NFL Betting: Passing, Rushing & Receiving leaders

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
NFL Betting

Sportsbook.com opened a slew of NFL Futures betting options this past week and will open up even more next week. Who do you think will lead the NFL in passing, rushing or receiving this season?

We spoke with our good friends at Statfox to get their thoughts; here is how it went:

What NFL quarterback is best bet to throw for most yards?

Statfox: Drew Brees led this category in 2008 and is favored again at +250. It's hard to go away from Brees since his coach Sean Payton is essentially the new Mike Martz. Payton loves to throw the ball and has excellent understanding of Brees' strengths and weakness. This is helped by Brees believing in Payton and digesting the offense smartly and playing within his own capabilities. Let's not forget, the former Purdue QB threw for over 5,000 yards (last season) and that was with Marques Colston and Reggie Bush out for long periods. Brees is not a lock to win this wager, as he is coming off career numbers and faces tougher opposition in 2009.

Tom Brady (+450) will be on a mission after last season. Our Boston contacts tell me he is on-target and even more focused, realizing football is a privilege. Don't expect Brady to play like he did the first half of 2007, nobody ever had before him. There is definitely good value in Brady, especially considering he should only have three cold weather games (weeks 14-16).

What about the other contenders?

Statfox: Peyton Manning makes sense, but some reports coming out of Colts camp are disconcerning. Definitely a contender at +700, yet leery. Save your cash on Kurt Warner at +700. He's been complaining about his hip giving him trouble and will see very little time in the preseason. The passing game has to have timing and though Warner is familiar with Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Bolden, he suffers early which takes him out of the running. There is definitely value in both Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers at +1000. Green Bay has a rather soft early schedule and Rodgers could pad stats like his predecessor. The Packers O-Line is being rebuilt, but I like Rodgers' ability to throw on the run and hit big plays. Rivers is actually my favorite choice, but Norv Turner wants better balance and running game could return to San Diego.

My choices in order are Brady, Rodgers and Brees.

Moving on to most rushing yards, who will lead the NFL?

Statfox: It's hard to argue with those betting on Adrian Peterson (+200), despite the short odds, since he is the most explosive running back in the NFL. His jitterbug moves in the hole and ability to hit full stride in two steps separates him from the pack.

The best running back in the NFL in November and December (of last season) was DeAngelo Williams. For the year, Williams averaged 5.5 yards per carry and was over six the last two months. Why Peterson ranks over Williams is because the Carolina ball carrier will lose carries to Jonathan Stewart.

Matt Ryan will be throwing a lot more this season so don't expect Michael Turner to lead the NFL in rushing attempts this season. At +500, there is better value out there we believe.

Do you have any other running backs that could sneak away with rushing title?

Statfox: If the offensive line was better, I'd take Steven Jackson right now. He's second only to Peterson and is a home run threat, which piles up yards. Nevertheless, the new coaching staff in St. Louis leaves too many unanswered questions. If Frank Gore is a great long shot at +2500; however, durability is always and issue with the San Francisco back. This will be critical year for Gore's future, as he averaged 5.4 yards per carry his first two years and 4.2 the last couple. Maurice Jones-Drew is another very good choice and is any conversation about "do-it-all" backs. You have to admire his 4.8 yards per carry and will be the featured back with Fred Taylor gone.

My choices in order are Peterson, Jones-Drew and Jackson.

I know you have little use for most of these players, but who leads in pass catching yards?

Statfox: This is the hardest bet of the three by far. Larry Fitzgerald is the odds-on choice at +500 and very difficult to make a case against him. At 26 (years old), he's in his prime and has played enough to know what is expected. He took the quantum leap in the playoffs to be a super star and he has kept his mouth shut in spite of growing celebrity. This year should be the season he's the best, but Warner's potential health makes us cringe.

Steve Smith is next at +550, but does anyone really trust 34-year old Jake Delhomme after the way he played in second half? Not me. Andre Johnson was the yardage leader in 2008, having to play with different quarterbacks. What worries me about A.J. is if Matt Schaub goes down again to injury, Dan Orlovsky is the current backup. Reggie Wayne is listed at +700, nonetheless is not  a big play receiver, having the same number of 20+ yard catches as Wes Welker (13). That means too many catches to win the yardage title.

Well who do you like?

Statfox: I actually prefer a couple of longer shots. Nobody missed Brady more than Randy Moss. Not many 32-year old pass catchers are as multi-purpose as Moss, whose number dipped precipitously with Matt Cassell better at the short passing game. Moss' focus should return being a bigger part of the passing game and definitely has enough in the gas tank for at least one more huge season.

You can't help but notice Calvin Johnson, literally. He's 6'5, a pound or two either way of 240 and is as fast as any elite pass receiver. On a team that didn't win a game, Johnson was fifth in  NFL receiving yards and caught 12 TD's. With a better supporting cast, a quarterback like rookie Matthew Stafford who can throw over the secondary, its not the worst bet you can make at +1000.

My choices in order are Moss, C. Johnson and Fitzgerald.

Log on now to Sportsbook.com to check out all of these odds and more. Don't forget, NFL preseason starts this weekend, don't miss out.


Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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