had just 459 rush yards and three touchdowns in 17 games with Indy (including playoffs) after the Colts traded away a 1st round pick to get him from Cleveland.
-- Indy is surrounding Andrew Luck with weapons. They signed WR Hakeem Nicks in free agency and drafted WR Dante Moncrief. WR Reggie Wayne and TE Dwayne Allen will return from injury to join TY Hilton and Da'Rick Rogers in one of the stronger receiving corps in the league.
-- Indy had a solid offense in 2013 but didn't do anything exceptionally well as the Colts ranked 17th in pass offense and 21st in rush offense.
-- The Colts re-signed top CB Vontae Davis, who helped Indy rank no. 7 in TD passes allowed.
-- Robert Mathis led the NFL with 19.5 sacks last season, but the Colts ranked just 11th in the NFL in total sacks.
-- Indy ranked 3rd in the NFL last year with a +13 turnover differential. They turned the ball over just 14 total times last year, best in the NFL.

Tennessee Titans

2013 record: 7-9
Postseason: No playoffs
Off YPG: 337 (22nd)
Def YPG: 338 (14th)
Off PPG: 22.6 (18th)
Def PPG: 23.8 (16th)

2014 Total Win Analysis: LVH Total Win Opening Line – 7
In our opinion this number is right where it should be. Really tough call on over or under here so we’ll pass. The Titans play in a very weak division thus, their schedule strength ranks as the 2nd easiest in the NFL. That being said, as bad as Houston was last year in the AFC South, we expect them to be much better this season so the division probably won’t be as bad as last year. QB is a huge issue with Tennessee heading into the 2014 season. Whisenhunt likes to throw the football but with Locker at the helm, they have one of the lower tier QB’s in the NFL. He is also very injury prone so if he gets hurt again this year, Tennessee could be in big trouble offensively having to rely on rookie Zach Mettenberger or veterans Tyler Wilson or Charlie Whitehurst. They also lost a key offensive weapon in RB Chris Johnson in the off-season. They have an entirely new coaching staff which will also make it tough to adjust early in the season. The Titans have averaged 7.2 wins per year over the last 5 seasons with a high of 9 and low of 6. We look for them to land right around that number again this year so we make no play here.

Betting Notes

-- 2013 ATS-O/U Record: 6-8-2, 9-6-1
-- The Titans are just 28-37-1 ATS in division games (AFC South) since 2003.
-- Tennessee is just 1-10 SU their last 11 games with AFC South rival Indianapolis and they’ve only covered 3 of those 11 games.
-- The favorite in the Tennessee – Jacksonville game has covered only 4 of the last 15 meetings.
-- Going back to 1997, if the Titans are a home underdog, they have gone OVER the total at a rate of 27-13-1.
-- Since December of 1997 (the year we started our business) the Titans have been a home favorite of a TD or more 30 times. They are 10-20 ATS in those games.

Player & Team Notes

-- Tennessee’s top offensive weapon over the last 6 years, RB Chris Johnson’s has moved onto the NY Jets. Johnson carried the ball over 1,700 times for almost 8,000 yards for the Titans.
-- Can QB Jake Locker stay healthy? He played in only 7 games last year and has participated in just 23 of a potential 48 games in his career.
-- Ken Whisenhunt is the new head coach for the Titans. Was OC for San Diego last year and before that the head man in Arizona.
-- Whisenhunt has a track record of developing very good passing attacks. Last year in San Diego, QB Phillip Rivers threw for 4,400 yards (3rd best of career), 32 TD’s (2nd best of career), and had a 105.5 QB Rating (highest of career). Whisenhunt will need Locker to stay healthy.
-- The Titans will also have a new OC and DC this season. Jason Michael has been named the offensive coordinator. He was San Diego’s tight end coach last year and has never been an OC. The new defensive coordinator is Ray Horton who held the same position in Cleveland last year.

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