The Heisman Trophy futures might have the wildest fluctuations over a three-month period of any market.
Last year Tua Tagovailoa appeared to be a lock to win the award with only a couple weeks to go. Before the season started, however, Bryce Love of Stanford was the favorite, and Khalil Tate of Arizona was listed above both Tagovailoa and eventual winner Kyler Murray.
At any point in the season a breakout game from a player at a traditional powerhouse school can swing Heisman odds, and a really bad game can crash a contender’s chances.
Looking toward the 2019 season and with this in mind, there is no value in the current odds on Tagovailoa or Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Would I want to take the field versus the two of them? Not really. They are clearly the best two talents in the country on the two best teams. They will get as much exposure as anyone, and the Heisman vote is still a popularity contest.
Given what we know about the history of this award, I prefer to look elsewhere. My first thought is Justin Herbert of Oregon (+2000). He may have been the No. 1 quarterback on the board if he declared for the draft, but returned to school and is fortunate to have the most experienced offensive line in the country blocking for him.
The next player I’ll look to is Shea Patterson of Michigan (+3500). Patterson was the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the country coming out of high school. Michigan has All-Big Ten left tackle Jon Runyan protecting his blindside and plenty of returning starters across the rest of the line.
In the “they must know something” category, Justin Fields of Ohio State sits at +1000 despite never starting a college football game. Fields is a tremendous talent stepping into a great situation. He will have every opportunity to succeed and his status as starting quarterback on one of the top five programs in the country ensures that he will be part of the conversation.
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