Believe it or not, Adrian Peterson was a +1,200 long shot to win the NFL’s rushing title in 2012. The Minnesota Vikings RB was coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his knee and was a question mark heading into Week 1.
Peterson proved there was plenty of tread on the tires, rushing for 2,097 yards – coming nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record – and earned MVP honors, which is why oddsmakers have “All Day” tabbed as a +350 favorite to lead the league in rushing again in 2013.
But with such one-sided odds in favor of Peterson, value opens up behind him on the NFL prop board. Here are three running backs providing solid betting value to lead the league in rushing this season.
C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (+2,000)
Spiller had only 207 carries in 2012 –22nd in the NFL – but finished eighth in total rushing yards. He split the load with Fred Jackson and had to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick bring drives to a screeching halt with a passing attack ranked 29th in the league. With the Bills settling between Kevin Kolb and rookie E.J. Manuel at QB, Spiller should finally be utilized as Buffalo’s No. 1 – and perhaps only – option on offense.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (+1,000)
Morris had one hell of a rookie season, exploding on to the scene to finish second behind Peterson in rushing yards (1,613). He had just four games in which he failed to crack the 80-yard plateau, with Washington going 2-3 SU and ATS in those outings. They were 6-1 ATS when he topped the century mark on the ground. With Robert Griffin III taking it easy on his wonky knee, Morris could see even more touches in the backfield.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (+1,200)
The man known as “CJ2K” has been a far cry from his 2,000-yard ‘10 campaign. Last year, Johnson limped out to just 45 yards in his first three games but still managed to finish with 1,243 yards on the season. If you drop Week 1-3, he rushed for an average of over 92 yards per game, which would be good enough for fifth last season. Word out of Titans camp is that Johnson is looking good and the addition of some new run-blockers on the line will help pave the road for another big year.
Here is the full list of prop odds for the NFL rushing leader in 2013 (Courtesy of 5Dimes.eu):
Adrian Peterson +350
Marshawn Lynch +650
Arian Foster +800
Alfred Morris +1000
Doug Martin +1000
Trent Richardson +1000
Chris Johnson +1200
Jamaal Charles +1200
Steven Jackson +1200
DeMarco Murray +1500
Lamar Miller +1500
Maurice Jones-Drew +1500
Matt Forte +1500
LeSean McCoy +1800
Ray Rice +1800
C.J. Spiller +2000
Darren McFadden +2000
Eddie Lacy +2000
Frank Gore +2000
David Wilson +2200