NCAAF  

Updated Heisman Trophy Odds: Is Trevor Lawrence A Lock?

profile
Updated Heisman Trophy Odds: Is Trevor Lawrence A Lock?
Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

Top Heisman Trophy Candidates

Odds taken from BetOnline.

Who Moved Up Or Down? Comparison With Last Sunday’s Odds

Justin Fields and Mac Jones are now co-favored by College Football Oddsmakers to win the Heisman Trophy. In comparison with last Sunday, Fields has remained at +150. Mac Jones has risen from +800. Lawrence was favored to win the Heisman Trophy at -125. He’s now the third-most heavily favored candidate at +225.

I have two general observations: one, no candidate is chalked because Lawrence has dropped from -125 to +225. Two, the gap between the top three candidates and the rest of the field has grown larger.

Last week, Mac Jones was the third-most favored candidate at +800 and teammate, running back Najee Harris came next at +1800. This week, Zach Wilson, Kyle Trask, and the rest appear to be long shots compared with Lawrence, Jones, and Fields.

Breakdown

3. Trevor Lawrence 

Lawrence has dropped to +225 because he tested positive for the coronavirus. As a result of his diagnosis, he missed Saturday’s game against Boston College and he was recently ruled out of Clemson’s upcoming heavyweight match with Notre Dame.

His stat line remains impressive: he’s completing 70.7 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,833 yards on 9.6 YPA, 17 touchdowns, and two interceptions.

2. Mac Jones 

Jones has risen to +150 after completing 24 of 31 pass attempts for 291 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State. His current stat line now looks even more ridiculous: he’s completing 78.5 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,196 yards, 16 touchdowns, and two interceptions. He’s averaging 12.4 YPA.

1. Justin Fields

Fields remains at +150 after completing 28 of 34 pass attempts for 318 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions against Penn State. On the season, he’s completing an absurd 87.3 percent of his throws. In two games, he’s thrown for 594 yards on 10.8 YPA, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers. Chris Graythen/Getty Images/AFP

Is Trevor Lawrence A Lock?

The devastating thing about Lawrence’s absence is that he misses an opportunity to flex his skill set against a highly regarded opponent — Notre Dame ranks fourth. Currently, he can only boast about his performance against Miami. The rest of his schedule looks soft: after the Irish, Clemson’s next two opponents have a losing record.  Those two teams are Florida State and Pittsburgh. His other opponent is Virginia Tech. All three rank outside the top 80 in average opposing passer rating.

One might argue that Clemson’s soft schedule means that Lawrence has great opportunities to put up great numbers. But Lawrence’s young backups have been seeing action in blowout games. Plus, he has the nation’s best running back at his disposal. Travis Etienne, with his 5.9 YPC, is going to see plenty of action especially when the Tigers have a big lead.

Justin Fields has the same problem and the same benefit as Lawrence. He may have just faced his most difficult opponent in Penn State at least in terms of pass defense. While Michigan usually fields a strong pass defense, losing Lavert Hill to the NFL and Ambry Thomas opting out contributed to its loss against heavily underdogged Michigan State.

At all events, Fields will continue putting up strong numbers against the likes of Illinois, Maryland, and Rutgers.  Plus, he doesn’t get nearly the same run support as Lawrence, which helps explain why he is as close as he is to leading the Buckeyes in number of rush attempts.

Alabama’s Mac Jones already put up big numbers — including a 219.5 passer rating — against Georgia’s vaunted defense. He still gets to face a burgeoning Auburn secondary. My overall point is that Fields has more opportunities to flex his skill set without a top-caliber running back absorbing attention. 

Jones, too, has more opportunities by attempting more downfield passes and by facing stronger defenses and highly-regarded NFL Draft prospects in the opposing secondary. So, no, given Lawrence’s absence against Notre Dame and given the offense that he finds himself in, he is definitely not a lock.

Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Betting Advice 

If you like Justin Fields to win, you’ll want to select him now with your College Football Betting Picks. His next opponents are Rutgers and Maryland, both of which rank already outside the top 100 in average passer rating allowed.

When Fields dominates those two teams, the odds will be less attractive than they are now.

The same can be said for Jones. Next, he faces LSU’s extremely problematic defense, which allowed Auburn’s Bo Nix to have his best passing performance of the season, although he isn’t typically an efficient, downfield passer.

If you like Lawrence, I would wait to bet on him. While he’s recovering from covid, Fields and Jones will continue to separate themselves from the rest of the field in the eyes of College Football Oddsmakers. So Lawrence’s odds will grow more attractive.