Expert NFL Betting Advice: Odds and Predictions for Receiving Props
For my money the most interesting statistical race in the NFL every year isn't the rushing title or the passing title. It's the top receiver. These guys are the surgeons of the league, running precise patterns and finding gaps that mortals couldn't see. And they take ridiculous punishment doing it and have to run miles and miles every game at top speed to boot. A guy who wins a receiving title is a guy who shows up every day and works hard on every play - even if he will only be involved in a fraction of them. They are the thoroughbreds of the sport, and the race to the top is as competitive as the Kentucky Derby. Here's a look at how that race breaks down this year ( Odds are from Bovada ):
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Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (+255): Brown led the league in 2014 and 2017 and was second in 2013 and 2015, so he's obviously a good bet to finish high. For my money he's the best receiver in the league right now. There are a couple of causes for at least mild concern, though. First, Le'Veon Bell is sitting out again, and we don't know when the running back will return to the team. Brown is dangerous is part because the Pittsburgh offense is so balanced that opposing defenses struggle. If Bell is out then that would hurt Brown. And then Ben Roethlisberger isn't getting younger and hasn't had the best health luck. If he goes down then Brown isn't going to see as many quality passes coming his way. But those are just details. Brown is a freakish talent in his prime on a good team, and I expect another big year here. A deserving favorite.
Julio Jones, Atlanta (+500): Jones was second the last two years, first in 2015, and third in 2014. He's obviously a wildly-talented receiver in his prime playing for a good team. There is a reason he is second here and why he is far ahead of the rest of the pack. But there was some contract drama in the offseason, and that always makes me nervous. I wouldn't argue if you wanted to bet him, but at the price I will look to beat him.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (+950): Hopkins has special chemistry with QB Deshaun Watson, as was best displayed in a 224 yards clinical performance against the Seahawks. But the offensive line is a concern in Houston, and we don't know how well Watson will come back from his injury. I am a Watson believer, though, so this price is almost - but not quite - high enough to convince me to take a shot at it.
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (+1000): No. No. No. No. No! He's massively talented But he is also a whining discontent who can't be trusted to keep his issues to himself. And Eli Manning is throwing him the ball, which is a downright scary proposition at this point in the quarterback's clearly fading career. The Giants are going to be trash this year, and Beckham isn't in a mental place to rise above that.
Keenan Allen, L.A. Rams (+1200): Allen was third in the league last year in a season that was a breakout for him. But this Rams offense isn't going to suddenly forget how to play, and Jared Goff seems like he is ready to prove that he is an established star. I would take Allen ahead of Beckham without hesitation and probably ahead of Hopkins as well given the uncertainty in Houston, so the price is probably fair.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis (+1600): To bet on Hilton is to bet on Andrew Luck. He led the league in receiving two years ago and then did much less last year with his laughable QB support. If you think that Luck is healthy and ready for a full season then Hilton is an attractive longer shot because of his chemistry and Luck's talent. But if you doubt that Luck will be ready and at full strength this year for the whole season then Hilton quickly becomes unplayable.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati (+1600): Green was 12th last year on a dysfunctional Bengals squad. This year's team in Cincinnati should make last year's look like the good old days, so I find it hard to get too excited about him this year.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota (+1800): Thielen had a breakout year last year, though he had shown clear signs of it happening the year before. Now we have to figure out whether he can find the same chemistry with Kirk Cousins. Cousins won't be afraid to sling it, and he will have a massive chip on his shoulder, so I lean towards being optimistic. But there is a difference between my optimism and leading the league in receiving, and I'm not sure he is up to that leap. I'll pass.
Brandin Cooks, L.A. Rams (+8000): Young, affordable receiver is essentially chased off of two of the most prolific passing offenses in the league in consecutive years despite strong statistical years both times. And then he is given a massive contract. The red flags here are so bright you could see them from space.
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