The NFL’s betting market is ever-expanding, giving bettors some pretty niche opportunities. This article will take a look at two new markets for the 2021 season – NFL fastest player odds (specifically fastest ball carrier) and fastest recorded sack.
DraftKings Sportsbook offers prices on several players and NFL NextGen Stats records top speeds for ball carriers and the seconds from snap to sack. How are bettors supposed to make an informed decision?
Let’s dive into the market and past results.
NFL Fastest Player odds (Fastest Ball Carrier)
*Odds as of August 18, 2021
What You Need To Know About Ball Carrier Speeds
While it might seem easy enough to Google each player’s 40-yard-dash time, that won’t be enough to make an informed bet. Many of the top players on the odds board do post impressive 40 times– specifically, the favorite Tyreek Hill (4.29). However Saquon Barkley (4.41), Kenyan Drake (4.45), and Nick Chubb (4.52) aren’t breaking any records.
When it comes to considering the top speed reached for ball carriers this season, you also have to consider breakaway opportunities. Since the stat was tracked in 2016, the top-five fastest speeds reached averaged 64 yards gained on those plays.
Since then, just three plays in the top five each season went for under 30 yards and, of those, only one was not a kick return (note: those two kickoff returns were long touchdowns but called back for penalties, officially being recorded as sub-30 yard returns).
According to the NFL, Jonathan Taylor and Chubb are among the top-10 most explosive runners from a season ago. Per Sharp Football Analysis, the Browns are the NFL’s top explosive run team while Indianapolis is seventh. Also worth noting, the Chiefs ranked fifth in 2020 in explosive pass plays.
Taking all of these factors into account can help narrow the field down, but that still doesn’t quite explain everything.
Fastest NFL Ball Carriers Since 2016
It’s interesting to note that Tyreek Hill has not been the fastest ball carrier in the NFL in any of the past four seasons, despite opening as the favorite in this new market.
|Raheem Mostert||23.09||80-yard rush TD|
|Raheem Mostert||22.73||76-yard TD reception|
|Kenyan Drake||22.11||69-yard rush TD|
|Matt Breida||22.30||83-yard rush TD|
|Cordarrelle Patterson||22.23||46-yard rush|
|Brandon Wilson||22.03||92-yard kickoff return TD|
|Matt Breida||22.09||33-yard rush TD|
|Dalvin Cook||22.07||70-yard rush|
|Devin McCourty||22.05||84-yard interception return TD|
|Leonard Fournette||22.05||90-yard rush TD|
|Leonard Fournette||21.76||75-yard rush TD|
|Martavis Bryant||21.72||22-yard kickoff return TD|
|Tyreek Hill||23.24||27-yard kickoff return|
|Tyreek Hill||22.77||86-yard kickoff return TD|
|DeSean Jackson||22.60||59-yard reception|
NFL Fastest Sack odds
*Odds as of August 18, 2021
What You Need To Know About Sack Speeds
The NFL fastest player odds for fastest sack had some surprising results in previous years. Fastest sack is determined by the quickest time from snap to sack. Oftentimes, this will come due to a free rusher or an explosive player that dismisses their block in the quickest amount of time. How quickly can that be done? Very quickly, if you’re an elite pass rusher.
The league’s top pass rushers like Myles Garrett and Chase Young have appeared on the fastest sack list more than once. However, linebackers and defensive backs who come free on blitzes have a better chance at recording the fastest sack for a number of reasons. First, they’re simply faster than typical edge rushers (though that gap is closing each year). Secondly, they don’t have to waste time getting off a block.
Do note, this doesn’t mean that blitz-happy teams dominate the fastest sack times; in 2020, the top three most blitz-heavy teams didn’t place in the top-five fastest sacks. The fastest sack of 2020– recorded by linebacker Darius Leonard– came from the Colts, who blitzed the second least in the NFL.
While this stat can be less predictable than betting on the NFL fastest player / ball carrier, it can still be fun.
Fastest Sacks Since 2016
Montez Sweat may be the favorite in the betting odds, but he did not have the fastest sack in either of his two years in the league; although, he did come close as a rookie in 2019 with a time that was better than any sack in 2020.
|Antoine Winfield Jr.||S||2.06|