Anderson, Hillman to share carries?
The Denver Broncos have used a two-back system all season, but are they leaning toward C.J. Anderson over Ronnie Hillman heading into Super Bowl 50?
According to oddsmakers at RealBets, the latest odds for the game has the Carolina Panthers as a 4.5-point favorite against the Broncos tonight. The over/under total is currently listed at 44 points. These two meet tonight at 6:30PM ET on CBS.
Anderson entered the 2015 season as the expected feature back, but he struggled to get on track, which opened the door for Hillman. In the end, Hillman rushed for a team-high 863 yards and seven touchdowns on 207 carries this season while Anderson had 720 yards and five scores on 152 attempts. However, in the playoffs, Anderson has run for 144 yards and a touchdown while Hillman has just 54 yards in two games. One key factor to still note is that the carries aren’t much different despite the production, as Anderson only has a 31-27 edge in carries over the two playoff games.
For tonight, oddsmakers have listed Anderson with an over/under of 13.5 rushing attempts and 60.5 rushing yards while Hillman is listed at 10.5 carries and 37.5 yards. Rushing could be an issue as is against the Panthers, who have the fourth-ranked run defense in the NFL, allowing just 88.4 yards per game. Still, we know Denver will remain committed to the run. Despite rushing for just 99 yards as a team in the AFC Championship, Denver had 30 attempts on the ground. They had 33 rushing attempts against the Steelers in the playoffs as well, amassing just 109 yards.
Anderson has had at least 15 carries in his last three games, which has led to 72 yards or more in each contest. He has run for over 61 yards in four straight games and done that six times for the season. He has had 14 carries or more in just five games for the whole season. Hillman, on the other hand, has had at least 11 carries 13 games this season and run for 38 yards or more in 10 games. Looking at the numbers, Hillman may not be the more productive back of the two on Sunday, but he seems to be the smarter play for hitting the over in each wager. Denver hasn’t bailed on giving him chances, so why would they start now?