NFL Betting Predictions: Second-Year Running Back Props
by Alan Matthews - 9/7/2010
Bodog has released player props on nearly every skill position player in the NFL, and I thought this prop was unique enough to share with you along with an NFL betting prediction:
Which of these second-year running backs will record the most rushing yards in the 2010 NFL regular season?
Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals: +200
Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos: +550
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles: +350
Shonn Greene, New York Jets: -150
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Wells rushed for 793 yards on 176 carries last year, Moreno had 947 yards on 247 carries, McCoy tallied 637 yards on 155 carries and Greene had 540 yards on 108 carries.
So why is Greene the favorite despite having the fewest yards and carries of this group? That’s because he is expected to be the workhorse on a run-dominant team like Thomas Jones was last year; of course the Jets didn’t want to pay Jones and he’s now a Chief.
Greene didn’t really do much last regular season – other than a 144-yard day in Week 7 against the Raiders – but then blew up in the Jets’ run to the AFC title game. The former Iowa star rushed for 135 yards in the Wild-Card Round win over Cincinnati and then 128 yards in the divisional round upset of San Diego; Greene's 53-yard touchdown run against the Chargers proved to be the winning score and the second-longest TD run in Jets postseason history. That was enough for Jets officials to see and feel comfortable letting Jones walk away even though he was the main reason the Jets led the NFL in rushing last year. And there’s no doubt the Jets should be among the top running teams again for a few reasons: 1) They have arguably the best offensive line in the NFL; 2) That’s how coach Rex Ryan likes to play – New York has the second-highest average of rushing attempts this preseason; and 3) Mark Sanchez still looks a bit shaky at times, meaning the Jets would love to throw as little as possible.
Still, I wouldn’t recommend Greene despite that trio of reasons because of the apparent fountain of youth that LaDainian Tomlinson has found. LT has looked tremendous this preseason with a team-high 129 yards rushing on 22 carries (a 5.9-yards-per-carry average). Greene, by comparison, has 92 yards on 23 carries (4.0 ypc). Clearly Tomlinson has earned a bigger workload than was first expected.
I wouldn’t recommend Wells, either. He’s going to share time with Tim Hightower, who is currently listed as the No. 1 back on the official team depth chart. Wells has 27 carries for 75 yards in the preseason while Hightower has 88 yards on 21 carries. The Cards as a whole have been lousy running the ball, ranking 28th in the NFL this preseason. And it’s not like teams are overly scared of QB Derek Anderson, so most will probably emphasize stopping the run and Larry Fitzgerald and making Anderson beat them.
That price on Moreno is pretty attractive, but he suffered a slight hamstring tear on Aug. 1 and is just recently back practicing with the team. He seems a bit injury-prone – he also was hurt in camp last year – and I don’t happen to think the Broncos will be very good, which could limit his touches if they are always coming from behind. Plus, he will lose some carries to Correll Buckhalter.
That leaves McCoy, and he’s the right choice. The Eagles offense should be very good and they seem likely to run a bit more this year, at least until Kevin Kolb is fully in tune with the offense. McCoy has rushed for 78 yards on 19 carries this preseason and is the unquestioned featured back with Brian Westbrook gone. Mike Bell will take a few carries, but not too many. McCoy isn’t a great short-yardage back – Bell or Leonard Weaver could vulture those goal-line carries – but is the biggest home-run threat of the four backs in this prop. Eleven percent of McCoy's runs last season went for 10-plus yards, good for 22nd in the NFL. Not bad for a guy who only reached 20 carries twice.
Jason Sharpe is gearing up for his first season releasing his expert football picks at Doc’s Sports, but in now way is he new to the game – he has been beating the Las Vegas bookies for years as a professional sports bettor in Sin City. He has become known by those bookies for his college football and NFL handicapping capabilities, and now he wants to share these with Doc’s Sports. He expects to beat the majority of NFL point spreads this season and he plans on dominating the college football betting landscape as well!
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