Betting on NFL team and player props can be an excellent way to draw some value out the prop bet odds that sportbooks release ahead of the start of a new season of football. Three of the most popular NFL player props to wager on before the regular season gets underway in early September are betting odds for the most passing yards, receiving yards and rushing yards.
The following is a look at a few of my top picks in each one of these categories based on the current player prop odds posted by BetOnline.
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Most Passing Yards
The name at the top of the list at +250 betting odds is Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck. He is entering his fourth season in the NFL, and given what he has already accomplished in his first three seasons it's easy to see why he has the best odds of the bunch. Luck burst onto the scene as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 college draft, and he immediately backed that up by throwing for 4,374 yards, which was seventh-most on the list. Last season he climbed to No. 3 with a total of 4,671 passing yards, and with the addition of veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson as a free agent and Phillip Dorsett in the first round of the draft, the sky could be the limit for Luck this year.
There is always value in Drew Brees in this player prop given what he has already done over the course of his career. Heading into the 2015 season he is a +800 third-favorite to claim yet another passing yards title. Last season, the New Orleans gunslinger tied Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger for first with 4,952 passing yards. He dropped to second in 2013 behind Peyton Manning's record-setting performance (5,477 yards). This was after Brees had won this same title in 2012 and in 2011 when he broke the NFL single-season record for most passing yards with 5,476.
Most Receiving Yards
Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown was on the receiving end of 1,698 of Roethlisberger's passing yards last season, which was first in the NFL. His odds to win the title again in 2015 are the best on the board at +400, but I am going to squeeze the value in the odds a bit with New York's Odell Beckham Jr. as my top pick at +700 betting odds. He is coming off a stellar rookie campaign in which he caught 91 passes for 1,305 total yards. Not only was he a regular feature on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays, he quickly established himself as Eli Manning's favorite target. This duo has the potential to do even bigger and better things this season with Manning playing for a new multi-million dollar contract that could make him the highest paid player in the NFL.
I would also take a hard look at TY Hilton in Indianapolis at +1600 betting odds. There are some new faces in the Colts' receiving corps that could cut into his numbers in 2015, but there still should be plenty of balls flying around to put up some big numbers of his own. This will be Hilton's fourth season in the league, just like Luck, and his numbers have gone up every single season. Last year he ended up sixth in total receiving yards with 1,345 after posting 1,083 yards in 2013 and 861 yards as a rookie.
Most Rushing Yards
The winners of the rushing title for the past two regular seasons are with new teams. LeSean McCoy won the title in 2013 with 1,607 rushing yards as a Philadelphia Eagle, but he is now in Buffalo. DeMarco Murray rushed for 1,845 with Dallas last season, but he has taken McCoy's spot in the backfield in Philadelphia. This could open the door for Green Bay's Eddie Lacy to win this year's rushing title at +800 betting odds. In his first two seasons in the league he has been incredibly consistent with 1,139 rushing yards on 246 carries as a rookie and 1,178 yards in 2014 on 284 attempts. I would not be surprised to see his touches go well above 300 in 2015, which would move him right into the top two or three if he can maintain his yards-per-carry average of 4.4 yards.
Another running back with solid value in his odds to win a rushing title is Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell at +1400. We all know how much the Steelers like to move the ball down the field quickly through the air, but Bell finished second to Murray last season with 1,361 yards on 290 carries. He carried the load in Pittsburgh's backfield last season with over 80 percent of the team's rushing attempts and that should be the case again. The reason for the longer odds is a two-game league suspension to start the season, but I still see Bell as a viable play given his upside potential over the remaining 14 games.
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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