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    Hman's Avatar Moderator
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    Heisman Trophy Best Bets/Long Shots/Value Picks 🏈

    Heisman Trophy best bets, long shots, value picks


    It's only April, but with no major sports currently being played, oddsmakers have had more time on their hands. And college football bettors have more options as a result.

    Caesars Sportsbook has released 2020 Heisman Trophy odds, and our esteemed panel of college football experts -- Doug Kezirian, David Hale, Adam Rittenberg, Mark Schlabach, Phil Steele, Andrea Adelson, Bill Connelly and Preston Johnson -- are here to give you their value plays, who is over- and undervalued and their April Heisman selections.


    Oklahoma State Cowboys RB Chuba Hubbard (22-1)

    Schlabach: Hubbard finished eighth in Heisman voting last year, which was quite a slap in the face for the FBS leading rusher. The Canadian ran for 2,094 yards with 21 touchdowns, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. He ran for 200 yards or more in four games and had 100 or more in all but one (when he rested against FCS program McNeese State in Week 2). He led the FBS in rushing yards against AP top-25 opponents, and had 15 rushes of 30 yards or longer, nine rushes of 40 yards or longer, seven rushes of 50 yards or longer, five rushes of 60 yards or longer, three rushes of 70 yards or longer, two rushes of 80 yards or longer and one rush of 90 yards or longer.

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish QB Ian Book (28-1)

    Kezirian: Quarterbacks have won this award nine of the past 10 years and 17 of the past 20, so let's not get cute. Book (28-1) is a high-profile QB at a marquee school and has a great opportunity to check all the Heisman boxes. Plus, the schedule plays out perfectly. The Irish face both Clemson and USC in November, and we all know voters can be swayed late.

    LSU Tigers QB Myles Brennan (40-1)

    Hale: Over the past 10 years, the Heisman Trophy winners and runners-up all played for Power 5 teams, 15 of 20 have been quarterbacks and 14 were on teams ranked in the top four entering bowl season. Since the top four teams have had plenty of consistency, too, it's a good bet your winner is coming from a pretty select group: a QB from one of the 10 or 12 teams capable of making the College Football Playoff.

    That leaves a few names at 25-to-1 or longer odds seriously worth considering: Alabama's Mac Jones and Notre Dame's Book (both 28-1), Auburn's Bo Nix (40-1,) Texas A&M's Kellen Mond and Florida's Kyle Trask (both 50-1). But if we're going big on an otherwise logical option, why not LSU's Brennan at 40-1? He's not getting all the preseason hype of some other SEC QBs, but then again, neither was Joe Burrow this time last year.

    Texas A&M Aggies QB Kellen Mond (50-1)

    Johnson: The Aggies are a top-10-caliber squad that, for an SEC team, has a fairly manageable schedule. Clemson is no longer on the nonconference docket and they miss both Georgia and Florida from the East division. Mond is a dual-threat quarterback under Jimbo Fisher in a senior season that could realistically see him leading A&M to a 9-1 or 10-0 start (including a massive game at Auburn slated for Oct. 17) before having to close the season against Alabama and LSU. That absolutely puts you in the Heisman mix with that type of record in the SEC.

    The distribution of predicted results for the Aggies this season is fairly wide, and while +1000 to win the SEC will likely be a popular futures bet, I prefer to increase variance even more and take the 50-1 shot on Mond. If the Aggies win the SEC this season, Mond's name will be on Heisman ballots.

    USC Trojans QB Kedon Slovis (50-1)

    Rittenberg: Slovis (50-1) is no longer an unknown and has the one position on the West Coast -- QB1 for USC -- that always generates enough national attention to win the Heisman. Slovis will lead a talented offense and has plenty of national showcase opportunities, beginning in the opener against Alabama.
    Connelly: Slovis at 50-1. There's a scenario on the table in which USC wins the Pac-12 with Slovis throwing for over 4,500 yards and 40 TDs. That would barely be an improvement over last season's rates, and in this scenario you have to figure Slovis makes it to New York, at the very least.

