It took all of 10 minutes for the first two maximum wager bets to come in at online sportsbook SPORTSBETTING.com after they posted up the prop “Which NFL running back will lead the league in rushing this year”.
And who was it that attracted the money right off the top? Not surprisingly it was the Tennessee Titans’ Chris Johnson.
Said sportsbook manager Brian Taylor, “we put up a bunch of betting options for the upcoming season focused on specific positions such as QB and running back and the “most yards” ones have been very popular. Bettors are tipping Johnson for another big season, with Adrian Peterson as the second most popular choice so far.”
The Titans’ Johnson was the king of the NFL’s rushing hill last season, becoming only the sixth player in NFL history to crack the 2,000 yard mark in NFL history (he ran for 2,006).
After that performance, a raise was in order. Johnson has only been around two years and was still earning rookie wages, but he’ll be making a tidy sum more this season.
Will the boost in salary lead to a repeat of Johnson’s 2009 performance?
The last repeat rushing champ was LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006 and 2007.
Suffice to say, it’s tough to lead the league in back-to-back years. Bring over-worked is one of the issues and Johnson was certainly used a lot last season, rushing the ball 358 times with 14 TDs; he also had 50 receptions for 503 yards.
Online sportsbooks have him listed at +250 to capture the rushing crown again this season.
In the last 10 years, the defending rushing champ hasn’t fared well the following season.
Not counting Tomlinson, Ricky Williams, Jamal Lewis, Shaun Alexander and Adrian Peterson are the last four backs to capture the NFL’s rushing title.
After rushing for a league-high 1,853 yards in 2002 for the Miami Dolphins, Ricky Williams still had a good season in 2003 but didn’t come close to matching his stats from the year before, with only 1,372 yards rushing.
Like Chris Johnson in 2009, Jamal Lewis also cracked the 2,000 yard mark in 2003 as a member of the Baltimore Ravens and followed that up rushing for 1,000 yards less (1,066) in 2004 in only 12 regular season games.