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From MinnCentric

The Odds-On Favorite?

The NFL Preseason is a funny thing. Every team seems to have a different approach to their preseason games stemming from every coach attacking with a different level of intensity. This is precisely why it confuses me that sportsbooks in Las Vegas take wagers on preseason games?!? While there aren’t many wagers placed on the NFL Preseason, there are plenty of wagers that are placed during the preseason.
Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
The most popular of all preseason bets are placed on teams to win the Super Bowl. Currently, the Denver Broncos are the favorites at 13/2 odds followed by the New England Patriots (15/2), the San Francisco 49ers (15/2) and the Seattle Seahawks (15/2). I hate to break it to you Minnesota fans, but the Vikings are currently 75/1 to win the Super Bowl this year…so you’re telling me there’s a chance?!?

Another type of wager getting a lot of attention leading up to opening week are the grouping of prop bets that were released earlier this week.The odds for Bovada’s NFL Football Player Proposition Bets were recently posted and believe it or not, a smattering of Vikings made an appearance on the lists!

Upon initial release, second-year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is sitting with 50/1 odds to Lead the League in Receiving Yards. Former Minnesota Viking Percy Harvin is sitting at 15/1 to win 2014 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. And for the first time in a very long time, the Vikings do not have a coach on the 1st Coach to be Fired list!

Sadly, there is not a single Minnesota quarterback listed in the Regular Season Passing Yards list putting Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater at worse than 250/1 odds.

To no one’s surprise, making the biggest splash for the Vikings in this year’s prop bet field is running back Adrian Peterson who is currently the odds-on favorite to Lead the League in Rushing Yards at 4/1. Given his track record, making Adrian the favorite is probably the safe bet for those interested in a wager. Over the past two seasons, Adrian has rushed for 3,363 yards on 627 carries, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Over that same period of time, Adrian’s closest competition Alfred Morris rushed for 2,888 yards, Marshawn Lynch ran for 2,847, Jamaal Charles for 2,796, and the self appointed “best running back in the league” LeSean McCoy only ran for 2,447 yards.

With all but one of his seven professional seasons yielding more than 1,000 rushing yards, Adrian has rushed for an average of 1,445 yards a season and averages just under 300 carries per season. With a history littered with numbers like that, Peterson has regularly found himself in the running for the rushing title as each year comes to a close.

But is history about to change?

There is one variable at play this season for the Vikings that would make me uneasy about putting money down on Adrian for this bet.

The implementation of a new offense brings with it a high level of uncertainty for any and all incumbents. While we’ve had a little taste of Norv Turner’s new “Air Coryell” offensive scheme this preseason, there are still big questions surrounding what type of a role Adrian will play.

Gone are the days where Adrian Peterson is the Vikings only offensive weapon. Recent additions of Kyle Rudolph, Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings have made the Vikings offense more dynamic and in turn have taken some of the dependency away from Peterson. Add in a new offense that may lean on Adrian through the air more and will likely have expanded roles for other backs like Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata, and you’ve got me leery about placing money on AP to lead this season.

Considering this unknown variable, the smart bet may turn the way of players like Jamaal Charles (7/1) and Marshawn Lynch (12/1) who will confidently be featured in the run game for their respective offenses and may give you a better opportunity to turn a larger profit

So what do you think, would you place a your bet on Adrian to lead the league in rushing yards this season?

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Parker Hageman
Aug 14 2014 09:06 AM

Another factor about AP is that he is now in his age-29 season with seven seasons worth of mileage on his odometer. The sad fact about running backs is that they tend to have shorter windows of being elite. 


Here is an interesting write-up from Sports On Earth from this past April


If we do a little research, we also start to notice that some of our "last forever" guys did not last as long as we thought. Franco Harris stopped reaching the Pro Bowl when he turned 30. Eric Dickerson had his last good year when he was 29. Even Bettis stopped cracking 1,000 yards at age 29, settling into a late career as a committee back, short yardage specialist and civic treasure. Allen did roughly the same thing.


Just some food for thought, looking around on Pro Football Reference, the age thing seems to coincide with the number of touches a running back had at the time.


LaDanian Tomlinson (~3700 career, ~3100 at drop off after age 29 season)

Curtis Martin (~4000 career, ~3700 at drop off after age 31 season)

Ricky Watters (~3100 career, ~3000 at drop off after age 31 season)

Emmit Smith (~4900 career, ~4200 at drop off after age 32 season)

Walter Payton (~4300 career,  ~4100 at drop off after age 33 season)

Marshall Faulk (~3600 career, ~3200 at drop off after age 30 season)

Adrian Peterson (~2200 career, ???)


