Before this weekend’s scrimmage — and Tagovailoa’s first substantive work since his game- (and fame-)winning pass in Atlanta — the rising sophomore had already been listed as among the favorites to take home the nation’s highest individual prize. Now, on the heels on the absolute smokeshow he put up in ‘Bama’s first 1s-on-1s, Vegas has seen enough.
Your new co-favorite, at 7/1 odds, to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy is none other than Tua Tagovailoa. TT enters this season completing 49 of 77 passes (63.6%) for 636 yards with 11 touchdowns and just 2 picks. He sports a gaudy passing rating of 175. Throw in his 27 carries for 133 yards and two scores (to just three sacks taken), and you see the allure of betting on Tua for this stat-generated award. He already has the usual credentials too: QB or RB on a national championship contender, with significant preseason buzz, a schedule custom-made for lighting it up, and a few highly publicized opportunities to generate a “Heisman moment,” such as much-hyped affairs against A&M, a Labor Day prime time special, and in the Iron Bowl.
Honestly? You could do far worse than a few bucks on Tua. Others I like are Will Grier at 15/1. If the ‘Eers have the season they should (10+ wins,) he will have the numbers and a very good television slate to earn votes. His problem, named David Sills, is one that Alabama faces too.
Damien Harris is intriguing at 50/1. Alabama isn’t going to change its identity, for sure. And with the injuries to Alabama’s backs, he’ll get the lion’s shares of carries (and would in any event). The real fear from a betting perspective is that he splits votes with Tua and may not get the Henry-kind of head-turning workload. I’d like Harris more with Jalen under center — a possibility that I think most realistic observers find increasingly remote. Trevor Lawrence at 15/1 is another value pick, for the same reasons that Tua is a good bet (and that general advice follows for Georgia’s Jake Fromm, as well.) There are some excellent backs in this year’s Heisman hopeful class, including co-favorite Bryce Love, but it very much looks to be the year of the young gunslinger.
Steer clear of? I’d be wary of Stidham, who may be asked to win games solely with his arm and without some key offensive linemen and his BFF in the backfield. Also, just a hunch, but I think Urban Meyer’s national shunning trickles down to his players, no matter how great a season Haskins or Dobbins has. Khalil Tate has some deserved buzz, but Arizona is going to lose far too many games to stay in the picture. He also has to compete with Bryce Love for the finicky West Coast votes. A 9-3 Stanford with a 2000 yard back, is going to draw more votes than a 6-6 Wildcats team with David Klingler Redux back there.
Odds to Win the 2018 Heisman Trophy: Numbers below are odds on 1/23/18, 1/24/18, and current odds
Bryce Love (RB Stanford) 7/1 7/1 7/1
Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama) 10/1 7/1 7/1
Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin) 8/1 6/1 8/1
Dwayne Haskins (QB Ohio State) Off the Board Off the Board 11/1
Jake Fromm (QB Georgia) 12/1 12/1 15/1
Will Grier (QB West Virginia) 12/1 16/1 15/1
Trevor Lawrence (QB Clemson) Off the Board Off the Board 15/1
Trace McSorley (QB Penn State) 18/1 20/1 15/1
Khalil Tate (QB Arizona) 9/1 14/1 15/1
J.K. Dobbins (RB Ohio State) 12/1 6/1 18/1
Shea Patterson (QB Michigan) Off the Board Off the Board 20/1
Kyler Murray (QB Oklahoma) Off the Board Off the Board 22/1
Jarrett Stidham (QB Auburn) 12/1 16/1 25/1
Cam Akers (RB Florida State) 22/1 25/1 28/1
Justin Herbert (QB Oregon) 15/1 18/1 30/1
Jake Browning (QB Washington) 22/1 25/1 35/1
Sam Ehlinger (QB Texas) Off the Board Off the Board 35/1
Deondre Francois (QB Florida State) Off the Board Off the Board 40/1
McKenzie Milton (QB UCF) 18/1 25/1 40/1
D’Andre Swift (RB Georgia) 35/1 35/1 40/1
Drew Lock (QB Missouri) Off the Board 25/1 45/1
Rodney Anderson (RB Oklahoma) 25/1 25/1 50/1
Nick Fitzgerald (QB Mississippi State) 35/1 35/1 50/1
Damien Harris (RB Alabama) Off the Board Off the Board 50/1
Brandon Winbush (QB Notre Dame) 35/1 35/1 50/1
Kelly Bryant (QB Clemson) 15/1 18/1 55/1
Travis Etienne (RB Clemson) 35/1 35/1 70/1
Nick Bosa (DL Ohio State) 75/1 75/1 100/1
Stephen Carr (RB USC) Off the Board Off the Board 100/1
Ryan Finley (QB NC State) 25/1 25/1 100/1
Justice Hill (RB Oklahoma State) Off the Board Off the Board 100/1
Frank Nutil (QB Temple) Off the Board Off the Board 100/1
Ed Oliver (DL Houston) 55/1 66/1 100/1
David Sills (WR West Virginia) 45/1 45/1 100/1