You’ve got to throw the pigskin to keep pace in the NFL these days. Only three teams ran the ball more than 50 percent of the time in 2012, and even those clubs are looking to pass a lot more in 2013.
Total bettors should keep a close eye on teams turning up the intensity and airing it out, finding added value in betting the over in their early games. Here are three run-heavy offenses looking to the skies.
Seattle Seahawks (11-5 SU, 8-8-0 over/under)
Pass offense: 27th (189.4 ypg)
Rush offense: 3rd (161.2 ypg)
The Seahawks were the most rush-heavy offense in the NFL last season, handing the ball off on 54.24 percent of their plays. Marshawn Lynch rumbled for 1,590 yards and 12 TDs while QB Russell Wilson threw only 393 passes.
Wilson proved himself worthy of more touches down the stretch and was awarded for his efforts by the acquisition of speedster Percy Harvin and a more wide open playbook. He joins breakout WR Golden Tate and Sidney Rice in an impressive Seahawks receiving corps. Seattle went 4-6 over/under in its first 10 games before Wilson got hot and led them to a 5-1 over/under mark after the bye.
San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1 SU, 9-6-0 over/under)
Pass offense: 23rd (206.1 ypg)
Rush offense: 4th (155.7 ypg)
The Niners went 10-1 over/under when Colin Kaepernick took over for the fallen Alex Smith last season. The dynamic dual-threat passed for 1,814 yards but the 49ers still called for the run in 51.51 percent of their offensive plays – third most in the NFL. That helped San Francisco average 155.7 yards on the ground, which was fourth in the league.
This offseason, the Niners are looking for a lot more from Kaepernick under center. The 49ers added Anquan Boldin and still have Mario Manningham and TE Vernon Davis downfield, despite losing Michael Crabtree for the season. Running back Frank Gore could get limited carries with speedy backs LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter catching balls in the flat.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-14 SU, 6-9-0 over/under)
Pass offense: 32nd (169.6 ypg)
Rush offense: 5th (149.7 ypg)
The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t do much well in 2012, besides run the football. They rushed for 149.7 yards an outing, which was fifth best in the league. Kansas City ran 49.26 percent of the time and only threw for 6.2 yards per pass attempt with Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn sharing snaps. An injury to star WR Dwayne Bowe also compounded the passing issues in Arrowhead.
The Chiefs made some of the biggest splashes this offseason, picking up spurned QB Alex Smith and bringing in former Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who ran the ball just 38.28 percent of the time during his last year in Philly. Bowe is back and healthy and Jon Baldwin showed he could be a real weapon. Running back Jamaal Charles will be split carries and catches in the backfield in Reid’s pass-happy playbook.
Check out the NFL Top 3: Pass-happy teams looking to run more