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Michael Thomas Favored to Lead NFL in Receiving Yards After Week 1; Julio & Hopkins Given 11-2 Odds

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas making a catch against the Texans
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) is the new favorite to lead the NFL in receiving. Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire.
  • Michael Thomas is favored to lead the NFL in receiving yards
  • Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins have the second-best odds
  • Who’s the best bet one week into the 2019 NFL season?

New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas is favored to lead the NFL in receiving yards, despite sitting 9th in the category after Week 1 with 123 yards.

Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins are tied for second in the odds, which represents a significant shift compared to the leading-receiver odds at the beginning of the season.

Before diving into the best value bet, here is how sportsbooks view the top-ten contenders heading into Week 2.

2019 Most Receiving Yards Leader Odds

Player Odds
Michael Thomas (Saints) +500
Julio Jones (Falcons) +550
DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) +550
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers) +800
Davante Adams (Packers) +1400
Odell Beckham Jr. (Browns) +1500
Keenan Allen (Chargers) +1500
Antonio Brown (Patriots) +1600
Mike Evans (Buccaneers) +1600
Sammy Watkins (Chiefs) +1600

*All odds taken 09/12/19.

Is Thomas a Good Bet?

Michael Thomas is a decent bet at +500. He showed in Week 1 he is still the go-to guy for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. He’s currently tied for ninth in the league, but he has shown remarkable consistency in his career, unlike the players ahead of him after Week 1.

He will be in the 100-yard neighborhood almost every Sunday, while some players ahead of him had a career game and are expected to fall off.

Thomas was targeted 13 times in Week 1 and has averaged 148 targets per year over the past two seasons. Only Jones, Hopkins, Jarvis Landry, and Antonio Brown have averaged more.

Do Jones and Hopkins Provide Value?

Both Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins have proven they are elite receivers in the NFL and will also be near the top of the league for receiving yards. Yet, I think there are many other players who have more value than them for a couple of reasons.

Jones struggled in Week 1 with just six catches for 31 yards, which sets him in a nearly 100-yard hole compared to Thomas. The Atlanta Falcons also have a bevy of good receivers who got their fair share of attention last year. Calvin Ridley (92 targets, 821 yards), Mohamed Sanu (94 targets, 838 yards), and Austin Hooper (88 targets, 660 yards) all figure to play significant roles in the offense again this season. They combined for 21 targets in Week 1.

As for Hopkins, he had a very impressive Week 1 (8 catches on 13 targets for 111 yards), but  health is what scares me away from him. Although he’s only missed one game in his six years in the league, he has been slowed down by injuries. He is dealing with a rib injury right now but is expected to play.

Who’s the Best Bet?

Right now, there are a couple of bets that I like. As mentioned, I believe Thomas has value as the favorite. But I am also really high on Sammy Watkins, and was high on him coming into the NFL.

In Buffalo, the Clemson standout just couldn’t get it going. In Kansas City, he has Patrick Mahomes throwing to him, which helps a ton.

If Week 1 showed us anything, it is that he will be a huge part of the offense with Tyreek Hill out. He leads all receivers after one game with 198 yards, and he attracted 11 targets in Week 1, the most on the team.

Picks: Michael Thomas (+500), Sammy Watkins (+1600)

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