James Conner New Favorite To Lead NFL In Rushing TDs As Cardinals Host Panthers

Written By C.J. Pierre on November 14, 2021 - Last Updated on January 30, 2023

We’re halfway there. In the first-ever 17-game NFL season, we have reached a true midway point. Nine weeks gone, nine weeks to go.

And the Arizona Cardinals remain one of the surprises of the league.

The team looks to continue their strong season as they take on the Carolina Panthers at State Farm Stadium.

While quarterback Kyler Murray has performed exceptionally and played his way into the MVP conversation, his supporting cast is also making some noise.

For example, running back James Conner is making a significant impact in his first season with Arizona. And sports bettors in the Grand Canyon State who had high hopes for the former Pittsburgh Steeler have a good chance to cash in.

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Arizona betting odds favor James Conner leading NFL in TDs

Through the Cardinals’ first nine games of the season, James Conner has been one of the major contributors that fans in the Red Sea did not see coming. After Week 9, Conner is tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns with 10. The Arizona newcomer is tied with Derrick Henry of the Tennesse Titans.

It may be safe to say that no one saw this coming from Conner. Going into the season, Caesars Sportsbook Arizona had the odds that he would lead the league in rushing TDs at +6000. You would have found similar odds across the Arizona online sports betting market.

With Henry expected to miss the rest of the season with an injury, sportsbooks now give Conner the best odds to lead the league in rushing TDs. If you look across sports betting sites in Arizona, you will see Conner alone at the top in the most regular-season rushing touchdowns category under player futures.

PlayerDraftKings AZFanDuel AZCaesars Sportsbook AZ
James Conner+120+125+125
Johnathan Taylor+350+400+400
Nick Chubb+600+600+550
Damien Harris+800+900+800
Joe Mixon+1000+1400+1400

Conner dominating in the desert

There are a number of factors that can give bettors hope that Conner will continue to find the end zone during the second half of the season. First, the Cardinals’ gameplan features Conner heavily in the red zone. So whenever the Cards find themselves in scoring range, there is a good chance they will look Conner’s way.

Furthermore, Conner now finds himself as the lone feature running back in the Cardinals backfield. Running mate Chase Edmonds was recently placed on the injured reserve list because of an ankle injury. Meaning, Conner will see most of the work at running back for at least two more games.

Conner could be on the fast track to earning himself some hardware as well. Most betting apps in Arizona have him near the top in the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award odds ().

Conner is bouncing back after an injury-plagued final season with Pittsburgh. However, he has some stiff competition for this award. Right now, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is the clear favorite ().

Cardinals enter Week 10 as home favorites vs. Panthers

Arizona is still sitting atop the NFC with an 8-1 record. Before the season started, many fans were just hoping the team would make the playoffs. Now expectations are for the Cardinals to make a deep playoff run. To stay on track, The Cards will have to beat a Carolina Panthers team that is facing loads of question marks. Oddsmakers give Arizona the edge and have them as the favorites ().

The biggest news for the Panthers heading into this game surrounds the return of quarterback Cam Newton to the franchise. After spending the 2020 season with the New England Patriots, Newton has come back to the place where he won an MVP in 2015 and led the Panthers to an appearance in Super Bowl 50.

It’s not likely that Newtown will play. With starting QB Sam Darnold injured, PJ Walker expects to be the signal-caller for the Panthers. According to FanDuel Arizona, the over/under for Walker’s passing yards is set at 203.5.

The Cardinals defense should expect to see a lot of Panthers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey. On DraftKings Arizona, McCaffrey’s over/under for combined rushing and receiving yards is at 107.5.

Meanwhile, Arizona is still dealing with injury problems. Kyler Murray is once again listed as a game-time decision. However, it is being reported that the Cardinals are “pessimistic” about K1’s availability.

That means backup Colt McCoy could be in line for his second straight start. McCoy played well last week in the team’s 31-17 road victory over the San Francisco 49ers. He finished with 249 passing yards and threw one touchdown pass.

Arizona’s star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is also doubtful to play. Hopkins is still dealing with a hamstring injury. Meaning it could be the ‘James Conner Show’ at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.

Carolina Panthers (4-5) at Arizona Cardinals (8-1)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 14th
Time: 2:05 p.m. MST
Location: State Farm Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
TV Coverage: FOX

Photo by AP / Tony Avelar
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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