Opening Odds to Lead NFL in Receiving Yards During 2020 Season Favor Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas
Following a record-setting season in 2019, New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas has opened as the favorite to lead the NFL in receiving yards for a third straight year. Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire
  • Michael Thomas has opened as a narrow favorite to lead the NFL in receiving yards for a third straight year
  • Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins closely trail Thomas, while Tom Brady’s arrival in Tampa Bay has boosted Chris Godwin and Mike Evans
  • Get all the odds and insight into who offers the most value in the NFL receiving yards odds in the story below

Michael Thomas has a tough act to follow in 2020 after enjoying a career year in 2019. The New Orleans Saints wide receiver led the NFL by a wide margin with 1,725 receiving yards and has opened as the favorite to do it again in 2020, sporting attractive +600 odds to rack up the most receiving yards during the 2020 NFL campaign in the NFL player performance futures.

Odds to Lead NFL in Receiving Yards

Player Odds
Michael Thomas +600
Julio Jones +800
DeAndre Hopkins +900
Chris Godwin +1000
Mike Evans +1000
Odell Beckham Jr. +1200
Tyreek Hill +1200
Davante Adams +1400
Adam Thielen +1600
Amari Cooper +1600
DeVante Parker +1600
DK Metcalf +1600
Keenan Allen +1800
Kenny Golladay +1800
TY Hilton +1800
Juju Smith Schuster +2000
Stefon Diggs +2000
Cooper Kupp +2500
George Kittle +2500
Travis Kelce +2500
Will Fuller +2500
AJ Green +3300
Allen Robinson +3300
Courtland Sutton +3300
Deebo Samuel +3300
Emmanuel Sanders +3300
Jarvis Landry +3300
Sterling Shepard +3300
Zach Ertz +3300
DJ Clark +4000
DJ Moore +4000
AJ Brown +5000
Alshon Jeffrey +5000
Brandin Cooks +5000
Calvin Ridley +5000
Darren Waller +5000
Golden Tate +5000
Julian Edelman +5000
Larry Fitzgerald +5000
Marquise Brown +5000
Mike Williams +5000
Robert Woods +5000
Sammy Watkins +5000
Tyler Boyd +5000
Tyler Lockett +5000
Tyrell Williams +5000
Jamison Crowder +6600
John Ross +6600
Terry McLaurin +6600

*Odds taken April 8, 2020

Thomas Coming Off Career Year

Pegged as a lengthy +1000 bet prior to the start of the season, Thomas earned serious NFL MVP consideration in 2019 while compiling the sixth-most receiving yards in a season in NFL history. The 27-year-old also set NFL records for most receptions (149) and highest catch percentage (80.5) in a season. Thomas particularly rose to the occasion while Saints quarterback Drew Brees was sidelined for five games with a hand injury, averaging over 110 receiving yards and catching three scoring passes to lead New Orleans to five straight wins during that stretch.

With the Saints strengthening their receiving corps by signing veteran Emmanuel Sanders during the offseason, concerns have been raised about whether Thomas will be targeted less in 2020. While that is a real possibility, the addition of Sanders likely also means that Thomas will have to endure far less double coverage as opposing defenses scramble to counter a downfield threat that also includes Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook. And while the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year may end up making fewer catches, he could be well-positioned to see a big increase in the 583 yards after catch that he piled up in 2019.

While the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year may end up making fewer catches, he could be well positioned to see a big increase in the 583 yards after catch that he piled up in 2019

Thomas is not without considerable competition in his bid to lead the NFL in receiving yards for a third straight year. Two-time NFL receiving yards leader Julio Jones closely trails Thomas with +800 odds, just ahead of DeAndre Hopkins at +900, while Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates Mike Evans and Chris Godwin trail at +1000.

Could Gurley’s Arrival Impact Jones?

Jones played a key role in the Atlanta Falcons’ season-ending four-game winning streak, averaging 111 receiving yards per game over that stretch to finish second to Thomas with 1,394 receiving yards on the season. And like Thomas, Jones continued to produce despite seeing Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan hobbled by an ankle injury.

However, unlike Thomas, a key offseason acquisition may lead to a change in game plan in Atlanta. The Falcons addressed a major deficiency by signing free agent running back Todd Gurley. The addition of the two-time NFL rushing touchdowns leader comes after the team finished 2019 ranked 30th in the NFL with just 85.1 rushing yards per game, and only 10 scoring runs.

Also complicating matters for Jones is the challenging road schedule that the Falcons will face in the upcoming season, which features visits to Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City, and Minnesota.

Hopkins Gets New Lease on Life in the Desert

Hopkins looks toward the 2020 season with a new lease on life after getting dealt to Arizona by the Houston Texans last month. One of just five receivers to make over 100 catches last season, the four-time All-Pro is expected to be a downfield game-changer in the desert.

Hopkins’ arrival bolsters a Cardinals receiving corps that already features veteran Larry Fitzgerald, and youngsters Andy Isabella and Christian Kirk, and should help Kyler Murray take the next step after closing out his rookie campaign on a high note by leading the Cardinals to wins in two of their final three contests. However, with the Cardinals remaining a work in progress, it will be tough for Hopkins to keep pace with Thomas in the receiving yards race.

Evans, Godwin will Miss Jameis Winston

Meanwhile, in Tampa Bay, it remains to be seen how Evans and Godwin will fare while receiving passes from new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. The duo combined to rack up 2,490 receiving yards last season while being targeted by quarterback Jameis Winston, who closed out the season with an NFL-high 5,109 passing yards.

While the arrival of Brady has raised the expectations of Bucs fans substantially and boosted the team’s stock at the sportsbooks, where they now sport dramatically improved +1600 average odds to win Super Bowl 55, Brady has seen his passing yardage steadily decline in recent years. And with the 42-year-old relying heavily on short passes to generate yardage, both Evans and Godwin would likely have to see a massive boost in their yards after catch production to enter the conversation as receiving yards leader.

Thomas Offering Substantial Value, for Now

Further down the receiving yards leader odds, Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill and Dallas Cowboys’ wideout Amari Cooper represent intriguing options, sporting +1200 and +1600 odds respectively, while Minnesota’s Adam Thielen’s return to health makes him a solid +1600 value bet. However, it remains tough to look past Thomas. With the Saints’ Super Bowl window remaining wide open, and the addition of veteran downfield help, expect his attractive +600 odds to shorten dramatically once the regular season gets underway.

Pick: Michael Thomas (+600)

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