The NFL rushing race is more of a war of attrition than anything else. Running backs get hurt at a higher rate than any other position, and that is partly why we have seen a shift away from the bell-cow back who handles the vast majority of the touches in his team’s backfield.
Instead, many teams are opting for the running back-by-committee approach and splitting up the work almost evenly among a few players.
That said, there are a few feature backs left in the league, and those guys are often the best bets to lead the league in rushing.
Last season’s rushing leader, Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, is one of those every-down running backs and online sportsbook Bodog has Taylor leading the way in NFL rushing leader odds at +450.
Here’s a breakdown of 2022 NFL rushing leader odds with some of our favorite picks:
2022 NFL Rushing Leader Odds
Odds as of July 20 at Bovada
2022 NFL Rushing Leader Odds Favorites
Jonathan Taylor (+450)
Through two seasons in the NFL, Taylor has rushed for just shy of 3,000 total yards with 29 touchdowns.
At just 23 years old, it’s not hard to argue that he is the best young back in the league and a deserving favorite in NFL rushing leader odds after starting all 17 games last season and finishing almost 600 yards ahead of runner-up Nick Chubb.
Taylor is a true workhorse who led the league in carries last season and I expect he will be at the top of the NFL in that category again after the Colts brought in the aging Matt Ryan as their QB. Taylor is the focal point of his team offensively, and not many backs can say the same. He’s a good bet at +450.
Derrick Henry (+550)
What’s not to love about the Big Dawg? Henry led the NFL in rushing in 2019 and 2020 and was likely on his way to another rushing title before injuring his foot in Week 8 a year ago. Henry still finished with an unbelievable 937 yards in those eight games, good for ninth in the league.
It would be foolish not to sprinkle a little bit of money on Henry in NFL rushing leader odds once again given his expected workload this season, but buyer beware that this player has endured a beating during his time in the NFL, and I was worried about potential injuries this time last year as a result.
He is healthy now, but Father Time is undefeated. I wouldn’t be surprised if a player with this kind of workload gets hurt again.
Nick Chubb (+1000)
Chubb might be the best pure runner in the NFL. The fifth-year back finished second in the league in rushing last year despite being eighth in attempts as he tied Taylor with a 5.5-yard average per tote.
Chubb did miss three games last year and missed four the previous year, and he also has to share the backfield with another top back in Kareem Hunt, but the Browns will be relying heavily on the run game with QB Deshaun Watson likely facing a suspension. There are whispers, however, that Hunt could be a cut or trade candidate as his contract comes to an end after this season.
I love Chubb as a runner and the value is intriguing at +1000.
NFL Rushing Leader Odds: Best Value Bets
Najee Harris (+1400)
Harris should have the workload after finishing second in attempts last season. It’s his efficiency I don’t love.
While a player like Chubb can do a lot with relatively few touches because of his talent and offensive line, Harris needs more work to get to that same point.
The Steelers’ offensive line is poor, but they should run the ball even more this season with Mitch Trubisky at QB instead of Ben Roethlisberger. They finished with the second-lowest rushing-play percentage in the league last year.
Harris is decent value at +1400.
Leonard Fournette (+2500)
Fournette would appear to be one of those rare workhorse running backs who will be relied upon to do it all for the Buccaneers. The only other notable backs on the roster are rookie third-rounder Rachaad White and veteran satellite back Gio Bernard, so Fournette should handle a large majority of the carries.
The problem for Fournette is the Bucs don’t really like to run the ball – they had the lowest run rate in the league last season.
Fournette also reportedly showed up to mini camp overweight, so there are conditioning concerns.
But, with Ronald Jones now departed to Kansas City, 101 carries are still on the table for someone in the Bucs backfield to pick up, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they run it a bit more this season. That makes Fournette a decent long shot at +2500.
Saquon Barkley (+4000)
Now reportedly healthy, many are expecting a big bounce-back season from Barkley, who has played in just 15 total games over the last two seasons.
The Giants have also completely revamped their offensive line, and brought in a new head coach known for getting the most out of the talent on his offense. I don’t see the Giants making Daniel Jones the focal point of the game plan and am expecting an uptick in Barkley’s workload.
That could mean a special season for maybe the most talented runner in the league. I’ll take a chance at +4000.
How To Read NFL Season-Long Player Props
A prop is a bet made on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain events or milestones for individual players or teams. These can range from which player will have the most receiving yards or rushing yards to who will be the NFL touchdown leader in 2022. There are also specific props for games like who will score a touchdown or OVER/UNDER passing yards for a QB.
When you check out your football sportsbook of choice, you’ll see prop odds like so:
NFL Offensive Player Rushing Yards:
Derrick Henry +350
Dalvin Cook +550
Nick Chubb +700
Christian McCaffrey +900
When you make a moneyline bet, you’d see favorites represented by the minus sign (-) and underdogs with the plus sign (+). In this case, because this is a prop bet, you would consider Derrick Henry the fave since he has the lowest odds. The rest are underdogs.
Let’s say you think Henry is going to record the most rushing yards and you bet $100 on him. You’d get a payout of $450 – your original $100 is returned along with your winnings of $350 if you’re right. Check out our Odds Calculator to see what you’d win based on the odds and amount bet.
NFL Yardage Leaders FAQ
Can I bet on which NFL player will lead the league in yards?
Yes, you can bet on NFL props like which player will lead the NFL in yards. You can wager on offensive categories like which quarterback you think will lead the league in passing yards, which running back will lead the league in rushing yards, and which receiver will lead the league in receiving yards.
Who are the favorites to lead the NFL in rushing yards?
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor is the current favorite to lead the NFL in rushing yards at +450. Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans is second at +550.
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Odds Shark Staff Wed, Aug 10, 4:35pm