NFL Picks for Running Back Touchdown Head-to-Head Matchups

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, September 4, 2014 7:01 PM GMT

Yes, there are still some pretty good running backs in the NFL even though that position has been hugely minimized for the most part with all the passing these days. The NFL odds markets are offering running back matchups on combined rushing and receiving TDs.

Adrian Peterson -2.5 combined touchdowns vs. Alfred Morris
Morris the -125 favorite on NFL odds with Peterson at -105. I firmly believe this will be Peterson's last season with the Vikings and perhaps his last big year overall because he hits the dreaded magic number of age 30 in March. That's often when running backs fall off a cliff statistically. Peterson has rushed for at least 10 touchdowns every year of his career, and he landed right on that number last season in 14 games. The Vikings don't really use him a ton in the passing game. He has never had more than one TD catch in a season and had only 29 receptions a year ago. Remember, too, that Peterson doesn't get to play on that fast turf and in the dome this year with the Vikings headed outside. That is going to hurt his numbers at least a bit. I would not take him on the prop to lead the NFL in rushing, for example.

Morris was one of the best NFL picks of the 2012 draft as the Redskins got him in the sixth round out of Florida Atlantic. He had a stunning rookie year with 1,613 yards and 13 scores. His numbers dropped to 1,275 and seven TDs last year. Presumably a healthier Robert Griffin III will mean better numbers for Morris, but the Redskins also have a new offense under Coach Jay Gruden so it's not clear if Morris will be used as much as he has been. In addition, Morris is a total non-factor in the passing game.
Free NFL Pick: Peterson.

 

Matt Forte -1 combined touchdowns vs. Doug Martin
Forte is the -145 favorite and Martin at +115. The Bears are really up a creek if Forte goes down because he does a little of everything and his backup is now Shaun Draughn. Forte probably isn't going to put up huge rushing TD numbers because he's not the greatest short-yardage (i.e. goal line) back. He set a career high of nine a year ago. However, few backs are used going to be used more in the passing game as Forte had 74 receptions in 2013 for three touchdowns. Martin, otherwise known as the "Muscle Hamster," was spectacular as a rookie with 12 combined scored but lasted just six games last season and didn't look like the same guy. He scored only once. The Bucs will be better on offense, but Martin is going to lose a few touches to Bobby Rainey.
Free NFL Pick: Forte.

 

LeSean McCoy -.5 combined touchdowns vs. Jamaal Charles
Both backs are at -115. This is a tough one and I'd argue these are now the two best running backs in the NFL. McCoy really broke out in Chip Kelly's offense last year by winning the rushing title and setting a franchise record with 1,607 yards. He had nine rushing touchdowns and two receiving on 52 catches. It should be noted it was the first time since 2009 that McCoy played all 16 games. While the Eagles have a lot of weapons, Charles pretty much is the Kansas City offense. He had 12 rushing TDs in 2013 and seven receiving, leading the team with 70 catches. I do believe McCoy's usage will go down slightly with Darren Sproles around to catch balls out of the backfield. Jamaal Charles should be a monster again even though defenses can key on him.
Free NFL Pick: Charles.

 

Marshawn Lynch -1 combined TDs vs. Eddie Lacy
Lacy is the -140 favorite and Lynch at +110. I thought Marshawn Lynch me be in line for a down season a month or two ago when the Seahawks made noise about a running back-by-committee, but that talks seems to have gone away. "Beast Mode" is a beast at the goal line as he has had at least 11 rushing scores each of the past three years. He's not a huge factor as a receiver, setting a career high with two TD catches in 2013. Eddie Lacy had 11 TDs rushing and none receiving in winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. I still think he will be a work horse even with Aaron Rodgers healthy. And that Packers offense is better than Seattle's. Plus Lynch has had a ton of carries the past few years. He seems primed to start slowing down.
Free NFL Pick: Lacy.