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2019 Heisman Odds, Best Bets, and Trends

Hayden Winks
Connor Allen looks at the news in College Football and breaks down the latest notes from Scouts on 2020 NFL Draft prospects. (Getty Images)

Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence, Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts, Sam Ehlinger, etc., etc., etc. This is going to be a good year of college football, but before we get to the Heisman Trophy odds and my favorite bets, here are some trends on the winners since 2000:

  • 19 of 19 played on a Power 5 team
  • 17 of 19 played on a Preseason AP Top 25 team
  • 13 of 19 played on a Preseason AP Top 7 team
  • 17 of 19 played on a team that won at least 10 games
  • 12 of 19 played on a team that averaged at least 41 points per game
  • 16 of 19 were quarterbacks and seven of the last ten winners were dual-threat
  • 3 of 19 were running backs and all three played on a Preseason AP Top 5 team

 

Basically, most modern Heisman Trophy Winners are (dual-threat) quarterbacks on high-scoring teams that were considered (really) good before the season. That’s why I’m listing team, position, odds to win the College Football Playoff, and last year’s points per game when we scroll through the 2019 Heisman Trophy Odds.

 

2019 Heisman Favorites

Heisman Candidates

Heisman Odds

CFP Odds

2018 PPG

My "Top 50" Rank

Trevor Lawrence (Clemson, QB)

+250

+195

44

QB2

Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama, QB)

+250

+230

46

QB1

Justin Fields (Ohio State, QB)

+1100

+1200

42*

QB14

Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma, QB)

+1100

+1600

48*

QB10

D'Andre Swift (Georgia, RB)

+1400

+850

38

RB3

Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin, RB)

+1400

+7500

29*

RB2

Jake Fromm (Georgia, QB)

+1600

+850

38

QB3

Adrian Martinez (Nebraska, QB)

+1800

+8000

30

QB18

Travis Etienne (Clemson, RB)

+2200

+195

44

RB1

Sam Ehlinger (Texas, QB)

+2200

+3000

31

QB4

Justin Herbert (Oregon, QB)

+2200

+5500

35

QB8

 

Jake Fromm (+1600) is my favorite bet on the board for a few reasons -- he’s good, he plays for a great team in Georgia, and there’s some meat on the bone in terms of payout if it connects. Fromm finished as my QB3 when I ranked my Top 50 College Quarterbacks of 2019, only trailing the two guys I’m writing up next. However, Fromm is more than efficient enough to be in the mix heading into Championship weekend -- Fromm finished with the 10th best Total QBR sophomore season since 2004 --  so we’ll be looking really nice if we can get some positive touchdown variance. Also, Fromm’s Heisman odds don’t reflect just how good Georgia is. In fact, the betting markets give Georgia 11% implied odds to win the Natty, but Fromm’s implied odds of winning the Heisman are just 6%. That five percent difference is tied for largest among quarterbacks this year and that’s exactly what we should be aiming for knowing most Heisman winners play on elite teams.

Trevor Lawrence (+250) is chalk, but I’m willing to eat it. According to betting markets, Clemson has 34% implied odds of winning the National Championship this year, but Lawrence only has 29% implied odds of winning the Heisman. That’s some tasty +EV right there. As a freshman last year, Lawrence led the Clemson offense to 44 points per game -- that easily cleared the 41 points per game threshold I listed in the intro notes -- and the offense basically remains the same in 2019. However, I think some of Travis Etienne’s 24 rushing touchdowns from last year will turn into Lawrence passing touchdowns purely due to regression. Since Clemson has better odds of remaining undefeated heading into Heisman voting on December 3rd, I like Lawrence slightly more than Tua Tagovailoa for the Heisman.

However, Tua Tagovailoa (+250) is still a good bet. We all know Tua’s a stud, and we all know Alabama means business -- read Mark Lindquist’s column about the Alabama dynasty under Nick Saban -- but the reason I’ll eat these odds is because of the narratives we get with a Tua ticket. I think Tua will get the benefit of the doubt in 2019 if there are two deserving candidates because it’s his last chance at winning Heisman and because he arguably lost last year’s trophy due to injuries. These narratives matter whether we like it or not. Overall, I really like the favorites this year. I’d say there’s a 75-80% chance the Heisman Trophy Winner is either Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, or Jake Fromm. These quarterbacks and their teams are just too good for secondary candidates to surpass all three.

Easy Fades: Jonathan Taylor, Adrian Martinez, and Justin Herbert.

