Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week that Thomas Rawls "looks great" and "really is back to the form we saw a couple years ago," reports the Seattle Times.
Oddsmakers took note.
Following glowing reports like that, they made the 24-year-old Rawls a substantial favorite to start Week 1 over free-agent acquisition Eddie Lacy.
BookMaker.eu, the market-setting offshore sportsbook, has Rawls as a -200 favorite to be the starter, meaning you'd risk $200 to win $100.
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Lacy is a +170 underdog; you'd win $170 on a $100 bet if Lacy starts.
Lacy, 27, has been hitting his weight clauses but it remains to be seen how he performs on his surgically-repaired ankle. The Seahawks open the preseason Sunday night at the Chargers.
Bettors who want to back Lacy might note Seattle's season opener is at Green Bay, where Lacy spent the first four years of his career. But Carroll won't be sentimental if Rawls is clearly better.
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As a rookie in 2015, Rawls exploded for 830 yards on just 147 carries, a whopping 5.6 yards per rush. He scored five touchdowns as a part-time player.
Now, after finally getting over two leg injuries, Rawls could be back to the player who was "a perfect fit for the cutting zone-blocking scheme the Seahawks use," per the paper.
Pick: The Seahawks are going to use both backs on early downs, with C.J. Prosise coming in as the receiving threat. Seattle didn't sign Lacy for $5.55 million, including $3 million guaranteed, to have him watch.
But until we see Lacy fully recovered from his ankle surgery, you have to back Rawls. Lay the price.