You know we are getting close to the Super Bowl when the number of prop bets listed grows exponentially. Of major interest leading up to this game is the offenses. They are so very different in many ways. One is explosive and drives the team while the other just tries to stay out of the way and avoid mistakes while doing enough to win. One is at the top of their game. The other, to be kind, isn't. Given the way the game sets up, the Super Bowl rushing props that are offered are particularly interesting. Here's a breakdown of some of the more interesting ( all odds are from 5Dimes):
C.J. Anderson "over/under" 62.5 rushing yards: In 17 regular season and postseason games, Anderson is averaging 50.8 yards per game. In the regular season he averaged 4.7 yards per carry and is just slightly down at 4.6 ypc in the playoffs. He has been stronger lately, though, with 72 yards in each playoff game, and more than that - 73 and 95 - in his final two regular-season outings. Three of those four outings were against teams worse against the run than the Panthers in terms of yards per carry. Pittsburgh is slightly better, though, and he had a solid 72-yard day and scored a touchdown. The biggest issue Anderson faces, though, is that the Panthers have allowed more than 78 yards of total rushing against just once in their last 11 games and not at all in their last four. They are dialed in. If the Panthers can score early, too, the Broncos may not be able to give Anderson all the carries he needs. Add it all up and I lean towards the under, but I don't see a lot of value.
C.J. Anderson rush attempts o/u 14.5: Anderson has a season high of just 16 carries and has only gone over this total four times. Three of those times have been in his last three games with Manning back in charge, though. The over has a slight edge, but again the value is razor thin at best.
Ronnie Hillman rushing yards o/u 39.5: In his last four games Hillman has gone over this total just once. He had 117 yards against the Chargers in the season finale, but San Diego's horrible run defense was even less aggressive than usual in that game. In the playoffs he is averaging just two yards per carry - against comparable run defenses. Under.
Ronnie Hillman o/u 11.5 rush attempts: He is averaging 13.5 carries a game in the playoffs, but hasn't been effective. In a game in which offense could be at a premium, I struggle to see him as a big part of the offense. Again, the under is the play here.
Jonathan Stewart o/u 68.5 rushing yards: For starters, he is listed as "questionable" on the injury report - for what that's worth. Of course, he has been injured throughout the playoffs, and he has 106 and 83 yards in his two games. He also has an extra week off to recover. I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep over the injury. He has gone over this total in his last four games and in six of his last seven - and still had 68 yards the one time he was under. He is obviously capable. It all comes down to Denver, then. They have the top run defense in the league, allowing just 3.3 yards per carry. Three of the last four opponents have had reasonable success, though - and the Patriots hardly tried for whatever reasons. Stewart faced the second-best run defense in the league, the Bucs, and averaged a gaudy five yards per carry. Seattle is fourth-best in the league, and Stewart had good days against them twice this year. I don't see the Panthers going away from what is working, and Stewart is a big part of that right now. I like the over.
Jonathan Stewart o/u 18.5 rushing attempts: He has gone over this total in 10 of his last 11 games. I like the over.
Mike Tolbert rushing yards o/u 9.5: Tolbert is also listed as "questionable" on the injury report with a knee injury. The fullback doesn't get a lot of carries, but in a tight game he could be the bull that is looked at to convert short third downs. He has gone over this total 12 times this year, including seven of the last eight. Over is mildly interesting.
Cam Newton o/u 40.5 rushing yards: It's fairly likely that Newton will lead the game in rushing yards by a QB - about as likely as the chances that my next breath will involve oxygen. More than that is tough to know, though. Last time out against Arizona he carried 10 times for 47 yards and two scores. Against Seattle the week before, though, he had 11 carries for just three yards. The team doesn't need big rushing days from him - they are 8-1 when he goes over this total and 9-0 when he doesn't. He just does what he needs to do. I'm fascinated by what Carolina's game plan will be, but I just can't see any edge to be had betting in this one. I don't like betting on guesses, and what could happen here is just a guess.
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