Expert NFL Picks for 2018 Rushing Props with Odds and Predictions
What we are doing here is simple - we are looking at the top running backs in the NFL, figuring out who is going to rush for the most yards this season, looking at the odds of them doing so, and getting rich by betting on the winner. Or something like that, anyway. ( Odds are from Bovada ):
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (+285): Elliott is an obvious popular pick after running for 983 yards despite being active for only 10 games last year. But the truth is that he had 242 carries in those 10 games - just 30 fewer than the rushing champ last year. He wasn't hugely efficient, rushing for just 4.1 yards per carry - a fine number, but not among the very elite - and he can't likely keep up a very heavy workload for 16 games without consequences. It's hard, then, to see where a massive increase in yardage comes from. This is a very easy pass for me at this price.
Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (+550): Bell again did not get a long-term deal from the Steelers and is currently skipping training camp for the second straight year. Last year it took Bell at least three games to look like himself after rejoining the team, and he's not getting younger, so that isn't likely to get faster. And the atmosphere around him and the team isn't likely to be particularly sunny, either. He's a big part of the offense but not the only option, and that doesn't help. He may be the best back in the league, but he is far from the best bet right now.
Todd Gurley, L.A. Rams (+600): Gurley is now a very rich man on what could be a very good team. Last year he fell just 22 yards short of the title, and you know he'll be motivated by that. He fumbled five times, which is far too many, but working on that will have a positive impact on his yardage as well. I like him at this price - certainly more than the first two.
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (+850): I just don't see it. He ran for less than four yards per carry last year, and I don't have total faith that he can manage a heavier workload and stay healthy given his build. No value here.
David Johnson, Arizona (+900): After going very high in every fantasy draft out there, Johnson was lost for the season after taking just 11 snaps. Ouch. On the plus side, going down so early gave him plenty of time to heal before this season. But the list of backs who haven't been the same after returning from a major injury isn't a short one, and Johnson will have a pretty underwhelming team supporting him. I respect his talent but can't suggest betting on him at this price.
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City (+950): He was the champ last year, running for an impressive 4.9 yards per carry, yet he's well down the list. He obviously isn't viewed as a truly elite back. He is dealing with some hamstring issues in camp which must be a concern, but the guy was a major threat as a rookie, so there is definitely upside. I don't think I'll bet the price, but someone should.
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (+1000): He's a freakish talent, but I don't think he's a real threat in this race. For one thing, he's more multidimensional than a lot of backs on this list, so he doesn't just shine with rushing yards. And the offense for the Giants could be so bad through the air this year that opposing defenses can commit to limiting his options more than they normally would be able to.
Jordan Howard, Chicago (+2500): You like long shots? Well, bet on Howard. In two seasons the Indiana product has 1,313 and 1,122 yards, so he has clear talent. Mitch Trubisky should take a step forward, which will take some defensive focus off the back in some spots. And Matt Nagy, the offensive coordinator who took Kareem Hunt from third-round pick out of Toledo to NFL rushing champ in one season, is now Howard's coach. The potential chemistry between those two is impressive. This price is far too high, and the value here is real.
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