NFL Props Odds and Expert Betting Predictions: Wide Receiver Yardage
The receivers who score a lot of touchdowns are the flashy guys, but it's the guys who pile up a lot of yards that are really doing the work for their teams. They do what it takes to move the ball all the time - not just when they are close to the goal line. A highly-productive receiver is the best friend a quarterback can have, and the confidence that can give a QB has a profound impact on a team in general. BetOnline has a long list of potential receivers who could lead the league in this category and their odds of doing so. Our job here is to assess the favorites for possible betting value:
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Julio Jones, Atlanta (+275): This feels like an obvious favorite and one I can't argue against too strongly. Jones was very good last year, and his offense returns mostly intact. There are a couple of reasons to be cautious, though. First, who knows what kind of impact that Super Bowl debacle is going to have on this team this year. It could drive them, or it could haunt them. Second, Kyle Shanahan is gone and Steve Sarkisian is running the offense now. That's like trading your Ferrari in for a Honda Civic and hoping you can still win races. So, while Jones is obviously going to be among the top contenders, I'm not personally willing to bet him at a price this low.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (+325): Brown has been very consistent the last four years and is always right in the mix. He has led the league once and has been close the other times. Last year was the worst of those four years, though, and I find it tough to get hugely excited about Ben Roethlisberger this year. I wouldn't argue against you if you wanted to bet Brown, but with questions around both him and Jones I think this could be a good opportunity to look for better prices.
Odell Beckham, New York Giants (+450): Beckham relies more on yards after the catch than anyone else on this list, and that concerns me. The longer he plays, the more risky that is in terms of durability. Eli Manning also isn't getting any younger, and his production fell off last year. I don't have huge faith in a resurgence from him this year. This one is an easy pass in my eyes.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis (+500): Hilton led the league last year - a fact that would stump a lot of football fans, I think. He has had four strong years in a row and is obviously a favorite target of Andrew Luck. That's the problem, though - to bet on Hilton is, by extension, to bet on Luck, and that's scary. He isn't practicing, and we don't know if he can or will anytime soon. He could miss significant time to start the season, and even if he doesn't he isn't going to be at his sharpest. And it's not like Hilton is going to be as good without him. If Luck was at 100 percent then this would be a steal of a price, but he isn't so it's not.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati (+1000): Green was hurt last year - the second time in three years he has missed a lot of time. That's an obvious concern. He also plays for a team that is going to be a mess this year. Marvin Lewis has no business still being the boss, and they are heading into this season with issues galore and with a collective mindset that is far from rosy. This is an easy pass.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay (+1200): Mike Evans was fourth in the league last year and has been consistent his last three years. He is the favorite target of Jameis Winston. I am very bullish on Winston this year, so by extension I believe that Evans has some pretty serious upside this season. He doesn't deserve to be a favorite, but at this price he is absolutely packed with value. This is the best play on the board.
Amari Cooper, Oakland (+1800): I don't think Cooper is ever going to be a big numbers guy, and that's not what he needs to be in that offense. He has his role, and he plays it very well. He and David Carr have tremendous chemistry, and that should last over the long term. But he won't get enough passes, or average enough yards per catch, to put up the numbers to lead this category. It's not who he is.
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