Texans’ futures close in on AFC elite with Stefon Diggs

The Houston Texans have spent the offseason strategically adding to their young roster in an effort to close the gap on their AFC competitors.

They took their boldest step with Wednesday’s trade for wide receiver Stefon Diggs. News of the deal with the Buffalo Bills caused oddsmakers to immediately adjust the futures markets for both teams, along with division, league and even Super Bowl odds.

When the offseason began, the Texans were +2000 at DraftKings to win the Super Bowl and +1100 to win the AFC Championship. Despite adding veteran running back Joe Mixon during the first few weeks of the new league season, Houston’s odds had lengthened a bit to +2500 and +1200, respectively, by March 25.

That all changed significantly with Wednesday’s blockbuster move, which will see the Texans send a 2024 second-round pick to the Bills while receiving a sixth-round pick this year and a fifth-round pick in 2025.

DraftKings told Field Level Media their oddsmakers immediately trimmed Houston’s Super Bowl odds to +1200, giving the Texans the seventh-shortest odds at the book. Meanwhile, their AFC title odds shifted to the fifth-shortest at +850 and their odds of winning the AFC North moved from +135 to +115.

The reaction was similar at other sportsbooks.

Houston’s Super Bowl odds shortened from +2200 to +1600 at BetRivers, where their AFC title odds moved from +1000 to +750. At BetMGM, the Texans’ odds moved from +1600 to +1500 and from +650 to +750, respectively.

BetMGM maintained the team’s Over/Under win total at 9.5 games, but the price moved from -100 to -145 on the Over and from -110 to +120 on the Under.

The impact was predictably the opposite for Buffalo’s futures.

After opening at +900 at DraftKings, the Bills are now at +1200 to win the Super Bowl. They have also moved from +475 to +700 to win the AFC, with the Texans now right behind them.

Buffalo’s Super Bowl odds moved from +1200 to +1400 at BetRivers. However, they went unchanged at BetMGM, where the Bills’ win total market also remained at 10.5 games. The price did shift from -120 to +100 on the Over and from +100 to -120 on the Under.

Bills Super Bowl
–Opened: +900
–3/25: +1100
–Currently: +1200

Texans Super Bowl
–Opened: +2000
–3/25: +2500
–Currently: +1600

Bills AFC
–Opened: +475
–3/25: +550
–Currently: +700

Texans AFC
–Opened: +1100
–3/25: +1200
–Currently: +850

Bills AFC East
–Opened: +130
–3/25: +135
–Current: +160

Texans AFC South
–Opened: +160
–3/25: +135
–Currently: +115

The trade ends Diggs’ sometimes rocky tenure in Buffalo, where he has earned Pro Bowl honors all four seasons.

Buffalo entered the offseason $47 million over the salary cap and has lost multiple starters from the division championship roster.

Diggs turns 31 in November but has produced at a high level since the Bills acquired him from the Minnesota Vikings in 2020.

Houston’s financial commitment could be just one season because of the structure of guaranteed cash payouts. The Texans can part with Diggs after the 2024 season if desired without a cap hit because his $18 million salary for 2025, $19.1 million for 2026 and $14.5 million in 2027 isn’t guaranteed.

Diggs and the Bills were at odds multiple times since he signed a four-year, $96 million contract with $70 million guaranteed in April 2022. Almost exactly two years later, Buffalo hit reset at the wide receiver position.

Khalil Shakir, a fifth-round pick in 2022, is the top returning wide receiver from the 2023 season with 39 receptions for 611 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to Diggs, No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis (45 receptions, seven TDs in 2023) signed with the Jaguars in free agency.

Buffalo has added two receivers — Commanders free agent Curtis Samuel and former Falcons receiver Mack Hollins.

Samuel has four career 50-plus-catch seasons and had 126 total receptions the past two seasons. Diggs caught 215 passes for 3,613 yards and 19 touchdowns since he signed the new deal with the Bills on April 6, 2022.

Diggs has 810 career catches for 9,995 yards and 67 touchdowns in 136 games (128 starts) with the Minnesota Vikings (2015-19) and Bills.

Diggs joins an offense that, in addition to Mixon, also includes second-year quarterback C.J. Stroud, wide receivers Nico Collins, Tank Dell, Noah Brown and Robert Woods and tight end Dalton Schultz.

–Field Level Media