Heisman value buys beyond Trevor, Tua

Field Level Media

August 29, 2019 at 2:46 pm.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a slight favorite over Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the Heisman Trophy race as the college football season begins in force this weekend.

Lawrence, who led the Tigers to last season’s national championship as a true freshman and put his first win of the 2019 season on the board Thursday, is +200 to win according to FanDuel and BetAmerica, while the sportsbooks put Tagovailoa’s odds at +250, meaning a $100 bet returns that amount.

That it’s a two-man betting race isn’t a surprise. Tagovailoa was the Heisman frontrunner almost all of last season before finishing second to Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Clemson begins the season No. 1, with the Crimson Tide at No. 2 in the polls.

Anyone looking for value anywhere else on the Heisman board should note that the award this century has gone to a quarterback 16 out of 19 times — and that 13 of those quarterbacks led their teams to a top 10 final ranking in the Associated Press poll. All 16 Heisman-winning quarterbacks were on a team that was at least ranked 11th during the season.

The three running backs — USC’s Reggie Bush (vacated) and Alabama’s Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry — were all on teams that won the national title or, in Bush’s case, played in a game with the championship on the line.

Nebraska sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez might be the most intriguing — or polarizing, at least — player in the Heisman odds. BetAmerica places him at as the third betting favorite +1200, while FanDuel pegs him +2500, the ninth-best odds. Anyone picking Martinez will also have to presume a big season for Nebraska in coach Scott Frost’s second season.

After Lawrence and Tagovailoa, FanDuel lists Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts (+1400), Ohio State’s Justin Fields (+1600) and then Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Texas’ Sam Ehlinger at +2000. Each of those quarterbacks fit the Heisman profile, with their teams ranked in the preseason top 11.

As for running backs, the favorite on FanDuel is Clemson’s Travis Etienne, who went from +3000 on FanDuel to +2000 after his big season debut Thursday night in Clemson’s 52-14 win over Georgia Tech. Etienne rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries.

Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor is the running back leader on BetAmerica at +1800, although the Badgers are not expected to compete for the national title. Georgia is, which mean the Bulldogs’ D’Andre Swift (+2500 on FanDuel, +3000 on PointsBet) might be a better bet.

Elsewhere on the board, other quarterbacks who go into the season fitting the Heisman profile are Joe Burrow of No. 6 LSU, Shea Patterson of No. 7 Michigan and Ian Book of No. 9 Michigan. Burrow and Patterson were +3000 on FanDuel; Book was +5000.