 

2019 Heisman Long Shots

Heisman Candidates

Heisman Odds

CFP Odds

2018 PPG

My "Top 50" Rank

D'Eriq King (Houston, QB)

+2900

+25000

44

QB5

Jerry Jeudy (Alabama, WR)

+3400

+230

46

WR2

Najee Harris (Alabama, RB)

+3600

+230

46

RB5

Shea Patterson (Michigan, QB)

+3600

+2200

35

QB9

Ian Book (Notre Dame, QB)

+3600

+5000

31

QB7

Eno Benjamin (Arizona St., RB)

+3600

+23000

29*

RB4

J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State, RB)

+4500

+1200

42*

RB7

Tate Martell (Miami, QB)

+4500

+5500

28*

QBNA

Khalil Tate (Arizona, QB)

+4500

+17000

31

QB26

CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma, WR)

+5000

+1600

48*

WR6

K.J. Costello (Stanford, QB)

+5000

+10000

28

QB6

J.T. Daniels (USC, QB)

+5000

+12000

26

QB24

Austin Kendall (West Virginia, QB)

+5000

+12000

40*

QBNA

Rondale Moore (Purdue, WR)

+5000

+19000

31

WR3

Joe Burrow (LSU, QB)

+6500

+5000

32

QB13

Jacob Eason (Washington, QB)

+6500

+5500

26*

QB32

A.J. Dillon (Boston College, RB)

+6500

+23000

32

RB14

Brandon Wimbush (UCF, QB)

+6500

+25000

43*

QBNA

Justyn Ross (Clemson, WR)

+8000

+195

44

WR5

Kennedy Brooks (Oklahoma, RB)

+8000

+1600

48*

RB19

Kelly Bryant (Missouri, QB)

+8000

+23000

37*

QB33

Lamical Perine (Florida, RB)

+10000

+3500

35

RB46

Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma St., WR)

+10000

+10000

38*

WR4

Cameron Rising (Utah*, QB)

OUT

+15000

28*

QBNA

Kellen Mond (Texas A&M, QB)

+10000

+16000

36

QB11

Cole McDonald (Hawaii, QB)

+10000

+25000

31

QB29

Alex Delton (TCU, QB)

+12000

+16000

23*

QBNA

Deondre Francois (FAU, QB)

+12000

+25000

31*

QBNA

Shawn Robinson (Missouri*, QB)

+16000

+23000

37*

QBNA

Larry Rountree (Missouri, RB)

+16000

+23000

37*

RB31

Jordan Love (Utah State, QB)

+16000

+25000

48

QB15

Ke'Shawn Vaughn (Vanderbilt, RB)

+16000

+25000

28*

RB8

Laviska Shenault (Colorado, WR)

+16000

+25000

27

WR1

Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma St., RB)

+23000

+10000

38*

RB18

Mason Fine (North Texas, QB)

+25000

+25000

35

QB30

 

Like I mentioned above, I really like the favorites this year, so I don’t like 95% of these odds. And the two I’m listing below are just okay bets, but the readers of Rotoworld.com like their long shots, so here are the best of the worst:

Shea Patterson (+3600) isn’t in the same tier as Tua Tagovailoa or Trevor Lawrence, but Patterson is still a really solid college quarterback -- I ranked him 8th in my Top 50 College Quarterbacks of 2019 column -- and his current odds don’t exactly reflect that. Last year, Patterson received little help from his receivers and coaching staff -- Michigan was 53rd in 15+ yard plays for example -- but there are reasons for optimism heading into this season. Michigan has handed the offensive keys over to stud OC Josh Gattis who plans to run a pro-spread and no-huddle offense (love that!), and Patterson will also be throwing to Nico Collins, Donavan Peoples-Jones, and Tarik Black in 2019, giving Patterson plenty of weapons to have more production next season. Patterson will need the Josh Gattis hype to come to fruition and will need Michigan to run the table in the regular season to win Heisman, but at +3600 odds, there’s enough of a return to dip our toe in.

Kellen Mond (+10000) will need about 100 things to go right for this to play out, but here’s how it happens. Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, and Jake Fromm will need to sign one-year, $10 million contracts to play in the XFL right before the college season starts. Then Mond will need to continue to be a threat as a runner -- he averaged 41.2 rushing yards per game against FBS winning teams last year -- and continue to make strides as a passer under Jimbo Fisher. His dual-threat abilities will have to be good enough to lead the Aggies to an undefeated regular season. So you’re telling me there’s a chance? I guess? But seriously, Mond is quite underrated, so this isn’t the worst bet in the world.

Easy Fades: Austin Kendall, Brandon Wimbush, Cameron Rising, Alex Delton, Deondre Francois, and Shawn Robinson.

 

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