2018 Super Bowl Prop Bets: Handicapping the Rushing Propositions
I love Super Bowl props, but I have to admit that those to do with rushing always capture my attention the least. I'm not sure why they are less interesting than the others, and really it's my own shortcoming because there can be plenty of value to be had here - like in all props. So, let's put aside my personal feelings, and look at the most interesting Super Bowl rushing props that Bovada and BetOnline have on offer this year:
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Who will record the most rushing yards: Jay Ajayi is favored at -140, with Dion Lewis next at +140. Some might make an argument for LeGarrette Blount at +500, but as I see things it only makes sense to stick the featured backs. And Ajayi is, provided he is healthy, the logical favorite. The Pats have a tendency to sell out on one aspect of defending to create stress, and given the stakes and the inconsistency it seems likely they will focus on making Nick Foles uncomfortable. That should give Ajayi some room to shine, and as we will discuss later he is a big play guy. Heading into the playoffs I would have looked towards Lewis quite comfortably, but he has been basically an afterthought so far in the playoffs. Of course, with Josh McDaniels in charge of the offense we could see that continue or he could be the center of everything. I wouldn't hate a bet on him at this price, but I am more likely to pass on the prop.
Total rushing yards - Jay Ajayi ("over/under" 62.5): This is a challenging number. Ajayi has only gone over this number in four of his nine games as an Eagle, and he had failed to exceed it in three straight before doing so last time out. The issue isn't that he hasn't been productive - his yards per carry are strong. It's that he isn't getting a lot of carries in this offense. My gut tells me he is going to see more this game because Philadelphia will look to establish the run to take pressure off of Foles. The over is at -125, so there isn't a lot of value to be had, but the over still feels like the play.
Total rushing yards - LeGarrette Blount (o/u 29.5): Blount feels very wronged by how his time in New England ended, and a lot of people seem to think he'll be running angry as a result and will have a big day. I don't really buy into that. The only time in his last seven that he has gone over that total was in the season finale against the Cowboys - a 6-0 debacle that neither team bothered to show up and which Ajayi didn't even play in. Blount just isn't trusted, and Doug Pederson isn't the kind of coach to care about the anger angle here. I like the under at -105. Quite a lot.
Total rushing yards - Dion Lewis (o/u 54.5): I don't see how we don't go with the over here. He has exceeded this number on four of his last five, and the only time he didn't was against Jacksonville when the team was in no shape to run for the second half and a good portion of the first. Lewis only had nine carries in that game, and he will have solidly more now. The over is only at -115 and it is a comfortable play.
More rushing yards - Nick Foles or Tom Brady: This is just hilarious - Foles has minus-two yards rushing in his two playoff games this year, while Brady has two yards. To bet on one of these guys to get more yards would be like betting which is softer - granite or concrete. Even Dan Marino thinks both of these guys suck at running. If you for any reason think that this is a bet that is worth your attention or your money then you need to take a step back and look in the mirror.
Longest rush - Jay Ajayi (o/u 14.5): Ajayi has been the most productive back the Eagles have had since he joined the team from the Dolphins midseason. He has appeared in nine games and has gone over this total in six of them - while falling just short at 14 yards in a seventh game. He's a back who breaks runs. There is some concern that he won't be ready to be at his best because he is dealing with a banged-up ankle. The team seems to be more cautious than concerned, though, so the over here seems like a reasonable play.
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