The countdown continues to the kickoff of the 2017 NFL regular season with more and more props rolling out at sportsbooks. Today, we examine some involving receivers and their season totals.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had some fair receivers in franchise history, wouldn’t you say? Lynn Swann is one of the most graceful players in league history and he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So is his former teammate, John Stallworth. But do you want to know how much the NFL has shifted from run-oriented offenses to pass-heavy?
Stallworth played from 1974-87 (165 games) and finished with 537 catches for 8,723 yards and 63 touchdowns. Swann played in 116 games from 1974-82 and caught 336 balls for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns. Meanwhile, current Steeler Antonio Brown joined the team as a little-known sixth-round pick out of Central Michigan in 2010. He was seldom used as a rookie but has been arguably the NFL’s best receiver since then. In 101 total games, he has 632 catches for 8,377 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Brown, barring major injury early in the season, will pass Stallworth for No. 2 on the Steelers’ all-time yardage list in 2017. No. 1 is Hines Ward at 12,083 so that will take a while. Brown is second in catches to Ward’s 1000 and fourth in touchdowns behind Ward (85), Stallworth (63) and Swann (51).
Already, Brown holds several team and NFL marks. He set single-season franchise records in receptions (136), receiving yards (1,834), 100-yard games (9) and receiving yards per game (114.6) in 2015. He’s the first player in NFL history with back-to-back 125-catch seasons.
I could go on, but the point is Brown is great and he was rewarded this offseason with a new five-year worth nearly $73 million, making him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL – as he should be. To no surprise, all the sportsbooks favor Brown on the NFL odds to lead the league in both yardage and receiving TDs in 2017.
Can Anyone Crash Big 3?
Since 2013, Brown hasn’t had fewer than 1,284 yards receiving or eight TDs in a season. Last year, he missed one game and finished with 106 catches for 1,284 yards and 12 scores. Those numbers were No. 2, No. 5 and No. 2 in the NFL, respectively. At BetOnline, he is the +450 favorite to win the touchdown title in 2017 and the +400 leader at Bovada to be No. 1 in yards.
It’s obviously hard to argue against the guy, although some players perhaps don’t try quite as hard once they get that big new extension. The only other concern with Brown is that QB Ben Roethlisberger usually misses a game or two each season. 5Dimes gives Brown totals of 1,550 yard and 11 TDs. The ‘under’ is favored on both.
On the Bovada yardage prop, Atlanta’s Julio Jones is the +450 second favorite. He was second in the NFL with 1,409 yards in 2016 and led the league with 1,871 in 2015 – the second-highest total of all-time. The record is 1,964 by retired Detroit Lion Calvin Johnson in 2012. Jones did miss two games last year or would have led the league again. He has played all 16 games just twice in six seasons. Jones is just +1600 to be No. 1 in touchdowns at BetOnline. He has reached double-digits just once: 10 in 2012.
If Brown and Jones are the NFL’s two best receivers, the Giants’ Odell Beckham is a close third. He’s +650 to lead in touchdowns and +450 in yards. Beckham, who wants to be the highest-paid PLAYER in the NFL (who doesn’t?), had 101 catches for 1,367 yards and 10 scores in 2016. The TDs were a career-low, while his worst yardage season was 1,305 as a rookie in 2014 when Beckham played just 12 games.
On the yardage, there’s a big drop-off after those three. Indy’s TY Hilton, who led last year with 1,448 yards, is just +1200. His fate could be tied to that injured shoulder of QB Andrew Luck. On the TDs prop, Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson (+500) and Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (+650) crash the favored party. Nelson was No. 1 last year with 14 TD catches and Evans in a tie for second with 12.Free NFL Picks: Evans TDs, Saints’ Michael Thomas Yards (+2000)Best Lines Offered: BetOnline & Bovada