Arguably the most talented running back in the league, Le’Veon Bell is an explosive weapon for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense and a +300 favourite to rush for the most yards this season. He’ll look to have another impressive campaign in 2017, as he’s on a mission to secure a new contract that would pay him according to his rushing and receiving talents.

However, he doesn’t come without warning signs. Bell was suspended at the start of his previous two seasons for drug-related incidents, and suffered a season ending MCL tear in 2015. There are also rumors that he may miss training camp amid contract negotiation disputes, though whether this impacts his performance on the field remains to be seen. 


Ezekiel Elliott: +350

Running behind one of the most effective units in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line, Ezekiel Elliott enjoyed an outstanding rookie season a year ago. He rushed for over 1,600 yards last season and is a slight underdog to Le’Veon Bell to claim the rushing title for the second year in a row.

Similar to Bell, Elliott has his share of problems going into the 2017 season. Police have suspended the investigation of a bar altercation which allegedly involved Elliott, but the domestic dispute investigation from July 2016 is still looming. Despite the current absence of charges or convictions, NFL could take matters into their own hands by imposing a suspension on the second year running back.


Honourable Mentions

Bettors looking for value picks might consider DeMarco Murray at +1200 and Devonta Freeman at +2200 odds.

Murray is only three seasons removed from running for an astronomical 1,845 yards and claiming the rushing title with Dallas. He was third in rushing a season ago for the Tennessee Titans, behind Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard of the Chicago Bears. If the Titans get into a habit of starting games strong or staying close in 2017, they’ll be happy to keep handing the ball off to Murray.

The Falcons’ Devonta Freeman, sitting at +2200 odds to claim the rushing crown, has rushed for over 1,000 yards each of his previous two seasons behind a consistently solid offensive line. He’s playing for a new contract this season, so motivation should not be an issue. Going against Freeman’s chance to explode this season is the Falcons’ embarrassment of riches when it comes to offensive weapons and their love for the dual running back approach, which limits the amount of carries Freeman receives.


*Odds as of July 21, 2017