    Obviously it's been a little while since a "USC player/team receives huge hype and actually lives up to it" scenario has played out properly, but I like Slovis enough to give him a much better shot than his current odds suggest he's got.

    Alabama Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris (60-1)

    Adelson: I'm going to go with another Alabama player in Harris, whose odds should be higher than Jones' based on his proven production and entrenchment as a starter. There is a lot of eye candy on the Alabama roster at the skill positions, but let's also remember that the only two Heisman winners in Crimson Tide history have been running backs. Harris came back for his senior season with something to prove, and he's a back nobody should overlook.

    Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle (75-1)

    Steele: Now that Tua Tagovailoa is gone, the Tide need a new Heisman candidate to step up. The QB spot is up in the air, and the running backs might once again be by committee. Waddle was one of four NFL-caliber wide receivers at Bama last season and is one of the two returnees this season at receiver. Alabama will once again be a title contender, giving Waddle plenty of prime-time games to impress voters.


    Clemson Tigers QB Trevor Lawrence (4-1)

    Kezirian: I honestly cannot see any reason to bet Lawrence at this low number (4-1). He is a fantastic quarterback and will likely be the top overall NFL draft pick in 2021. However, the Heisman Trophy goes to the high-profile player with the best statistics. The Tigers are -600 to win the ACC, and thus Lawrence will hit the bench early in several blowouts, preventing him from racking up the necessary stats to compete with other stars.

    Johnson: I agree with Doug here not to bet Lawrence (4-1). Like last season, he won't play enough in second halves to accumulate the comparable numbers needed to win. I have Clemson projected to be a 26-plus-point favorite in 10 of its 12 games.

    Ohio State Buckeyes RB Trey Sermon (28-1)

    Rittenberg: He's a nice player but might not even be the starter at Ohio State after transferring from Oklahoma, as Master Teague (150-1) looked the part as J.K. Dobbins' backup in 2019. Sermon never became the Sooners' featured back, and he'll be sharing a backfield at Ohio State with a higher-profile Heisman candidate in quarterback Justin Fields (4-1).

    Hale: Again, if you're not a QB or a workhorse back and you're not on a perennial top-10 team, the odds of winning are incredibly slim. That makes a few of the heavier favorites -- such as Clemson's Travis Etienne (27-1), who has never had more than 182 carries before balloting, or guys from unlikely contenders such as Hubbard (22-1) of Oklahoma State, North Carolina's Sam Howell (25-1) and Miami's D'Eriq King (15-1) -- unlikely to be worth the risk. I'd also go ahead and shut down all hope for anyone outside the Power 5.

    Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond (50-1)

    Schlabach: Mond made some improvements from Year 1 to Year 2 under coach Jimbo Fisher, but he'll have to continue to show vast improvement to be among the Heisman contenders.

    He completed fewer than 60% of his attempts in losses to Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and LSU and threw for fewer than 100 yards in his final two games (he did run for 117 with one score and was offensive MVP in a 24-21 win over Oklahoma State in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl). He'll be the most experienced quarterback coming back in the SEC, but unless he throws the ball down the field more accurately, it might not matter.

    Miami Hurricanes QB D'Eriq King (15-1)

    Steele: Looking at the five players with 15-1 odds or better, I'd go with King. King should put up great stats, and Miami has a chance for double-digit victories, but very few marquee wins are on the schedule.

    Georgia Bulldogs QB Jamie Newman (15-1)

    Adelson: I was a huge Newman fan at Wake Forest last season, but it's important to note his production dipped in the second half of the season without his best receivers. Now he's got 15-1 Heisman odds simply because he switched uniforms to top-five Georgia. Let's remember that the Bulldogs had zero 1,000-yard receivers last season, and while we know making offensive improvements is a priority, will the time off for a new quarterback and new offense affect how Newman plays this season?

    Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard (22-1)

    Connelly: Hubbard at 22-1. Let's put it this way; 20 players have won the Heisman this century: 17 quarterbacks and three running backs who, at the time of voting, had qualified for the BCS or College Football Playoff. Unless you believe Oklahoma State is making the CFP this season, it's hard to see how Hubbard will justify 22-1 odds.

