Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor, West Virginia QB Will Grier and Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa made solid cases in Week 1 to back them at current futures odds prices in the Heisman Trophy winner market.
In action on Thursday, QB McKenzie Milton (35/1 to win Heisman Trophy, 5Dimes, down from 40/1 last week) and No. 21 Central Florida (1-0 SU/ATS) — who we tabbed backing at the betting windows in this space last week — crushed Connecticut 56-17, easily covering ATS as closing 24-point favorites (total 70) with Milton having a big day passing (24/32, 346 yards, 5 TDs) and a decent day rushing (7, 50) vs. the Huskies.
Milton’s Heisman stock value definitely rose some, but if possibly looking at backing the junior in this market, it’s important to remember the Knights played UConn (6-18 SU L2 years), and that since 1991, only players from Power Five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) have won the coveted award.
On Friday night, Stanford outlasted gritty San Diego State 31-10 and got the money (STAN -14), but RB Bryce Love (+850) really had a rough go of it (18 rushes, 29 yards) with the Aztecs stacking their defense against last year’s Heisman runner-up, sending his odds down. Heading into last week’s Week 0, 5Dimes had Love the favorite to win the Heisman at 7/1.
Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor (12/1) definitely saw his Heisman stock rise in a 34-3 win over Western Kentucky on Friday night with the sophomore rushing for 145 yards and 2 TDs on 18 carries in the non-conference mismatch in which the Hilltoppers covered ATS as massive 36- to 37-point chalks. Although both Love (2,118 yards in 2017, No. 1) and Taylor (1,977, No. 3) will see defenses loaded against them all season, Taylor seemed to have the much better value at 12/1 (heading into play Saturday when Heisman odds are take down) and is worth backing at those current double-digit (if still there) offshore odds.
On Saturday, Heisman hopeful QB Jarrett Stidham (30/1) and No. 6 Auburn got out to a 9-0 lead over No. 9 Washington and QB Jake Browning (33/1) in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta, but it was only a 15-13 Tigers lead at half before freshman K Peyton Henry and Wazoo ricocheted themselves into a 16-15 lead in the 4th quarter. And then the Purple and Gold wheels fell off as Auburn scored on a huge 10-yard JaTarvious Whitlow TD run to win 21-16, cover the ATS and avoid a loss that would have bounced them from the CFP, which probably happened to the Huskies.
No. 17 West Virginia QB Will Grier (13/1) and his Mountaineers got out to a 13-7 lead at Tennessee (WV -10) in one of several games in the South and Midwest delayed by bad weather with West Virginia ultimately rolling to a 40-14 triumph in Knoxville with Grier going 25 for 34 for 429 yards and 5 TDs in the win which definitely had to increase both his stock in both in the Heisman race as well as an NFL prospect.
QB Jake Fromm (22/1) led No. 3 Georgia to an easy 45-0 victory (GEO -28) over Austin Peay, going 12 of 16 for 157 yards and 2 TDs with a 92.5 QB rating, while No. 10 Penn State (PSU -24½) and QB Trace McSorley (20/1) almost saw its season end before it began, surviving in OT vs. FCS side Appalachian State (+1700 M/L, 5Dimes) on Saturday. The Nittany Lions looked like they might end up being embarrassed by the Mountaineers like fellow B1G side Michigan did in 2007, but a TD in OT made it 45-38 for PSU and an interception in the end zone helped McSorley (21/36, 230, TD) and his crew survive, although it was an awful day for his Heisman hopes.
Top-ranked Alabama and coach Nick Saban went with sophomore Tua Tagovailoa (8/1) over Jalen Hurts vs. Louisville on Saturday night in Orlando (ALA -23½) at starting QB and the Crimson Tide — who will be ranked No. 1 for a record 105th straight week — jumped to an impressive 28-0 lead at halftime (ALA -14 1st half, 31½, Bookmaker) before cruising to a 51-14 romp; we predicted a 48-13 score here. Tagovailoa finished 12 of 16 for 227 yards and 2 TDs (WR Jerry Jeudy). The starting QB last season for Alabama — Hurts (26-2 SU lifetime as starter) — came in with 8 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter and Bama up 21-0, and the senior finished 5 of 9 for 30 yards.
And, Arizona and QB Khalil Tate (16/1) and the Pac-12’s Wildcats hosted BYU (AZ -10) late Saturday and the junior was 17 of 34 for 194 yards and a TD passing and rushed 8 times for 14 yards and a TD in a very revealing 28-23 Wildcats loss to the independent Cougars (+365 ML, 5Dimes) in Tucson, ruining new Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin’s debut in the desert.
2018 Heisman Trophy Winner Futures Pick: Jonathan Taylor, 12/1 (5Dimes)