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2021 NFL Rushing Leader Odds: Henry Leads The Way

Derrick Henry is the clear 2021 NFL rushing yards odds leader.

The NFL is a passing league. Gunslingers like Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady run the league and it’s hard to be a winning football team without an effective passing game in today’s NFL.

But the running game still plays an important role, helping teams to salt away games when leading in the fourth quarter or as a foundational part of some more old-school offenses.

Through five weeks of football, the NFL’s rushing leader list is a who’s who of stars with Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott and Joe Mixon among the top five.

And those same players lead the way in NFL rushing leader odds. You can find the latest odds over at online sportsbook Bovada.

Henry leads the way at -180 to be the rushing champ, followed by Chubb (+700), Elliott (+1200) and Mixon (+2500) as the top four.

Here’s a quick breakdown of 2021 NFL rushing leader odds with some of our favorite picks:

2021 NFL Rushing Leader Odds

Player to lead NFL in rushing yards
Derrick Henry-180
Nick Chubb+700
Ezekiel Elliott+1200
Joe Mixon+2500
Alvin Kamara+3500
Christian McCaffrey+3500
Lamar Jackson+4000
Aaron Jones+5000
Antonio Gibson+5000
Dalvin Cook+5000
Damien Harris+5000
Jonathan Taylor+5000
Saquon Barkley+5000
Austin Ekeler+6600
Chris Carson+6600
Najee Harris+7500
Chase Edmonds+10000
Clyde Edwards-Helaire+10000
D’Andre Swift+10000
David Montgomery+10000
Javonte Williams+10000
Josh Jacobs+10000
Kareem Hunt+10000
Melvin Gordon+10000
Mike Davis+10000
Myles Gaskin+10000
Miles Sanders+10000

Odds as of October 14 at Bovada.

2021 NFL Rushing Leader Odds Favorite

Derrick Henry -180

The 2020 rushing race wasn’t even close. Derrick Henry led all runners in touchdowns, rushing attempts, first-down runs, runs of 20-plus yards and, of course, total yards.

This season, he’s starting to pull away from the pack already.

Through three weeks, Henry led the league by 67 yards. Now he has a 117-yard edge over Nick Chubb in second place. He has 48 more rush attempts than anyone else in the league.

Another point in Henry’s favor is durability. He is the only running back on this oddsboard who started all 16 games last season and only two others (Edmonds, Hunt) appeared in all 16.

Henry has missed just two games in his six seasons (including this year). He has amassed a ton of carries the last couple of years, so his injury luck could change, but he appears uniquely built to withstand the punishment NFL backs receive. 

Henry is the obvious favorite for this prop and time may have already run out on decent odds worth betting on.

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NFL Rushing Leader Odds: Value Picks

Nick Chubb +700

Cleveland’s Nick Chubb might be the best pure runner in the NFL. The fourth-year back is averaging 5.8 yards per attempt through five games and is second in the league in rushing yards despite having 52 fewer carries than Henry.

The Browns love to run the football, have an elite offensive line and punish teams late in games by unleashing Chubb as their battering ram. 

However, they have another great running back in Kareem Hunt who, when healthy, will always cap Chubb’s touch ceiling. Chubb is now up to fourth in the NFL in carries but it’s hard to say with any certainty that he has 300-plus touch upside.

A bet on Chubb is a bet on continued efficiency. We’ll take it for now at +700. He’s that good.

Ezekiel Elliott +1200

Zeke is a good value at +1200 as he sits fifth in rush attempts and third in yards after five weeks. His upside might be capped with teammate Tony Pollard sharing the backfield (Pollard has 325 yards of his own, good for 10th in the league), but the Cowboys appear committed to the running game this season and Zeke has the talent and workload to be the rushing king.

Can a QB Win NFL Rushing Leader?

At +3300 before the season started, oddsmakers at least saw a chance for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to lead the NFL in rushing. Now, five weeks in, Jackson is 21st in rushing attempts and eighth in yards and his odds have moved down to +4000. No QB has ever seen his name atop the NFL rushing leader list in the modern era, but Jackson is unlike most recent quarterbacks.

He has broken 1,000 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons, leading the league in yards per attempt both years. While the Ravens have beefed up the passing game, drafting a wide receiver in the first round and signing Sammy Watkins, Jackson is one or two big rushing games away from contention for the NFL’s leading runner.

He’s also less likely to get injured than some of the between-the-tackles runners.

NFL Rushing Leader Odds: Best Bet

Alvin Kamara +3500

We had David Montgomery in this spot two weeks ago, but the Bears back is now dealing with an injury that could have him sidelined for more than a month.

So we’re pivoting to Kamara, one of the best RBs in the league, who for the first time in his career also happens to be seeing the kind of volume required to win the rushing title.

With Jameis Winston under center for head coach Sean Payton, the Saints have changed to a run-first offense featuring Kamara more than ever on the ground, as opposed to his old role when he made his hay primarily through the air.

The result is Kamara having the second-most attempts through five weeks. He is only sixth in yards despite the workload, but we know he has the talent and offensive line to lead the league in rushing. 

Kamara is a fantastic value at +3500 given his workload to this point. 

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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 2021. 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.