July’s Heisman Odds…Yeah you heard me.
The greatest part of the year is creeping up on us once again. In just seven weeks we will finally be back to college football. The unofficial season starts up on Thursday, August 28, which will be headlined by the Manziel-less Aggies heading to Columbia to face the somewhat rebuilding Gamecocks.
Normally, I find the media’s coverage of the Heisman race nauseating, however you can gamble on it; so I tolerate it. This season will have no shortage of experienced frontrunners with reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston starting his second campaign and guys like Macus Mariota, Bryce Petty, and Braxton Miller all deciding to return to school. As nice as it is to have familiar faces on top of the Heisman betting odds list, the last five Heisman winners have been relative long shots. All of the odds are courtesy of the Bovada Las Vegas sports book.
Jameis Winston, Florida State (13/4): Winston is the strong favorite as he probably should be. We all know there has only been one two-time Heisman winner, so betting on crab-leg thief probably isn’t the best bet; also the value here is pretty awful. Florida State is loaded again, but their out of conference schedule is pretty rough and could derail him.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon (11/2): If you want to go with a big favorite to win he’s the man to go with. With the exception of UCLA, all of Oregon’s tough games (Michigan St., Stanford, Arizona, and Washington) are in Eugene this year. The Ducks and Mariota put up crazy numbers every year. The question with Mariota is about his health. Mariota gets banged up all the time, but if he stays healthy the numbers will be there as well as all of that precious ESPN exposure.
Braxton Miller, Ohio St. (7/1): Miller is flashy, well at least by Big 10 standards. He’ll put up good numbers, and Ohio State will probably be very good this year. Former Buckeye QB Troy Smith was the last Big 10 player to win in 2006, so their in a pretty big drought. Miller will surely have to play in terrible conditions a few times, my guess is either Nov. 8th at Michigan State or Nov. 15th at Minnesota. Throwing three INTs in the snow will probably kill his chances.
Nick Marshall, Auburn (9/1): The highest odds of any SEC player, slightly edging out Todd Gurley (12/1). Marshall was extremely impressive last year, even if Auburn received an ungodly amount of breaks en route to the BCS title game. Marshall is a great talent, but losing Greg Robinson from the line as well as Tre Mason in the backfield will mean more focus on him, which is less than ideal when Auburn has an insane road schedule that includes: an always solid Kansas State, a young and talented Ole Miss, a UGA team that will no doubt be looking for revenge for last year, and the monster that is Alabama and Nick Saban.
Bryce Petty, Baylor (12/1): Baylor puts up the kind of numbers that are a little ridiculous, even by video game standards. The 6’3, 238 pound leader of the Bears is pretty freakish. Any man that is that large and can run a 4.6 forty and sports a 38 inch vertical is going to terrify a defense, at least in a weight room. Petty has demonstrated he can make all of the throws necessary, as well as get out of the pocket and run. Baylor’s schedule sets up favorably, minus the road game against a loaded Oklahoma team on Nov. 8th. Petty could very well end up like his predecessor RG3 and take home the Heisman, however Petty has shown that the doesn’t live up to the big moments like RG3 always seemed too. Petty could have given Winston major competition last year if it wasn’t for an awful defensive performance late in the season against Oklahoma State, and then he had the opportunity to give Baylor their first BCS win until his defense let him down again giving up 52 points against UCF. Essentially Petty goes as far as Baylor does and to go far their defense can’t shit the bed in big games.
Todd Gurley, UGA (12/1): Speaking of freaks, I believe Gurley fits into that category. On top of Gurley’s size (6’1, 232 pounds) he is also a former track star for UGA where he ran the 110 hurdles. Gurley is the nations best back in my opinion and he will be relied on heavily with Aaron Murray in a Chiefs uniform this year. Georgia is going to be a top ten team this year with national championship odds currently at 20/1 (9th best in the nation). Only 2 RBs have won the Heisman since the turn of the century (Reggie Bush 2005, Mark Ingram 2009), which no doubt hurts his chances of winning, however if you’re going to choose a back to bet on I’d go with Gurley over other RB frontrunners: T.J. Yeldon (Alabama-16/1), Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin-18/1), and Mike Davis (South Carolina-28/1).
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Outside of the Box Dark-Horses:
Myles Jack, UCLA (33/1): Jack burst onto the college football scene last year as a true freshman. First things first, Jack is an outstanding linebacker which earned him defensive freshman of the year honors in the Pac-12. Jack was also the Pac-12 offensive player of the year at RB. He only began to get touches in conference play. His debut against Arizona was insane (6 carries, 122 yards 1TD). The number of carries Jack will get still seems to be a mystery, but there’s no doubt he will get plenty of opportunities to touch the score touchdowns and make tackles.
Rakeem Cato, Marshall (50/1): I know, he plays in Conference-USA, I know. However, Marshall is going to be this years annoying non-“BCS” conference team to be undefeated and get talked about quite a bit (seriously, their schedule is a joke). Over the past two seasons, Cato has accounted for 83 touchdowns and thrown for more than 8,100 yards. He’s also thrown a touchdown pass in 32 consecutive games. If you’re a college football nerd like I am you’ll love watching him play and at 50/1 you can’t get a better value.
Brett Hundley, UCLA (16/1): Hundley will be following up his back-to-back record settings seasons as UCLA’s QB. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 24 TDs last year while running for 748 yards and 11 TDs. UCLA’s current odds to win the national title are at 16/1 (7th best in the nation) mainly because of him. The head-to-head matchup with Mariota will likely seal his fate, luckily for UCLA the game is in Los Angeles. The last four Heisman winners (Newton, RG3, Manziel, and Winston) have all been QBs who can run and throw, much like all of the frontrunners listed above and Hundley. Hundley is going to have all of the exposure he needs from ESPN being in LA. I realize that being on the west coast hurts him in the sense that a lot of voters and viewers won’t stay up to watch his games, however at 16/1 the value is very good for a player who will be a top pick in next years NFL draft and could very well be the best overall passer in the country.