NFL

Saquon Barkley Is a Lock to Hit the Over on His 2020 Props

In 2018, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley became just the third player in NFL history to total at least 2,000 scrimmage yards as a rookie. The other two? Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James, who did it on 89 and 79 more touches than Barkley, respectively.

Barkley also became just the 10th running back since 1980 to score 15 times as a rookie. Not too shabby.

For the 2020 season, FanDuel Sportsbook has set Barkley's over/unders for total yards and touchdowns at 1749.5 and 11.5, respectively.

With each of the unders and overs priced at -112, how should you bet it?

Rookie Production

The second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Barkley wasted no time showing the league what he's capable of. According to Pro Football Reference, the Penn State product entrenched himself as just the sixth player in league history to record at least 2,000 total yards and 15 touchdowns on 360 touches or less. He had some elite company.

Players Year Year
of Career
Total
Yards
Total
Touchdowns
Jim Brown 1963 7th 2,131 15
O.J. Simpson 1975 7th 2,143 23
Roger Craig 1985 3rd 2,066 15
Marshall Faulk 2000 7th 2,189 26
Marshall Faulk 2001 8th 2,147 21
Todd Gurley 2017 3rd 2,093 19
Saquon Barkley 2018 1st 2,028 15


Any list that includes three of the greatest running backs to ever step on a football field -- Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, and Marshall Faulk -- is one worth taking note of. Keep in mind, unlike any of the other backs, Barkley did this as a rookie.

At Barkley's 2018 pace of 5.8 yards per touch, he would only need 301.7 touches to reach 1,750 yards. At his pace of a score per every 23.5 touches, he would reach 12 touchdowns in 281.6 touches.

2019 Production

Barkley's second season wasn't quite the same story.

The star back missed three games due to a high ankle sprain that he suffered in a Week 3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it wasn't until the final quarter of the season that he finally started to look like himself again.

Nevertheless, he still posted a 16-game pace of 1,768 total yards and 9.9 scores. It's important to note that he had a six-game scoring drought at one point following his return from injury. It's certainly plausible that he would've scored more frequently had he been healthy.

Ankle Concerns

Last year wasn't the first time Barkley suffered an ankle injury.

As a freshman in 2015, Barkley missed two games due to an ankle sprain. He suffered another one in 2016 but ended up not missing the following week's Big Ten Championship match with the Wisconsin Badgers.

While the injuries are not necessarily a trend, it is something to be wary of.

Other Factors

New York's hiring of former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is fantastic news for Barkley.

Dallas was top-10 in rushing in each of their last six seasons with Garrett at the helm. They were also top-10 in rushing attempts and touchdowns in five and four of those campaigns, respectively. Ezekiel Elliott topped 1749.5 scrimmage yards in each of his three seasons where he played more than 10 games.

The Giants did sign Dion Lewis in the offseason, but if you're worried about that, please allow me to sell you this beautiful bridge.

The Pick

I'll italicize it in case it wasn't clear by now... I'm picking the over.

numberFire projects Barkley for 1862.5 total yards, which, according to my background in advanced math, is more than 1749.5. The model also projects him for 12.5 touchdowns. Reminder: the over/under is 11.5. I'll let you do the math on that one.