Calvin Johnson is so head-and-shoulders above the rest of the receivers in the NFL – literally and figuratively – that oddsmakers haven’t bothered matching up the Detroit Lions WR with any other wideout in their head-to-head receiving yard props.
There are, however, a ton of intriguing WR battles available for prop bettors this summer. Here are some of our favorite matchups:
Most total receiving yards
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (+105) vs. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (-125)
Johnson has been a short sale on many NFL props this offseason, even though he finished second in receiving yards last year. The Texans’ WR played all 16 games for the first time since 2009 and as long as QB Matt Schaub stays healthy, Johnson should be among the top downfield threats.
Green is growing up quickly despite playing in the defensive house of pain known as the AFC North. He reeled in 1,350 yards on 97 catches in his second year in the pros and is expected to take another step up after Cincinnati added some talent around him, taking the defensive pressure off Green.
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears (-150) vs. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (+130)
Marshall tallied 1,508 yards – third most in the NFL – last season, which was a career high and franchise record for the Bears WR. He was targeted 194 times, tied for second most in the league, reeling in 118 of those passes and could be even busier with new head coach Marc Trestman installing an up-tempo attack.
Thomas didn’t take too long to develop timing with Peyton Manning, posting seven 100-plus yard games in 2012. He recorded 1,434 total yards and ranked 13th in the NFL in receiving. Those numbers could decline with Wes Welker coming aboard. Welker was the most popular target in the league while with the Patriots, and will be taking catches away from Thomas.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (+240) vs. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (-280)
Davis totaled 144 yards from Weeks 11 to 17, which was when Colin Kaepernick took over as the Niners’ No.1. He had 404 total yards before that – going from 40.4 yards per game to 20.5. Davis was a monster in the postseason, with 100-yard performances in the NFC title game and Super Bowl, and reportedly has a bigger role in the offense this year.
Graham is on track to be the next Hall of Fame tight end, topping the NFL in receiving yards at his position in 2011 and finishing with 982 yards – behind Jason Witten – in 2012. New Orleans is thin at receiver, so Graham should see his share of passes. And it never hurts to have Drew Brees passing the ball either. He’s topped the NFL in passing yards the last two years.
Odds courtesy of William Hill Sportsbooks Nevada.