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In his third season, Elliott has proven to be one of the league’s premier backs, showing that he can not only run hard (and sometimes cleverly, patiently) but also catch balls with soft hands, making him an extremely dangerous weapon.
Oddsmakers have released their predictions for Elliott’s 2019 season, including for total rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, so here we take a closer look at this exciting young player as well as analyze the odds and predictions of his upcoming season.
Ezekiel Elijah Elliott is a 24-year-old NFL running back who was born in 1995 in Alton, Illinois to mother Dawn and father Stacy.
Elliott went to high school at John Burroughs School in Ladue, Missouri, which was known more for its academics than its sports, where he became a three-sport star (football, basketball, and track).
In his senior year as a football standout, Elliott had 3,061 yards from scrimmage and 50 touchdowns, which included 2,155 rushing yards and 40 rushing touchdowns.
Elliott comes from an incredibly athletic family, which explains his natural abilities on the football field.
His mother’s maiden name was Dawn Huff, and she herself was a three-sport star in high school and ran track at the University of Missouri.
Ezekiel’s father, Stacy Elliott, was no slouch either, playing football at the University of Missouri as a linebacker, while his maternal grandfather played basketball for Drake University.
Yes, he was considered a four-star recruit by Scout.com and was the ninth-best running back in the nation when he graduated high school in 2013.
Like a lot of standout young athletes, Elliott played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that same year and received further college interest as a result.
Of course, his parents wanted him to attend their alma mater, Missouri, but in the end, Elliott decided to play football at THE Ohio State University (OSU).
Elliott’s freshman year was not overly impressive – in seven games he ran the ball 30 times for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns while catching three passes for 23 yards and a touchdown.
Then, in his next (and final) two seasons, he ran the ball for 1,800+ yards and caught for 200+ yards in each year, scoring 18 touchdowns as a sophomore and 23 as a junior.
His Junior season, Elliott was a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy and was named the 2015 Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and was selected as Unanimous First Team All-Big Ten and declared himself eligible for the draft.
In 2015, because of his ability to run with and catch the ball, Elliott was considered the most complete running back in the NFL draft.
Elliott was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the draft (fourth overall pick), a team that, at the time, had the league’s most dominant front line.
The Cowboys and Elliott agreed to a $24.9 million rookie deal, with a $16.3 million signing bonus, and the young back became a favorite to win the 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year, and though that didn’t end up happening, he did make the Pro Football Writers Associate (PFWA) All-Rookie team that same season.
You could definitely say that about the man who made First-team All-Pro his rookie season after posting 1,994 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns.
In each of his forty NFL games, Elliott has averaged 131 yards from scrimmage and .85 touchdowns per game, which now makes him a critical part of new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s developing game plan.
In the history of the franchise, Elliott is considered the third-best running back behind second-place finisher Tony Dorsett and of course the all-time Cowboys greatest back, Emmitt Smith.
His 2017 season was shortened to just ten games due to an NFL suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Five times, Elliott was accused of domestic violence with his ex-girlfriend in his rookie season, and though he was never charged for a crime, the NFL still decided to suspend him for six games.
After a lengthy process of appeals that seemed to take forever, Elliott withdrew from any more appeal attempts and served his six-game suspension starting in the second half of the 2017 season.
The list of Elliott’s NFL accolades includes becoming the FedEx Ground Player of the year in 2016 as well as playing in two Pro Bowls and being named a First- and Second-team All-Pro.
Twice Elliott became the NFL rushing yards leader (2016 and 2018), coming close to 2,000 total yards from scrimmage in each of those seasons with a combined total of 25 touchdowns.
In his three year NFL career, Elliott has helped his team get to the playoffs twice, both times losing in the Divisional round.
The Cowboys continue to have a dominant front line (including guard Zack Martin and left tackle Tyron Smith), their rushing attack ranked 10th during the 2018 season.
With the addition of tight end (and future Hall of Famer) Jason Witten, Elliott gets not only an additional excellent blocker but another short-range receiver to run patterns off of to distract the defense.
Elliott averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry last season, and quarterback Dak Prescott and the rest of the Cowboys are counting on him to be just as (or more) productive than that as they attempt to return to the postseason for the second season in a row, something the team hasn’t done since 2006 and 2007.
Over the last six seasons, the Cowboys’ seasonal playoff appearances seem to happen only every other year, and according to that pattern, 2019 will not contain a postseason.
In fact, oddsmakers have them placing second in the NFC East behind the Philadelphia Eagles, so if those odds play out, the Cowboys will have to battle in the postseason from the Wild Card spot, never an easy thing to do.
But helping matters in Dallas is not only last season’s total rushing yards leader in Elliott, but also an excellent young franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott, the addition of Witten and receiver Randall Cobb on top of the already stellar wideout Amari Cooper, plus throw in last season’s fifth-ranked Dallas defense and you have the makings of a playoff-worthy squad.
The two big categories that running backs are judged on at the end of a regular-season are total rushing yards and touchdowns.
In his three NFL seasons, Elliott has averaged about 130 total yards from scrimmage per game, and if he stays healthy expect him to put up the same type of numbers in 2019.
Elliott averages just under a touchdown per game in his career, so if he can continue on that roll, he could easily cover the over on the following two bets.
Here are his current odds for 2019:
Caveat: Elliott must play in game one for action to commence.
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Analysis: One look at Elliott’s career numbers and this bet seems like an obvious one, at least as obvious as any bet can be.
In each of his two full seasons, Elliott rushed for 1,631 and 1,434 yards, and even in his shortened 2017, he put up numbers that would have put him at 1,573 total yards of rushing.
With a running back, though, you have to always consider that they could get hurt, and if that happens then the under is a better bet here, but Elliott has managed to stay fairly healthy during his NFL career, so something extraordinarily negative would have to happen to him and that might not be worth the gamble.
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Again, one look at Elliott’s career numbers and this bet appears to be another obvious one.
In his three NFL seasons, Elliot would have only covered the over here once, and that was his rookie season when he rushed for 15 touchdowns and set all sorts of rookie records.
It seems unlikely that Elliott will snag the over here and put up 11 touchdowns unless he has a breakout season, but given that the Cowboys seem in position to make a run for the postseason in 2019, that type of standout year is definitely possible for this young back.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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