By: Travis Pulver
The Heisman Trophy Odds Still See Joe Burrow as the Favorite… for Now
As the end of the college football regular season draws near, each game means a lot more. With every team looking for that signature win that will get them into the playoffs, bowl eligible, or bragging rights over a rival, everyone will be looking for the superstars to live up to their billing.
For Heisman candidates, it is one more chance to make a case for college football’s biggest individual honor. So, with the season on the line, will they step and make the big play? Will they be the reason their team wins the big game, or will they be just another cog in the machine?
Last week saw several Heisman candidates take the field, some in big games and some in not-so-big games. But there is only one question that really needs to be asked: Did anyone play well enough to improve their odds or maybe even unseat Joe Burrow as the favorite?
Heisman Odds Favorite: It’s Still Joe Burrow’s World But Chase Young Wants A Piece
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow entered last weekend as the heavy favorite to win the Heisman. Heading into the weekend against an easy opponent, Arkansas, he couldn’t help his case, but he could certainly do it harm with a lousy game.
But Joe Burrow doesn’t have bad games. He completed 23 of 28 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns in an easy 56-20 win. With another excellent performance under his belt, the oddsmaker saw fit to improve his Heisman odds to -1430.
Several players that had odds heading into the weekend do not have odds anymore. In some cases (i.e., Justin Herbert), it is because they had a bad game and/or lost. But in a nutshell, the season is winding down, and only three finalists head to New York in a couple of weeks.
At this point, there is no sense in listing someone who doesn’t have a shot at being one of those three.
There is a good chance that Burrow will be joined in New York by a pair of Ohio State Buckeyes. Chase Young made a heck of a case for the two games he missed to be overlooked with three sacks against Penn State. Most sportsbooks have him listed as the second-biggest favorite with his Heisman odds now at +900.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was able to lead the team to a win over the Nittany Lions, 28-17. He only accounted for 258 total yards of offense, though (188 passing and 68 rushing) and two touchdowns. But he also lost two fumbles that helped Penn State get back into the game. His Heisman odds ended up falling from +700 to +1000.
A third Ohio State player, running back, J.K. Dobbins, had a great day against a very good opponent with 157 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. His odds remained long, though, at +10000 because—well, his two teammates are just better candidates.
The Heisman Trophy Odds for the Rest of the Field
As for the rest of the remaining field, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts (+2200) and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (+15000), both had good days in their respective games.
Hurts accounted for 318 total yards of offense and four touchdowns in a tight 28-24 win over TCU. But he also had two turnovers, so he probably did his case more harm than good.
For Taylor, it was another 200+ yard day with 222 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. But at this point, he doesn’t stand a chance.
At this point, the only two of the six that are really out of the running are Dobbins and Taylor. Not because their body of work is not worthy; the other four have simply had better seasons.
Burrow could potentially be derailed if he has terrible games against Texas A&M and Georgia. If Michigan can hold Chase Young without a sack this week, he should be out of the running. Fields needs to win out against Michigan and Wisconsin and play mistake-free if he is going to have a shot. Hurts is in a similar boat. He needs to dominate Oklahoma State and Baylor if he is going to upset Burrow.
So, for now, the Heisman is still there for Joe Burrow to lose. It is going to be hard for one of the underdogs to overtake the favorite. But the end of the road is not going to be an easy one for anyone. Fans and gamblers shouldn’t be shocked if a star or two falls from grace—or if one should happen to rise.