Ezekiel Elliot has won two of the last three rushing titles. Had he not been suspended for six games, he would have probably won a third. While his offensive line is not as good as it was his rookie season, it is still good enough to help him win a fourth title this season.
When the season kicked off last week, he was favored to do just that. But due to his holdout, he didn’t get a full workload in Week One (13 carries, 53 yards). So, he is going to have some work to do in the weeks ahead.
But with how productive other guys were in Week One, Elliot is no longer favored to lead the league in rushing this season (odds via 888sport.com as of September 13):
- Saquon Barkley +350
- Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott +600
- Derrick Henry +1200
- Todd Gurley, Marlon Mack +1400
- Christian McCaffrey +1600
- Chris Carson +2000
- Le’ Veon Bell, Nick Chubb +2200
- Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon +2500
- David Johnson +2800
- Leonard Fournette, Sony Michel +3000
- Malcolm Brown, James Conner, Austin Ekeler, Kerryon Johnson, LeSean McCoy +3300
- Mark Ingram, Josh Jacobs +4000
- Matt Breida, Devonta Freeman, Duke Johnson, Aaron Jones, Damien Williams +5000
- Phillip Lindsay +6600
- David Montgomery +7000
- Miles Sanders, Devin Singletary +8000
- Peyton Barber, Darrell Henderson, Carlos Hyde, Lamar Jackson +10000
- Jordan Howard, Adrian Peterson +12500
- Melvin Gordon, Rashaad Penny +15000
- Derrius Guice +20000
- Tarik Cohen, Kenyan Drake, Ronald Jones II +25000
So—which guys have value? Who has a shot at being the next rushing champion of the NFL?
- Marlon Mack: The Colts running back is the current leader after Week One with 174 yards on 25 carries. While he is not going to continue averaging seven yards a carry, the Colts are probably going to run more this season than they usually do. With a top-five offensive line, they should.
- Dalvin Cook: There were high expectations for him coming out of Florida State. But injuries and play-calling/scheme have kept him from becoming as good as he can be. He had a good showing against the Falcons last week, though (111 yards on 21 carries). If he can continue to run as well as he did in that game, he could have a shot.
- Ezekiel Elliot: He didn’t get the carries last week because of his holdout. But you know he will get the carries going forward. His odds are not going to be longer than they are now.
- Mark Ingram: Everyone wants to talk about Lamar Jackson, but Mark Ingram is going to be the key to the success of the Ravens this season. He will not continue to rush for 7.6 yards a carry like he did last week (14 carries, 107 yards), but he will get the opportunities behind a very good offensive line this year.
Our Betting Tips/Prediction
Don’t count on Saquon Barkley to maintain a high enough level of production in the run game to lead the league. Neither will Todd Gurley due to his knee issues. While Christian McCaffrey looked like he may be a good bet in Week One, he didn’t look like one against the Buccaneers in Week Two.
The Titans offense is too unpredictable for Derrick Henry to be a serious candidate. But Elliot’s odds are not going to be any longer than they are now—so put your money down before they get shorter.
Other than Elliot, Marlon Mack has the most value. The Colts will probably lean on the run game more this season to try and help Jacoby Brissett out as much as possible. With the offensive line the Colts have and enough carries, Mack could get the job done.
At +1400, he is worth a bet.