The health of an NFL running back can be very tricky. It has become a big reason many teams are investing less and less into the position financially. Yet teams that have a stud running back that can be a game-changer have an advantage that not many teams have anymore. Christian McCaffrey for the Carolina Panthers epitomizes this type of player because he literally does it all.
McCaffrey has been unable to be anything close to full health in the last two seasons. Injuries have caused him to miss 23 games during that time. Yet if he stays healthy, McCaffrey can not only be a highly productive player, but he has the potential to be an MVP-caliber player.
Because of that potential and because he missed 10 games last season, he is among the favorites to win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award in 2022.
Unfortunately, North Carolina sports bettors are limited to placing wagers at one of two retail sportsbooks because state lawmakers failed to approve a sports betting bill during the 2022 legislative session. As a result, there are no North Carolina sports betting apps available.
Improvement coming?: Carolina Panthers odds to win the NFC South
Christian McCaffrey Comeback Player of the Year Odds
|Derrick Henry, TEN||+400||+400||+450|
|Jameis Winston, NO||+550||+500||+500|
|Christian McCaffrey, CAR||+750||+800||+900|
|Michael Thomas, NO||+800||+1600||+1800|
|Daniel Jones, NYG||+800||+2000||+1800|
|Deshaun Watson, CLE||+1000||NA||+1800|
|Baker Mayfield, CAR||+1200||+1000||+1000|
|Mitchell Trubisky, PIT||+1200||+2000||+2000|
|JK Dobbins, BAL||+1400||+2500||+2500|
|Chase Young, WAS||+1400||+1600||+2000|
The top two favorites at DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars are the same — Tennessee RB Derrick Henry and New Orleans QB Jameis Winston.
Henry led the NFL in rushing in 2019 and 2020 and was a shoo-in to do so again in 2021 before he suffered a broken foot in the eighth game of the regular season.
Winston is the top quarterback in this category because of his ability to pile up strong statistics. He suffered a torn ACL midway through last season.
As great as Henry has been, McCaffrey supplies just as much upside. He may be dinged a bit because his team likely will not be as good as Henry’s team. Still, there is quite a bit of value on McCaffrey at FanDuel (+800) and Caesars (+900).
Where’s our money?: Lack of NC sports betting puts teams at a competitive disadvantage
McCaffrey’s Stats Tell a Story
Stats are great in that they do not lie. Unlike coaches in a press conference, stats tell the truth. Simply put, the stats are what they are and give a great indication of what a player is or isn’t in a given season.
In this case, stats give us a picture of what McCaffrey can do when healthy for an entire season. Here is a look at what he accomplished on the field during his best two seasons of 2018 and 2019 when he played in and started all 16 regular-season games.
|Year||Rushes||Rush Yds||Rush TDs||Y/A||A/G||Receptions||Receiving Yds||Receiving TD||Y/G|
As you can see, McCaffrey was a monster in his second and third years in the league, even earning offensive player of the year accolades in 2019. The stats that the Panthers’ star put up in those two years made him a unicorn, as no one has really ever put up a two-year stretch anything close to what he did as a runner and receiver.
It is realistic to think that McCaffrey will get plenty of touches as the Panthers desperately need him to be his old self if head coach Matt Rhule has any chance of keeping his job. The big if is: will McCaffrey stay healthy? If he does, he is a great bet to win Comeback Player of the Year. If you think McCaffrey will play a full allotment of games this year, take the bet FanDuel and Caesars for the best odds.
AP Photo/Nell Redmond