Heisman Trophy Odds: Early Money Backing Texas QB Sam Ehlinger
The Heisman Trophy winner won’t be announced until December but college football odds are already out for which player will win with the award. Sportsbooks have made Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa the two betting favorites. However, players with longer odds are seeing early money from bettors.
Is Texas back? Bettors think so. The Longhorns capped off a 10-win season with a 28-21 upset over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Early Heisman bettors jumped on the value with the returning quarterbacks from that game: Sam Ehlinger and Jake Fromm. Both players saw their odds drop from the opening number posted at the Westgate LV SuperBook, along with Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson.
“Our biggest liability is technically on LSU QB Joe Burrow, but that’s just because of the long odds (200-1),” said SuperBook Race & Sports Manager Derek Wilkinson. “In terms of front runners, Sam Ehlinger is our biggest liability in the mid five figures. We opened him at 50-1 in late February and he’s down to 20-1 now. Jake Fromm opened 40-1 and we lowered him to 20-1. Shea Patterson opened at 100-1 and is now at 20-1.”
2019 Heisman Trophy Winner Odds (FanDuel)
Here is a look at some of the favorites to win this year’s Heisman Trophy and their chances heading into the season:
Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson (+250 FanDuel, +300 SuperBook)
Lawrence had a freshman season for the ages. He replaced Kelly Bryant as Clemson’s starter in the fifth game of the year, throwing for 3,280 yards, 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions, while leading Clemson to its second National Championship in the last three years.
The Tigers are loaded again this season and even with key losses on the defensive side of the ball, Clemson is primed for another title run. Lawrence will be near the top of the Heisman oddsboard all season if he stays healthy.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama (+250 FanDuel, +250 SuperBook)
Tua was the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman for most of last season until an ankle injury slowed him down late in the year. That opened the door for Kyler Murray to overtake him and win the award.
Tua is back as the favorite at both FanDuel and the SuperBook and for good reason. Alabama’s offense is loaded at the skill positions with future NFL receivers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith. Tua threw a ridiculous 43 touchdown passes to just six interceptions last year, despite sitting out the fourth quarter of the first eight games.
Expect Tua to put up sick numbers again this season. Barring an injury, +250 may be the best price you get on Tua all year.
Jalen Hurts, QB Oklahoma (+1100 FanDuel, +1000 SuperBook)
Playing quarterback in Lincoln Riley’s system helps improve your chances of winning the Heisman Trophy. Riley and Oklahoma have produced the last two Heisman winners in Murray and Baker Mayfield. Hurts will try to make it a three–peat for Sooners quarterbacks in 2019.
The Alabama transfer gets criticized for his skills as a passer but in two years as the Crimson Tide’s starter, he threw 40 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and led Alabama to two National Championship game appearances. He may not be Mayfield or Murray but in Riley’s system, Hurts will put up big numbers as both a passer and runner.
He’s worth consideration but Hurts’ odds are a little short for my liking heading into the season. There is better value on the board.
Justin Fields, QB Ohio State (+1100 FanDuel, +1000 SuperBook)
Fields was the top recruit in the country two years ago. He ended up going to Georgia but Fields grew frustrated in Athens when he couldn’t beat out Fromm for the starting job. Fields decided to transfer to Ohio State where he’ll replace Dwayne Haskins as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback.
Once dubbed the next Cam Newton, Fields has loads of talent and he should shine in Ohio State’s spread system. Despite Stephen A. Smith’s opinion, Haskins isn’t much of a runner. Fields adds another dimension to Ohio State’s offense, so expect him to pile up big stats on a weekly basis.
Newton won the Heisman in his first season as a starter. Will Fields do the same? Look for Fields’ odds to shorten throughout the season once more people see him in action.
Jonathan Taylor, RB Wisconsin (+1400 FanDuel, +1800 SuperBook)
Taylor has the shortest odds to win the Heisman of any non-quarterback. Interestingly, Taylor has the same odds as Georgia running back D’Andre Swift (+1400) at FanDuel but Swift is a distant +6000 at the SuperBook.
Numbers won’t be an issue for Taylor in Wisconsin’s run-based offense. He’s rushed for 1,977 and 2,194 yards the last two seasons with a combined 29 touchdowns. Taylor will need another big year, a couple of the quarterbacks to falter and the Badgers to make a run at the College Football Playoffs to win the award. That’s a lot to ask, especially given the talent-level of the top quarterbacks this season.
Adrian Martinez, QB Nebraska (+1800 FanDuel, +1000 SuperBook)
Martinez is one of my top bets to win the Heisman this year. Last season as a freshman, the dual threat quarterback threw for 2,617 and 17 touchdowns, while adding 629 yards and eight scores rushing. Martinez set himself up for a Heisman run in 2019 by shining in a late-season game versus Ohio State where he racked up 332 total yards and scored three touchdowns.
Nebraska is expected to be much better in Scott Frost’s second year and they should get off to a fast start thanks to a soft early-season schedule. If the Cornhuskers upset Ohio State at home on Sept. 28, watch out for Martinez.
One interesting note: Martinez’s odds are much shorter at the SuperBook than FanDuel. The Golden Nugget’s Tony Miller said Nebraska is one of the toughest teams for oddsmakers to get a handle on heading into the season and that’s the case again with the discrepancy in Martinez’s Heisman odds.
Jake Fromm, QB Georgia (+1600 FanDuel, +2000 SuperBook)
Fromm doesn’t put up eye-popping numbers but he’s the quarterback of one of the only teams that can put an end to the Alabama-Clemson stranglehold on college football.
Fromm’s numbers from 2019 are almost identical to Lawrence and the Clemson quarterback didn’t start the first four games of the season. Still, Georgia is loaded and the Bulldogs had Alabama beat each of the last two years before blowing the game in the fourth quarter.
As mentioned above, Fromm is seeing early backing from bettors at the SuperBook but the value on him is gone. I’d pass on Fromm at his current odds.
Sam Ehlinger, QB Texas (+2200 FanDuel, +2000 SuperBook)
Texas may be the most interesting team heading into the 2019 season. The Longhorns won 10 games last year, including victories over Oklahoma and Georgia. However, they also lost games to unranked Maryland and Oklahoma State. Texas must become more consistent under Tom Herman if the Horns are going to take the next step and compete for a National Title.
The same can be said for Ehlinger. In the losses to Maryland and Oklahoma State, Ehlinger struggled, completing less than 54 percent of his passes in both games. Few quarterbacks can put up numbers like Ehlinger though. A modern day Tim Tebow, Ehlinger recorded 3,772 total yards and 41 total touchdowns in 2019.
The Longhorns have a nightmare early season schedule with games against LSU, West Virginia and Oklahoma. If Texas goes 3-0 in those games and takes care of business at home against Oklahoma State, Ehlinger will emerge as a Heisman favorite after opening 50-1 at the SuperBook.
Shea Patterson, QB Michigan (+3600 FanDuel, +2000 SuperBook)
Patterson has seen the biggest line move at the SuperBook. He opened a distant 100-1 to win the Heisman but early money has dropped his odds all the way down to 20-1.
A transfer from Mississippi, Patterson’s was up and down in his first season with the Wolverines. He threw for 2,600 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’ll need to improve on those numbers if Michigan is going to become a serious title contender and push Patterson to the top of the Heisman oddsboard.
I understand taking the value with Patterson at 100-1 or 50-1 but now that he’s down to 20-1, it’s a hard pass. It’s going to be tough for Patterson to win the award playing in Jim Harbaugh’s unimaginative offense.