Investing vs. Paying Off Debts

What is everyone's thoughts on investing in rental properties vs. using saved money to pay off debts? There seems to be a lot of differing opinions on whether it is smarter or better to remove debt prior to investing vs. keeping the debt and investing at the same time. 

In my own situation, I have money saved up where I could pay off my car loan and finish my students loans, or purchase some rental properties. Regardless of what route I could take, the monthly income from paying off the debts is roughly equal to the same cash flow as purchasing a rental property. Personally, I believe it is better to invest as soon as possible if the interest rate on the debt isn't outrageous and the monthly debt payments can still be managed. Just wanted to hear what others thought on this as well.

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