Not saying that AP won't hit a wall in the next year or two but the fact that he hasn't been used as much in the passing game as some other running backs may actually saving some mileage on his body.


Following some of those trends, its feasible to think he could get another 1000-1500 touches before his body starts to give out on him.

    • Aj Mansour likes this
Brock Beauchamp
Aug 14 2014 09:58 AM

Really an interesting breakdown. It makes a lot of sense that age doesn't factor into a drop-off as much as how many times that 5'10" back has been smashed into the turf violently.

Aug 14 2014 10:10 AM

Really an interesting breakdown. It makes a lot of sense that age doesn't factor into a drop-off as much as how many times that 5'10" back has been smashed into the turf violently.


Yeah, it's probably why a guy like Fred Jackson can still be productive.  He never got a chance until he was in his late 20's.


I hope AP doesn't lead the league in yards simply because that likely means he is again among the league leaders in attempts.  Keeping his attempts in check will be the key to him being productive into his 30's.

Parker Hageman
Aug 14 2014 10:18 AM

Reps obviously play a significant role in wear-and-tear, no question. The difference between the guys on that list to Adrian Peterson is that is that passing has increased in the game, which may have actually saved some of that wear-and-tear on AP's body.


(Let's also remember why he isn't used in the passing game -- (1) not the best receiving back and (2) not the best pass-blocking back.)


1,000-1,500 touches of high-level performance seems unlikely. Based on the current pace of touches, that would be approximately four seasons and that's before you consider the Vikings offense could transition away from relying heavily on Peterson. 


At the same time, age is age. People lose a step. Even elite individuals like Peterson. I'm confident that he will likely finish in his mid-30s like Emmitt Smith who had strong seasons of 1,000+ rushing yards per season between age-30 through age-32. 

I think Charles is going to give him a run for his money. Should be an interesting year.

I agree that McKinnon is going to get some of Peterson's snaps. They are already taking it slow with AP in the preseason and will likely keep him fresh during the season, as well. On top of that, LeSean McCoy has already stated he is the best running back in the game, so who would want to bet against that?

Interesting addition about the running backs age factoring in as well. I'm not much of a gambling man but with everything that's being discussed here, I wouldn't feel comfortable putting my money on AP this year.

Aug 15 2014 10:37 AM

I don't know if he'll lead the league, but if Cassel can establish enough of a threat with Jennings, Simspon, and Patterson, that should get rid of the 9 man boxes he's facing consistently.  I could see AP breaking a few more long runs in that case and I think he's going to be utilized more in screen situations (which is something I always felt was underutilized by Frazier/Childress). 

Wow, I wish I could have found those odds.

I took Seattle at 5:1 to win the Super Bowl, and Peterson +250 to lead the league in rushing.
I like the odds on both, Peterson is prime for a HUGE bounceback year, the fact that we will have some semblance of a passing game with Norv+CP+Bridgewater etc Peterson won't see as many 9-10 man fronts. 


Other bets:


Minnesota over 6 wins (6 is a push)


Also took the Cowboys under for Sacks (35.5) that front 7 is going to be terrible.

I don't know if he'll lead the league, but if Cassel can establish enough of a threat with Jennings, Simspon, and Patterson, that should get rid of the 9 man boxes he's facing consistently.  I could see AP breaking a few more long runs in that case and I think he's going to be utilized more in screen situations (which is something I always felt was underutilized by Frazier/Childress). 

Agreed, the Musgrave and Childress offenses were freaking brutal. While AP isn't going to break any records for receptions, I think they should try to get him 3 catches a game.

What I hope for out of AP this year is 5+yds/carry and 3=receptions/game/play all 16 games.  In terms of leading the league in rushing that would be great but not 110% necessary in my opinion for this team to be successful.  In Adrians eyes he is probably seeking that little all time record he missed out on a couple seasons ago.  If you made me put a bet on it I would say no/ not due to a decline in AP but rather I believe Norv will want as many guys engaged in the game plan as possible.  You would think this SHOULD put more in the heads of the opposition not being able to key solely on AP.  You often hear other teams in the recent past saying he is who they gameplan for and everything else is secondary.  Let us hope that is NOT the case this year.

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