1. #1
    Chance Harper
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    Tomlinson or Peterson, who is your bet?

    Tomlinson or Peterson, who is your bet?

    Among the prop bets for the upcoming NFL season are rushing and sack leaders. San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson sits atop the betting boards right now for the top runner in '08, though Minnesota's Adrian Peterson looks primed for an upset. Meanwhile, down at the Sack Exchange the favorite to tally the most QB kills in 2008 is Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams.


    Remember when the Houston Texans were laughed at for drafting defensive end Mario Williams first overall in 2006, letting Heisman winner Reggie Bush go to the New Orleans Saints at No. 2?

    Nobody’s laughing now. Williams had 14 sacks last year and arguably should have gone to the Pro Bowl. Bush finished the 2007 campaign with a yawn-inducing 581 yards rushing and 417 yards catching for a combined six touchdowns, even after teammate Deuce McAllister was injured for the season in Week 3. Advantage: Houston.

    It’s still too early to tell who “won” the 2006 draft, but the results so far point at one important draft rule that more and more teams are following: Linemen are safe bets. They play very important positions, both on offense and defense, and top prospects like Williams can have a significant impact in the NFL in a very short amount of time.

    Meanwhile, if you have a good offensive system like Denver’s (including a strong offensive line), you can plug in any competent tailback with the right style of running and expect decent yardage. This is why six linemen were taken in the Top 10 of the 2008 draft, compared to one running back: Oakland’s Darren McFadden.

    Houston’s attention to defense also has an impact on the betting odds. Williams is the favorite at 4-1 to lead the NFL in sacks this year. Bush, meanwhile, is an 80-1 longshot to lead the league in rushing yards – in part because he will once again be splitting carries with McAllister and catching the ball on short-yardage plays.

    Williams was tied for third in sacks last year behind Jared Allen (15.5) of the Chiefs and Patrick Kerney (14.5) of the Seahawks. Who will prevail this year? And will San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson (1,474 yards rushing in 2007) hold off the challenge of Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (1,341 yards)? Let’s look at the Top 5 favorites on the futures market in these two categories.

    Sacks
    1. Mario Williams, Houston (4-1)
    2. Jared Allen, Minnesota (5-1)
    3. Shawne Merriman, San Diego (7-1)
    3. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas (7-1)
    5. Osi Umenyiora, N.Y. Giants (8-1)

    This is the analytical world where fantasy football and sports gambling collide. There’s a rash of sharp commentary available for fantasy players at this time of year, and the San Diego Chargers are projected to have one of the most potent defenses in the league in statistical terms – that is, a lot of sacks and interceptions, and few points allowed.

    Merriman had 12.5 sacks for the Chargers last year in 15 games; however, it took incoming defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell a while to unleash the hounds and loosen up his vanilla 3-4 defense. Merriman had seven of his sacks in the last six games of the season. At that rate, he’s a threat to eclipse his NFL-leading 2006 campaign of 17 sacks – which was set in just 12 games. I take that threat seriously enough to make Merriman my sackmeister pick for 2008.

    Rushing Yards
    1. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (9-4)
    2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (3-1)
    3. Marion Barber, Dallas (15-1)
    3. Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo (15-1)
    3. Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia (15-1)

    Fantasy players have written Tomlinson’s name in first place on their draft lists in permanent marker, because of his versatility both running and catching (and occasionally passing). But have they been sniffing that marker for too many years? Peterson had 5.6 yards per carry in 2007 as a 22-year-old rookie. Tomlinson racked up 4.7 yards per carry at the genteel age of 28. The annals of NFL history are littered with tailbacks who dropped off sharply at age 29, Shaun Alexander and Priest Holmes being two of the most recent.

    Despite that ominous history, the bigger question for handicappers is whether Peterson can stay healthy and productive. He missed two games last year with a torn ligament in his right knee, sharing the ball with RB Chester Taylor the rest of the way and finishing the season second to Tomlinson in rushing yards. Peterson also suffered a sprained ankle in 2005 and a broken collarbone in 2006 as a member of the Oklahoma Sooners.

    Tomlinson, who led the league in rushing in 2006 (and won the MVP award) with 1,815 yards, has missed one regular-season game in his seven-year NFL career. If you’re a low-risk bettor, LT is still your man. I’ll take Peterson’s potential and the bigger payout in this case.

  2. #2
    jjgold
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    well if minny does get a real good an Peterson will not have Big year
    Teams will stuff the run
    Therefore Tomilson will do much better

    Bald
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    of Myself -jjgold

    SBR Founder Join Date: 7/20/2005


  3. #3
    SlickFazzer
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    Join Date: 05-22-08
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    Until proven otherwise by Tavaris Jackson, you stop the vikes
    by stacking the line with 8.

  4. #4
    element1286
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    Tomlinson easy.

  5. #5
    onthewhat
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    LT

    AFC West defenses are atrocious

  6. #6
    Francis Sollozzo
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    i'm not sold on the idea that LT is 100% healthy

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