NFL Betting Props: Brown the Favorite on Receiving Yards Odds

Did you know that a kicker has won an NFL MVP Award – that’s a travesty but an argument for another day – but no receiver has ever won the award. Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice could be the greatest football player who ever lived but he never won an MVP. Rice did finish a close second to some guy named John Elway in the 1987 season.

We aren’t here to talk MVP odds, and there’s no receiver shorter than +5000 at the sportsbooks to win it this season. However, if any receiver were to break the drought in 2017 he would surely have to lead the NFL in receiving yards and likely be the first to reach 2,000. The NFL record is 1,964 yards by Detroit’s Calvin Johnson in 2012. He didn’t receive a single vote for MVP that year.

The betting favorite to win the receiving title this season is Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown at +400. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will go down as the greatest sixth-round pick in NFL history. Brown, the 195th overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Central Michigan, could join Brady on any short list of best sixth-rounders. Brown has had at least 1,284 receiving yards each of the past four seasons. He led the NFL with 1,698 in 2014 and was fifth last year with 1,284.

Brown’s career high of 1,834 was only good for second in 2015. That year, he became the first player in NFL history to record four games with at least 180 receiving yards in a season. Brown is also the second player in NFL history, along with Johnson, to record at least 1,600 yards in back-to-back seasons (2014-15). As amazing as Rice was, he topped 1,600 yards only once. With 8,377 yards, Brown is already third in Steelers history and will pass Hall of Famer John Stallworth (8,723) for second likely by mid-October. Hines Ward is No. 1 with 12,083 yards.

Atlanta’s Julio Jones is second on those NFL betting lines at +450. While Brown was little known coming out of college, the Falcons traded a ton to move up from No. 27 to No. 6 in the 2011 draft to take Jones out of Alabama. Those trades often fail miserably, but Jones has been worth it. He has at least 1,409 receiving yards the past three seasons; that was his total in 2016 when he was second to Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton. Jones missed two games or he would have been first. He did lead the league with 1,871 yards in 2015, second-most all-time. Durability is the only problem with Jones as he has played all 16 games just twice.

The Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. is at +550 at NFL betting sites and then there’s a big drop-off to the rest of the field. Beckham, who claims he should be the highest-paid player in the NFL, has had at least 1,305 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons. His 4,122 yards are easily a Giants record for any three-year period by one player and just shy of the NFL mark of 4,163 by Randy Moss from 1998-2000. Beckham is the first player in NFL history to compile 80-plus catches and 1,000-plus receiving yards in his first three seasons.

Hilton is +1200 to lead the league a second straight season, and Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans is the same price. The Lions’ Johnson was the last to repeat, doing so in 2011-12. Hilton’s chances could be severely hampered this year by Colts QB Andrew Luck’s slow recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. Luck might not be ready for Week 1.

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