    Who is this season's Lamar Jackson/Joe Burrow?

    Ole Miss Rebels QB John Rhys Plumlee (150-1)

    Kezirian: Amazingly, double-digit long shots have been cashing this award. Marcus Mariota in 2014 was the most recent time one of the preseason favorites hoisted the hardware.

    As for my roll of the dice, Plumlee has my attention at 150-1. To finish his freshman season, he accounted for four total touchdowns against LSU and rushed for 92 yards and a score against Auburn in November. New coach Lane Kiffin should improve Plumlee's passing numbers and the Ole Miss offense, and the Rebels could make some noise in an SEC that lost several big names. Remember, Louisville lost three regular-season games during Lamar Jackson's Heisman campaign, so a CFP berth is not mandatory.

    Hale: There are a handful of off-the-board candidates that, if you can find odds on them, at least fit the criteria of a potential winner. Boston College transfer Anthony Brown had two solid seasons in an offense that didn't exactly scream huge QB production, and now he gets a shot on a much bigger stage at Oregon. Joe Milton at Michigan or Jacob Sirmon at Washington could be in the mix, too, if they win those respective jobs.

    But based on current Caesars odds, Plumlee (150-1) could be worth a flier. He got experience last season and finished with some strong outings as a true freshman. He's got a new, offensive-minded (and high profile) coach in Lane Kiffin. Ole Miss was cursed by close losses last season, so a turnaround that could get the Rebels into the top 25 isn't out of the question. And most important, Plumlee can run. If a QB is coming from the back of the pack to take home the hardware like Lamar Jackson or Johnny Manziel, it helps to pad stats with the wheels.

    If we're going way off the board, here's a name to watch: Emory Jones. Trask would seem to have the inside track on the Gators' quarterback job, but if Jones can pull the upset, he'd fit the rest of the criteria well. He was an elite recruit, can run well, and coach Dan Mullen has been waiting for the right QB to take his offense to the next level. With a manageable schedule, Florida should be in the playoff hunt, too.

    Iowa State Cyclones QB Brock Purdy (100-1)

    Johnson: The Cyclones finished the 2019 season 7-6, but their luck-adjusted second-order win total was 9.4 wins. That's the second-largest discrepancy of any team in the country last season. Purdy ranked 12th in passing success rate and led Iowa State to the 12th-most-efficient offense overall as a sophomore. Year No. 3 could see another leap on that side of the ball and the Cyclones vying for a Big 12 championship.

    Oklahoma and Texas are the clear-cut favorites to win the conference, so subsequently the odds on quarterbacks Spencer Rattler (15-1) and Sam Ehlinger (20-1) aren't as alluring as Purdy's. I like the prospects of Purdy getting his head-to-head matchup against Rattler at home in Ames, where a victory could catapult him into the Heisman race (Purdy threw for five touchdowns last season in Norman, Oklahoma, in a 42-41 loss in which a failed 2-point conversion could have won the Cyclones the game).

    Louisville Cardinals QB Micale Cunningham (150-1)

    Rittenberg: Could another Louisville quarterback pull a Lamar? Cunningham (150-1) must overcome injury issues, but his impressive 2019 totals (22 touchdowns, five interceptions, 11.5 yards per completion) for an emerging offense under Scott Satterfield make him very interesting. He also has big-play wideout Tutu Atwell back in the fold this fall.

    Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler (15-1)

    Schlabach: Oklahoma's Rattler is following in the footsteps of two Heisman Trophy winners (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) and a guy who led two teams to the CFP (Jalen Hurts). As long as Lincoln Riley is coaching quarterbacks and calling plays, OU's quarterback is going to be in the Heisman mix.

    Sooners coaches love Rattler's potential, and that's a big reason they didn't dip into the transfer market for another one-year QB. He's attempted only 11 passes in three games, so 15-1 odds seem a little bit strong, but the Phoenix native is ultra-talented.

    Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond (50-1)

    Steele: Texas A&M's Mond at 50-1. The Aggies could be a surprise national title contender as they have a much more veteran team than last season and a more reasonable schedule.

    Mond has 44 TD passes and 18 picks over the previous two seasons, is a dangerous runner and can take the tough coaching of Fisher. He would have plenty of marquee wins like Burrow did last season playing in the rugged SEC West division.

    Alabama QB Taulia Tagovailoa (150-1)

    Adelson: College football isn't done with the Tagovailoas. Even though Jones is the favorite to become the starting quarterback at Alabama, I'm going to keep an eye on Tua's younger brother, Taulia (150-1) -- especially since Nick Saban has been known to make a quarterback switch or two.

    Notre Dame QB Ian Book (28-1)

    Connelly: Both Jackson and Burrow had experience and were at least on the Heisman radar before their star turns. That leads me to gravitate toward names such as Book, Sean Clifford or Mond. I'll go with Book, both because (A) he's proved more than those other two so far, and (B) he's not in the Big Ten East or SEC West like they are. He'll get marquee chances to prove himself -- versus Wisconsin in Green Bay, versus Clemson at home, at USC -- but he won't get too many of them.

    Your April Heisman pick

    Ohio State Buckeyes QB Justin Fields (4-1)

    Kezirian: With 51 total touchdowns and just three interceptions in 2019, Fields (4-1) earned a trip to New York, but he still warranted more Heisman buzz. Burrow and LSU were just too dominant and overshadowed Fields and the undefeated Buckeyes. I expect another special season with the scarlet and gray returning to the national championship conversation.

    Johnson: Disregarding the odds, my pick would be Fields at 4-1. He will have a tougher schedule than Clemson, so he likely won't be resting as much as Lawrence will late in games. He also utilizes his legs more in the ground attack, and with Dobbins headed to the NFL, coach Ryan Day might open things up even more for Fields here.

    Hale: The money is not great here, but Fields (4-1) is the guy to beat. He's mobile, he's coming off a fantastic (if underappreciated) season, he's on a team that will compete for a national title, and he's already got a ton of name recognition.

    His stats last season -- 67% completions, 3,757 total yards, 51 touchdowns and just eight turnovers -- would've been Heisman-worthy in most other seasons, and all of those came on a team with two other contenders for the award and in Fields' first year with the program.

    Schlabach: I'll go with Mr. Hale on Fields, who was phenomenal as a sophomore last season. And, as Mr. Hale also knows, Fields winning a Heisman at Ohio State would be the most Georgia thing ever.

    Steele: Fields. Last season, Fields had to share the spotlight with defensive end Chase Young and running back Dobbins, but he figures to be the feature star of the 2020 Buckeyes. In his first season as a starter, Fields threw for over 3,000 yards with an incredible 41-1 TD-INT ratio and added 484 rush yards and another 10 scores. Ohio State will be favored in all 12 games this season and the Big Ten title game, if the Buckeyes make it there.

    Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence (4-1)

    Adelson: Lawrence (4-1). The gut punch he felt after playing so poorly in the national championship game last season has fueled his offseason.

    Connelly: Lawrence (4-1). It's a shame that either Lawrence or Fields will presumably end their respective careers without a Heisman. It will feel incomplete, considering the hype they were facing coming to college and how much they've lived up to said hype during their starting tenures.

    I'll give the slightest of edges here to Lawrence, if only because he's got a bit more experience, responded brilliantly to a testy start in 2019 and has an easier road to the CFP. But they're the dual favorites for a reason.

    Rittenberg: Lawrence at 4-1. Chasing national title No. 2 and Heisman No. 1 will provide more than enough motivation for Lawrence. Plus, he forms arguably the nation's best triple threat with Etienne at running back and Justyn Ross at wide receiver. Lawrence starts faster and hoists the Heisman.

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    BigdaddyQH's Avatar SBR PRO
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    A mute point if there is no season

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    Sam Odom
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    God Bless

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    jjgold's Avatar Horses Moderator
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    Looks like they might not be a season