By: Travis Pulver
Heisman Trophy Odds Revisited: Do Not Count Anyone Out—Yet
With all the changes that the college football season has endured, it is good to know that one thing has stayed the same—the Heisman Trophy. Many wondered if the Trust would change things up this year and award after the Big Ten and Pac-12 play in the spring.
But the Heisman Trophy Trust will hand out the award like it always does in early December.
What does this mean for gamblers? It means the player pool will be a lot smaller, with two major conferences not playing and several players opting out because of coronavirus concerns. If you took a chance and rolled the dice on a long shot, good for you. His odds are not going to be nearly as long now(probably).
It could also mean the usual rules are out the window. With a smaller player pool, maybe a defensive player can capture the hearts of voters and win. At the least, running backs and wide receivers will have a better chance.
But who is going to win?
Heisman Trophy Odds Revisited: We Have A New Favorite
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was the preseason favorite to win the Heisman this year, and deservedly so. But with the Big Ten not playing this season, Fields is no longer a candidate—which also means we need a new favorite.
No one should be surprised that it is Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+200; odds via DraftKings). What may be surprising, though, is that the player with the next best odds has yet to start a game, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler (+700).
Since his odds are significantly higher than Lawrence, are oddsmakers trying to send us a message? Is this year’s Heisman Lawrence’s to lose? What about the preseason Heisman favorite curse? Not familiar with that one?
It’s simple—preseason Heisman favorites rarely even get invited to the ceremony in December, let alone win. But Lawrence might get lucky in this case since Ohio State’s Justin Fields was the original favorite. Then again, he might not.
Lawrence is the favorite heading into the season because he is the superstar we know. We have seen just how great he can be—which is why he was one of the favorites heading into last season. But his game was lackluster at best, and he quickly fell out of contention.
He is the obvious choice for favorite with Fields out, but the usual rules will apply in the end. Voters are going to gravitate to whoever shocks them. They are going to look for someone with the ‘wow’ factor. If no one does have it, Lawrence could be the fallback plan (assuming he plays well enough).
JT Daniels (+1000) could certainly be that guy now that the job is his at Georgia.
Is it Time for a Running Back to Take Over the Heisman Trophy Odds
But with the player pool being thinner, the door could be wide open for a running back, wide receiver, or even a defensive player winning. Travis Etienne (+1400), Najee Harris (+2200), and Jaylen Waddle (+2000) stand to be on the radar of voters more than they would have. Should Chuba Hubbard (+3300) replicate last season’s success, he has to become a front runner.
If Lawrence is not impressive, but someone plays like Chase Young did last year, we could see our first defensive Heisman winner. Maybe LSU defensive back Derek Stingley Jr. (+10000
This could also be the year we see a Group of Five player become a legitimate candidate. Had Miami’s D’Eriq King (+800) stayed at Houston, he would be a great option. But at Miami, he will be on a better overall team, which will improve his chances.
Louisville quarterback Micale Cunningham (+5000) certainly has a good shot. Memphis quarterback Brady White (+25000) had a great game in their season opener. But Group of Five guys could also have an even harder time getting consideration since they will not be playing against any Power Five teams.
So—who is going to win?
That’s a great question. Without interconference games this season, voting is going to be even more subjective than usual. So, while this could be the season for a running back, wide receiver, or defensive player to win, it wouldn’t be shocking to see voters focus their attention on the early favorites.