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Most of the money bet on rushing champion is on Steelers’ Najee Harris

Najee Harris has had a fine start to his NFL career.

The Pittsburgh Steelers back has two 1,000-yard seasons already. He had 1,200 yards as a rookie and 1,034 last season. He’s doing so on high volume and not efficiency, averaging 3.9 yards per carry through two seasons.

The former first-round pick has done well enough. But a rushing title in year three? That seems to be a stretch.

It’s not for many bettors though. At BetMGM, Harris is dominating the betting market for which player will lead the NFL in rushing yards this season. Of all the money bet on who will be the rushing champion, 42.1% is on Harris. That figure was 50.8% in late June.

Not surprisingly, Harris is BetMGM’s biggest liability in that market.

Odds for the NFL’s leading rusher

Harris isn’t among the top few favorites to lead the NFL in rushing, which is why there’s a good amount of money on him. Here are the odds for the rushing champion:

Jonathan Taylor +700

Nick Chubb +700

Derrick Henry +900

Bijan Robinson +1100

Josh Jacobs +1200

Saquon Barkley +1300

Tony Pollard +1400

Breece Hall +1600

Rhamondre Stevenson +1800

Christian McCaffrey +1800

Harris +1800

When you see Harris tied for the ninth-best odds, behind someone like Hall who is coming back from a torn ACL, it makes more sense why there’s a lot of money on him. Getting +1800 odds on a back who has averaged 17 carries per game in his career and is still at a prime age isn’t bad.

When you take an 18-to-1 shot there needs to be a reasonable path for the bet to cash. There’s a path for Harris.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Can Najee Harris win the crown?

The Steelers are coming off yet another winning season, then had a good offseason. Included in the offseason haul was offensive tackle Broderick Jones, a first-round pick, and free-agent guard Isaac Seumalo. All of those things are good for Harris.

Teams that win generally run the ball more (they don’t win because they run it more, mind you, but they’re usually protecting leads). If the Steelers are good again, that should mean more carries for Harris behind an improving line.

There are concerns with Harris. He hasn’t been efficient or had a breakout season yet, but the same could have been said about Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders — like Harris, he was a first-round pick out of Alabama — before Jacobs led the NFL in rushing last season. Backup Jaylen Warren had a good 2022 season and he cut into Harris’ carries and snaps, which is an issue for Harris’ volume.

But those obstacles are the reasons Harris has longer odds to lead the NFL in rushing. That’s not bothering bettors. BetMGM will be rooting for anyone other than Harris to take the rushing title.