NFL Player Props: Who Will Win This Year’s Rushing Yard Title? By Richard Gardner, Bodog Sportsbook Manager.
There’s a reason the annual NFL rushing title is regarded with such great honor. To take home the crown, a running back must accomplish several things – stay healthy, be consistent, endure 16 games of harsh physical abuse and, as the last few seasons have suggested, carry the ball a minimum of 300 times.
It’s a tough task for even the most talented back, and the NFL is full of talented backs. This is why we’ve got so many quality betting options available right now in the Bodog Sportsbook for our 2010 NFL Regular Season — Most Rushing Yards prop.
Unsurprisingly, the early betting favorites are the last two winners of the NFL rushing title – Tennessee’s Chris Johnson (who won it in 2009 with 2006 yards) and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (the 2008 champ who ran for 1760 yards). The public has been all over these two throughout the preseason and as a result, both are listed as 3/1 co-favorites to take home the honor.
There isn’t much between the two, but when assessing the overall handle it appears a few more wagers are being placed on Johnson. It’s easy to see why. He’s coming off an absolutely monstrous 2009 – he carried the ball a league-high 358 times, 27 more than his closest competitor – and works behind Tennessee’s solid offensive line. LT Michael Roos was a Pro Bowl alternate last season and the unit is led by line coach Mike Munchak, who has coached the Titans’ o-line since 1997 and produced a 1,000-yard rusher in every season. The Titans like to run the ball and they’ve got a tough, speed-merchant-type back to run it. This is why Johnson is so highly regarded by the betting public.
Not to dismiss the potential Peterson has, however. In his brief three-year career, AP has run for at least 1300 yards per season and carries the ball a ton. Yes, last year was an injury-plagued one, but the sharps in the betting community are banking on a bounce-back season for Peterson, thanks in large part to the injury to Vikings WR Sidney Rice. Rice was outstanding in the Minnesota passing game a year ago, hauling in 1,312 receiving yards and eight TDs. But with Rice out for up to eight weeks (hip surgery), many feel the Minnesota offense will return to the ground and focus on Peterson. There are a lot of reasons why the Vikings would go with this “meat-and-potatoes” approach – they have a stacked o-line with Pro Bowlers Steve Hutchinson (LG) and Bryant McKinnie (LT) and feature one of the biggest linemen in the league in Phil Loadholt (6-foot-8, 343 pounds).
Outside of Johnson and Peterson, there are a few others running backs keep an eye on. Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew (10/1) is coming off a career-high 1,391 yards; San Francisco’s Frank Gore (10/1) could be primed for his first 300+ carry season since 2006 and Baltimore’s Ray Rice (12/1) exploded onto the scene a year ago with over 1,300 yards and a 5.3 yards-per-carry average.
As for our pick on this NFL rushing yard prop bet, Frank Gore at 10 to 1 offers the best value in our opinion. Be sure to signup for our winning NFL picks this season. Weekly predictions from expert handicappers that make their living playing these same games we give out to our clients.