With many futures bets being placed throughout the offseason, and bets rapidly increasing as we approach a month from the regular season, a very fun bet that usually holds a lot of interest for most football fans and bettors, is the NFL rushing leader. Most people I talk to or who are reading this article participate in fantasy football and often keep an up to do tabs on which running backs are performing and not performing.
When picking the top running back in the NFL for the upcoming season, a lot of factors come into play. Who has a favorable schedule? Who will have game script that support a heavy rushing game? Which offensive line benefits their running backs the most? Who splits touches and who does most of the heavy lifting? Understanding these factors will better determine who to bet on and who to steer clear of. Let’s look at the 2022 NFL rushing leader odds: (Odds courtesy of docsports.com and oddshark.com )
2022 NFL Rushing Yards Leader Odds
|Jonathan Taylor, IND
|Derrick Henry, TEN
|Dalvin Cook, MIN
|Nick Chubb, CLE
|Joe Mixon, CIN
|Najee Harris, PIT
|Elijah Mitchell, SF
|Javonte Williams, DEN
|Antonio Gibson, WAS
|Damien Harris, NE
|Cam Akers, LAR
|Ezekiel Elliot, DAL
|Austin Ekeler, LAC
|Christian McCaffrey, CAR
|Saquon Barkley, NYG
Odds have been taken from the Caesars Sportsbook, Bet MGM and Draft Kings
Jonathan Taylor +425
Last season saw Jonathan Taylor live up to his phenomenal college career, where he finished 6th on the all-time NCAA rushing list. Going into last year, there were concerns that Taylor would not be the bell cow of the Colts offense. However, after solidifying his role, Taylor went on a complete tear, rushing for 1,485 yards in his last 12 games and averaging 5.73 yards per carry. Taylor plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football and with an offense that is focused on his production. At just 23, age is still on his side. It sounds crazy to say, but after 27 as a running back it is extremely hard to keep up with the production in your mid and lower 20s. After leading the league in carries last year, it is easy to see why Taylor has the best odds to repeat.
Derrick Henry +600
After winning the NFL rushing title in both 2019 and 2020, last year started the same way, King Henry, as many refer to him as, was the undisputed favorite midway through 2021 to three-peat, but a Week 8 injury held him out for the remainder of the season. Henry still finished top 10 in the NFL in rushing despite playing only eight games, which is incredible. Henry is now 28, so to win the rushing title at this age would defy odds. Only two times has the winner been over 26 in the last 10 years, both done by Adrian Peterson. With his workload over the past few years, it would be surprising to see Henry stay healthy all of 2022.
Nick Chubb +1000
Chubb might be the best pure running back in the NFL. However, the situation in Cleveland does not look pretty. He finished 8th in carries last year, and the Browns typically like to run a dual back package in their offense. He still averaged 5.5 yards per carry, which is incredible, and has finished 2nd in rushing yards in two of the last three seasons. Depending on who the quarterback is in Cleveland could indicate a lot as well, as Deshaun Watson will be serving a lengthy suspension.
Saquon Barkley +4500
It feels like Saquon Barkley has been in the NFL forever……. But he still only 25 years old with freaky speed and skill. It is hard not to get excited about his potential every August. Since 2018, Barkley has been plagued with injury after injury. After being one of the most talked about and anticipated running backs to enter the NFL in the past 20 years, Barkley has only disappointed. To try and protect Barkley, the Giants have significantly upgraded their offensive line and have made coaching changes. His ability is undeniable. And at +4500, it offers great value to a player who possess all the components of leading the NFL in rushing.
Elijah Mitchell +2000
After breaking into the NFL last season, Elijah Mitchell quickly made his stamp as an elite running back in the NFL. With a crowded backfield in San Francisco, Mitchell made it known that this is his spot to lose in 2022. He averaged 87.5 yards per game, which ranked him 5th in the NFL last season. And if weren’t for getting hurt, he was on pace for 320 carries over 17 games. To pick the NFL’s rushing leader, the statistics say you need to pick someone who will get at least 21 carries a game, and the 49ers offense will facilitate that to Mitchell next year if he stays healthy. Year after year, the 49ers offense is near the top in the NFL. With the offensive scheme by coach Kyle Shannan and their very strong offensive line, Mitchell gives you one of the best values on the board for next season.
Staying healthy and being a key part to the offense are unwritten rules that need to happen to win the rushing title. Among the rushing leaders over the past five seasons, Henry has been the most impressive with a 2,027-yard season in 2020. Another note is that over the past 10 seasons, the average age of the rushing leader has been 24.7. Four of the top five favorites are over that age marker in Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb and Joe Mixon, who are all over the age of 26. Picking who is going to stay healthy is difficult, but picking who will be heavily involved in the offense is not, Goodluck on your picks!