The Carolina Panthers slogged through a dismal 2023-2024 season, finishing with an NFL-worst 2-15 record. But among the few bright spots was the continued development of young running back Chuba Hubbard, who firmly established himself as one of the league’s most undervalued backs.

In his third year out of Oklahoma State, the 24-year-old Hubbard finally received his chance to shine when injuries struck Carolina’s backfield. He seized the opportunity by rushing for 902 yards and 5 touchdowns on just a $1.1 million salary cap hit — the definition of production on a budget.

In terms of dollars spent per rushing/receiving yard gained, Hubbard’s efficiency of $985 ranked 8th best across the entire NFL, according to analysis by NCWager.com. The site crunched salary and yardage data from ProFootballReference.com to determine the 10 most cost-effective running backs this season.

With Christian McCaffrey traded midseason, the Panthers leaned heavily on their young backup down the stretch. And Hubbard proved up to the task, despite Carolina’s overall struggles.

His strong finish raises hopes that the Canadian-born rusher can lift the Panthers even more in 2024, especially if North Carolina sports betting launches in time for fans to wager on Hubbard prop bets and Carolina game lines through the new North Carolina betting apps.

Getting the Most Bang for Their Buck: The NFL’s Top Budget-Friendly Running Backs of 2023-24

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionAgeCap Hit (2023-24)Rush & Rec Yds (2023-24)$ Per Yard*Career High Rush YdsCareer High Rush TDs
1Kyren WilliamsLARRB23$947,6011,350$7021500
2Rachaad WhiteTBRB23$1,165,9091,539$7571053
3Isiah PachecoKCRB23$889,7771,174$7588305
4Jaylen WarrenPITRB24$874,0001,144$7643793
5Jerome FordCLERB23$950,5371,132$8401260
6James CookBUFRB23$1,325,4681,567$8467265
7DeVon AchaneMIARB22$905,293997$9089249
8Chuba HubbardCARRB24$1,118,2941,135$9856125
9Brian Robinson Jr.WSHRB23$1,146,5691,101$1,0417972
10Tyler AllgeierATLRB23$953,474876$1,0881,0353

The state’s sports betting legislation allows for mobile sports wagering and retail sportsbooks pending regulatory approval. Top sportsbook operators like BetMGM are preparing to launch in North Carolina later this year with special North Carolina sportsbook promos for new bettors.

When the BetMGM North Carolina sports betting app goes live, customers can use the BetMGM North Carolina bonus code to unlock incentives like no-risk bets up to $1,000 and ongoing odds boosts for Panthers games.

With Hubbard establishing himself as an offensive centerpiece alongside new starting QB Bryce Young, sports bettors in North Carolina may find several enticing player prop and game bets to make next season on these budding Panthers stars.

Of course, Hubbard will need to prove 2023 was no fluke. But based on his dollars per yard efficiency, consistent usage in the backfield, and reasonable $1 million salary, the young rusher seems poised for another very productive campaign.

If he matches or exceeds this year’s numbers, Hubbard will solidify his status as one of the NFL’s truly undervalued backs — and potentially an MVP candidate for a Panthers squad hoping to bounce back under new leadership. Those storylines will surely drive major interest next season among North Carolina sports fans and bettors alike.

✅ Fact Checked on January 24, 2024 by Ken Weaver