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A look at NFL handicapping with the PFW editor lobbying to become Las Vegas bureau chief.

Rushing-title odds: Johnson value as favorite, Turner intriguing longshot

Posted July 03, 2010 @ 5 p.m.
Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening

When spending four days in Las Vegas last week, I picked up The Venetian's NFL player props — odds on the winners of the NFL's rushing, passing and receiving yards champions for 2010.

Below are The Venetian's rushing-title odds, along with the number of rushing yards each of the players listed accumulated last season. I've also included each player's average rushing yards per game. The running backs are listed in order of rushing yards gained in the 2009 regular season:

 

Player

2010 odds*

        2009 Rushing Yards

      Yards Per Game

Chris Johnson

5

2006

125.4

Steven Jackson

8

1416

94.4

Thomas Jones

14

1402

87.6

Maurice Jones-Drew

8

1391

86.9

Adrian Peterson

5

1383

86.4

Ray Rice

12

1339

83.7

Ryan Grant

35

1253

78.3

Cedric Benson

40

1251

96.2

Jonathan Stewart

15

1133

70.8

Ricky Williams

50

1121

70.1

Frank Gore

14

1120

80.0

Jamaal Charles

35

1120

74.7

DeAngelo Williams

35

1117

85.9

Rashard Mendenhall

20

1108

69.2

Fred Jackson

75

1062

66.4

Knowshon Moreno

25

947

59.2

Marion Barber

75

932

62.1

Michael Turner

20

871

79.2

Jerome Harrison

75

862

61.6

Brandon Jacobs

35

835

55.7

Joseph Addai

40

828

55.2

Cadillac Williams

200

823

51.4

Pierre Thomas

45

793

56.6

Beanie Wells

35

793

49.6

Kevin Smith

125

747

57.5

LaDainian Tomlinson

55

730

52.1

Felix Jones

65

685

48.9

Julius Jones

200

663

47.4

Ronnie Brown

50

648

72.0

LeSean McCoy

50

637

39.8

Reggie Bush

125

589

27.9

Larry Johnson

200

581

41.5

Clinton Portis

75

494

61.8

Marshawn Lynch

65

450

34.6

Darren McFadden

150

357

29.8

Donald Brown

70

281

25.5

Glen Coffee

50

226

16.1

LenDale White

75

222

17.1

Field

20

                               N/A

                        N/A

C.J. Spiller

50

                               N/A

                        N/A

* — odds listed as of June 17.

After giving the odds and the statistics a look, I found five interesting plays.

Considering that he rushed for nearly 600 yards more than any other back last season and that he figures again to get a lot of carries, 5-1 is not a bad price on Titans RB Chris Johnson, especially if he participates in at least some of the Titans' preseason preparations. 

Also, three relative longshots by the odds look like good values: Falcons RB Michael Turner (20-1), Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (35-1) and Bengals RB Cedric Benson (40-1). 

In my view, Turner is more like a 10- or 12-1 shot to win the rushing title; he fell just 62 yards from winning the '08 rushing-yards title, and he missed five whole games and significant parts of three others with an ankle injury last season. Another interesting thing: In a recent interview with SI.com, Turner said was out of shape last season. "I was heavy, too heavy," he said. According to the SI.com story, Turner is back at 250 pounds and is watching his diet.

Benson is also a decent play at the price, even after his arrest this week on an assault charge stemming from an alleged altercation in Austin, Texas in May. Benson was very productive last season — only Chris Johnson racked up more rushing yards per game.

Williams has to contend with Johnathan Stewart for carries, but again, at the price, he could be worth a flier.

To me, the other intriguing proposition is the "Field" — or all other non-listed betting interests — at 20-1. The field includes, among other runners, Eagles RB Mike Bell, Lions RB Jahvid Best, Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Broncos RB Correll Buckhalter, Raiders RB Michael Bush, Seahawks RB Justin Forsett, Bears RB Matt Forté, Texans RB Arian Foster, Jets RB Shonn Greene, Browns RB Montario Hardesty, Cardinals RB Tim Hightower, Patriots RB Laurence Maroney, Chargers RB Ryan Mathews, Patriots RB Sammie Morris, Redskins RB Willie Parker, Texans RB Steve Slaton, Texans RB Ben Tate, Bears RB Chester Taylor and Patriots RB Fred Taylor and Seahawks RB Leon Washington.

Mathews, expected to get a lot of work as a rookie in a potent San Diego offense, and Greene, the NFL's leading rusher in the postseason in 2009, are the standouts of this group.

 

 

 

 

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