The NCAA college football season is two weeks old, which means cupcakes have been cleared from the schedule and conference rivalries will soon be renewed in earnest. Those stats still count, even against inferior competition. So, with two games of data to work with, online sportsbook Bovada has updated its odds on winning the 2019 Heisman Trophy award.
Before the season got underway, the opening Heisman Trophy odds had Alabama’s junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – who led the Crimson Tide to victory in the 2017 National Championship Game – as the (+250) favorite. The dynamic signal-caller’s status atop the betting board made a ton of sense too, especially with Tagovailoa’s runner-up finish in last year’s Heisman voting.
Tagovailoa’s lead over the field is slimming. Clemson’s sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence – who led the Tigers to a win over Tagovailoa and the Tide in last year’s National Championship Game – could be backed at (+275) odds. Fast forward to today, Lawrence has (+300) odds to Tagovailoa’s (+400) odds chances to hoist the Heisman by season’s end.
Tagovailoa hasn’t played poorly by any means. He’s posted a 42/55 passing line (76.4 percent completion rate) for 563 yards, seven touchdowns, and no interceptions in a pair of Alabama routs. In fact, those numbers are far and away superior to those put up by Lawrence, who has gone 37/58 (63.8 percent) for 436 yards with only two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Lawrence does have a pair of rushing TDs to top Tagovailoa’s lone score on the ground, but in the eyes of Heisman voters, these two will be widely judged on their passing prowess.
So what gives?
One of Tagovailoa’s passing scores came on Alabama’s very first play from scrimmage against New Mexico State last Saturday, after a bubble screen thrown behind the line to wideout Henry Ruggs III produced a 75-yard untouched scamper.
Oddsmakers may be devaluing Tagovailoa’s hot start just a bit based on the low level of his team’s opponents. While the Tide have pounded two lightweights in the Aggies and Duke – winning by a combined 104 to 13 margin – Lawrence and the Tigers have faced stiffer competition.
Following an opening week beatdown of Georgia Tech to the tune of 52-14, Clemson took on the 12th-ranked Texas A&M. And while the game was never in doubt, a 24-10 final against a ranked foe automatically ups Lawrence’s relative level of difficulty.
Looking ahead to this week, Alabama gets its first taste of SEC play visiting South Carolina, while Clemson travels to face Syracuse.
After he was deposed by Tagovailoa as Alabama’s starter to spark the Tide’s comeback win in the 2017 national title game, QB Jalen Hurts stuck around to help the team last season. In a role reversal, he replaced an injured Tagovailoa and led a comeback win in last year’s SEC Championship Game.
But in his senior year, Hurts decided to transfer to Oklahoma, where he replaces last year’s Heisman winner turned NFL #1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray under center.
And boy are Sooners fans glad he did.
In his debut in Oklahoma red, Hurts played a nearly perfect game, completing 20 of 23 passes (87.0 percent) for 332 yards and three TDs and no interceptions through the air. Hurts didn’t stop there though, as he added another 176 yards rushing on 16 carries, including three scores, in a 49-31 win over Houston.
Another pristine passing performance in Week 2 – 14/18 (77.8 percent) for 259 yards and three TDs and no picks while guiding Oklahoma to a 70-14 demolition of South Dakota – helped Hurts improve his Heisman odds slightly from (+700) to (+600).
He’s got nothing on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, however, after the fellow senior crashed the Heisman odds race via two breakthrough games. Burrow wasn’t even listed on Bovada’s betting board to start the season, and other sportsbooks had him listed as a massive 200 to 1 (+20000) longshot to win the Heisman.
Burrow going 23/27 (85.2 percent) for 278 yards, five touchdowns, and no INTs against Georgia Southern didn’t move the needle all that much.
But when Burrow backed up that big game by beating then #9 Texas, throwing for four more TDs on 31/39 (79.5 percent) passing and 471 yards, he vaulted into the Heisman discussion at (+750).
To find out where your favorite Heisman Trophy candidate ranks among the Top-30 betting contenders, check out the table below:
Odds to Win the 2019 Heisman Trophy
|Player (Position – School)||Odds to Win the 2019 Heisman Trophy (as of 9/11/19)||Odds to Win the 2019 Heisman Trophy (as of 7/19/19)|
|Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)||+300||+275|
|Tua Tagovailoa (QB – Alabama)||+400||+250|
|Jalen Hurts (QB – Oklahoma)||+600||+700|
|Joe Burrow (QB – LSU)||+750||N/A|
|Jonathan Taylor (RB – Wisconsin)||+1200||+2000|
|Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)||+1300||+900|
|Jake Fromm (QB – Georgia)||+1600||+1400|
|Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson)||+2000||+2000|
|D’Andre Swift (RB – Georgia)||+2500||+1700|
|Justin Herbert (QB – Oregon)||+2500||+2000|
|Sam Ehlinger (QB – Texas)||+2500||+1500|
|J.T. Daniels (QB – USC)||+3000||N/A|
|Tee Higgins (WR – Clemson)||+3000||+6000|
|Adrian Martinez (QB – Nebraska)||+5000||+1100|
|Jerry Jeudy (WR – Alabama)||+5000||+4000|
|Kelly Bryant (QB – Missouri)||+5000||+7500|
|Shea Patterson (QB – Michigan)||+5000||+2600|
|Austin Kendall (QB – West Virginia)||+6000||+5000|
|Eno Benjamin (RB – Arizona State)||+6000||+8000|
|A.J. Dillon (RB – Boston College)||+6600||+5500|
|D’Eriq King (QB – Houston)||+6600||+6500|
|Ian Book (QB – Notre Dame)||+6600||+3500|
|Kellen Mond (QB – Texas A&M)||+6600||N/A|
|Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)||+6600||+3500|
|Tate Martell (QB – Miami)||+6600||+7000|
|Bo Nix (QB – Auburn)||+8000||N/A|
|J.K. Dobbins (RB – Ohio State)||+8000||N/A|
|K.J. Costello (QB – Stanford)||+8000||+8000|
|Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue)||+8000||+5000|
|Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR – Colorado)||+10000||N/A|