New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas will miss “weeks" at the start of the 2021 NFL regular season after reportedly undergoing surgery to repair ankle ligaments in June. He was recommended to take four months of recovery, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, which could cause him to miss at least a few games.
The three-time Pro Bowler led the league with 149 receptions and 1,725 yards in 2019 but missed nine games in 2020 due to a Week 1 high-ankle sprain that cost him the next six games. He then sat for the final three contests after aggravating the injury.
The Saints managed to make the playoffs last season with Thomas and quarterback Drew Brees inactive most weeks, but Brees is now retired, and Thomas’ continued health problems jeopardize their future. This borderline
All New Orleans Saints bet odds are current as of 10:30 a.m. ET on Friday, July 23, at BetMGM.
- How will this injury impact Michael Thomas and other Saints players’ fantasy seasons? Check out our Saints Fantasy Football Outlook and how Michael Thomas’ ankle surgery impacts it
How Michael Thomas Injury Changes Saints Prop Bets
Saints Super Bowl LVI Winner Odds
Over at BetMGM, the New Orleans Saints sit at (+4000) to win Super Bowl LVI in 2020.
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The Saints were already a midrange option to win the Super Bowl, given the Brees retirement and uncertainty at quarterback heading into the season. Thomas’ injury will do nothing to improve the outlook here.
Saints 2021 Win Total Bet
- Over 9 Wins (-115)
- Under 9 Wins (-105)
See if the Under 9 Wins bet is still up there when you read this. Toss a light bet on it due to the QB conundrum.
Saints 2021 ‘Make Playoffs’ Bet
- Playoffs Yes (-105)
- Playoffs No (-115)
These likely will leave the board at BetMGM, with the Saints’ ‘Playoffs No’ and Under 9 Wins looking like bigger favorites for as long as they last.
The early part of the season isn’t easy, either, with an opening schedule of Green Bay Packers; at Carolina Panthers; at New England Patriots; vs. New York Giants, and at Washington Football Team before a saving grace of a Week 6 bye. That early rest week would allow the Saints to bide a bit of time while he recovers.
They managed to reach the postseason without Thomas and Brees last season, but it’ll be tough to ask them to do that again in the NFC South. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are strongly positioned to chase a second straight Super Bowl title, and the Panthers have the talent to take a step forward.
How Michael Thomas Injury Hurts His 2021 Prop Bets
Michael Thomas 2021 player prop bets have been removed from the board at BetMGM and most likely other NFL sports betting outlets.
Michael Thomas (+2500) for 2021 NFL Offensive Player of the Year (BetRivers) was already a long shot due to the offensive changes, but it’s an even worse idea to bet this now.
With the trading markets shifting, the Under will make the most sense for most of his 2021 stat categories but also provide much less return on investment. That being said, it’s wisest to fade injury recovery time, especially something as murky as Thomas’ situation that has already proven to linger over a full season.
Those who have a throwaway bet with which to play randomness could roll with the Over on his touchdown total. It’s the best possible advantage to score a surprise. +EV victory, as a big late-season game or two could propel him to, say, a 6- or 7-touchdown year.
I’d jump at ‘Michael Thomas: Over 5.5 touchdowns,’ for example, if that manifests.
How Michael Thomas Injury Impacts Saints QB Battle
- Jameis Winston (-275)
- Taysom Hill (+180)
- Ian Book (+3500)
- Trevor Siemian (+3500)
With Thomas set to miss time, Sean Payton’s offense could tilt even further toward the already strong run game. (More on this below.)
This means betting Taysom Hill To Start Week 1 (+180) has become much more alluring. Hill did just enough last season to ensure a Saints training camp competition with Jameis Winston, and the Saints might want to return to an offense that proved competent without Thomas in the lineup for most of last year.
Winston would need a true “alpha" wide receiver to perform well. Tre’Quan Smith and tight end Adam Trautman have been touted as possible breakout candidates, but without Thomas, they’re likelier to draw more attention from defenses out of the gate. Be careful targeting these props, as they’re not the priorities in the offense.
Speaking of …
How Michael Thomas Injury Changes Alvin Kamara + Latavius Murray 2021 Prop Bets
As with Thomas’ own props, Alvin Kamara props and Latavius Murray prop bets are likely to be off the board while the traders adjust.
The likely solidification of Murray’s complementary use could provide a buying opportunity if his yardage and/or touchdown Over/Unders don’t soar too high with this news.
Kamara’s case is a bit trickier. He was much better last year with Brees under center (see that six-TD Week 16 that sealed many fantasy football titles) than Hill, who often took away rushing opportunities in the red zone.
If Hill starts, expect a still-great season but likely falling short of leading the league in touchdowns. If Winston takes snaps, Kamara should be used more frequently as a receiver, which plays to his strength.