The Heisman Trophy Odds Are Squarely in Joe Burrow’s Favor
When the 2019-20 college football season began, the expectation for the Heisman Trophy race was that Trevor Lawrence or Tua Tagovailoa would win. Other guys, like Jonathan Taylor, Justin Fields, and Jalen Hurts had decent odds.
But the popular perception was that the Heisman was Lawrence’s or Tagovailoa’s to lose.
As for LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, he was barely in the conversion, but he did have odds– +20000. It is safe to say he was not expected even to come close to competing. Fast forward a couple of months, and not only is he supposed to win, but he’s also probably going to run away with it.
However, with two weeks left of the regular season and then conference championship games, it seems a little soon to crown him the winner. But with how he has played, does anyone stand a chance against the current favorite, Joe Burrow?
Heisman Odds Underdogs: Is There Value In Betting On Anyone Not Named Joe Burrow?
To go from being the longshot that he was at the start of the season to become the favorite is a testament to how well Joe Burrow has played. He leads the nation with an incredible 78.6 completion percentage, is second in passing yards and touchdowns, and is one of three players with a 200+ quarterback rating this season (so far).
Oh—and most importantly, his team is undefeated heading into this weekend, and he has beaten some quality competition, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Texas. All were top ten teams when they faced Joe Burrow and LSU.
It should come as no surprise that his odds are as good as they now are (-1115)
So, it is going to take a pretty incredible season to even compete with Burrow, let alone beat him. Tua Tagovailoa isn’t even listed by some books now. The other preseason favorite, Trevor Lawrence, doesn’t stand a chance (+25000). Jake Fromm, J.K. Dobbins, D’Andre Swift, and Jonathan Taylor (+10,000) have all had some Heisman-worthy moments this season. But each has also had enough struggles to knock them out of the conversation.
Justin Herbert (+8000) has had a good season, but not so good that he even warrants being in the conversation still. As for the defensive contestant this year, Chase Young, the two-game suspension effectively killed any chance he had of making history.
The only guys that stand even a slim chance of upsetting Burrow for the Heisman are Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+700) and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts (+1200). A case could be mounted for either to win the award; both will likely join Burrow as finalists this year.
[table id=284 /]
Can a Buckeye Buck Burrows as the Heisman Odds Favorite?
Fields, like Burrow, leads an undefeated team. He has accounted for 41 touchdowns this year (so far; 31 passing and ten rushing) and 2500+ total yards of offense. Fields has a respectable completion percentage (69.1), average yards/attempt (9.4), and has only thrown a single interception this season.
With a strong performance against Penn State this weekend, against Michigan the following weekend, and against whoever Ohio State faces in the Big Ten title game, his odds could get a lot better.
But an even more compelling case could be made for Jalen Hurts. His team is not undefeated like Fields and Burrow, but he has been more productive. Burrow leads the trio in passing yards with 3,687 but Hurts leads in total yards with 4,022 (3,039 passing and 983 rushing).
Burrow also leads the way with 38 touchdown passes (28 for Hurts and 31 for Fields). But he has also thrown more interceptions (six; Hurts has five and Fields one). Hurts leads the way in total touchdowns (43; 28 passing and 15 rushing) followed by Fields (31 passing and ten rushing) and Burrow (38 passing and three rushing) with 41 each.
However, where Burrow dominates the competition is in marquee wins with four over top-ten teams. Fields could potentially have four wins over top-25 teams (not including the Big Ten championship), but only one win over a top-ten team. Hurts has beaten two top-25 teams and will face a third before the season is out.
So, when it comes down to voting time, what will the voters value more? Will they go for one of the underdogs in Fields or Hurts? Both have played well but haven’t faced the level of competition Burrow has.
Or will the favorite, Burrow, take home the trophy? We’ll find out in just a few weeks.