College football season is right around the corner, and that means preseason Heisman odds are out and being heavily discussed. I think that these odds are my favorite odds of ANY futures posted in any sport and we will get into that right now.
Trevor Lawrence (+275) vs. Tua Tagovailoa (+275)
Lawrence is the WORST bet on the board. Lawrence will not win this award unless he gets a flurry of good luck. Clemson must be the only undefeated team in the regular season, Tua HAS to get hurt, the hype train gets out of control, and he is the most efficient passer in CFB history. If one of these four things doesn’t happen, I don’t believe that Lawrence has any shot at this award, especially compared to Tua.
Lawrence played MORE snaps than Tagovailoa last year even though he did not start the season as the clear-cut QB at Clemson. Clemson’s offense is simply not meant to breed Heisman winners, especially in a year like this where Clemson should see very little competition yet again in conference play.
Tua threw for 4,000 yards, 43 TDs, and six INTs last season. Now he returns with another year of training and almost his entire receiving corps back besides Irv Smith Jr. Both have elite receiver groups, but Alabama’s is deeper and more experienced. If Clemson sees just one injury to their group, you will quickly see them go to even more running concepts.
Lawrence threw for 3,200 yards, 30 TDs, and four INTs last season. The offense being run at Alabama is more explosive and more passer-friendly than Clemson’s by a long shot, and I just do not see how Lawrence can close a gap this large as both players are improving as passers.
I would be extremely surprised (barring injury) to see Tua not end up in New York City as the pacesetter in this race, and he could very well win it. Tua will produce similar numbers this season. Maybe his efficiency could go down, but he would just have to play a little longer, and his counting stats will look similar if not better next season.
I only want to target players that I believe have the upside to catch Tua and overtake him similar to what Kyler Murray did last season.
Justin Fields (+900)
Fields was rated 1 or 2 with Lawrence coming out of high school, and now he is in one of the most player-friendly offenses in the country. Ohio State’s offense is coached by a Chip Kelly-influenced coach in Ryan Day, and I expect to see a LOT of offense out of the Buckeyes this season.
Fields is one of the craziest physical specimens that we have seen at QB in recent history. He is 6-3, 230 pounds, and has run a 4.5-second 40 time. Not only that, but Fields won the Elite 11 MVP over Lawrence coming out of high school and has elite arm talent.
I am unsure of exactly how ready Fields will be on day 1, but I am sure that he will be one of the best rushing QBs in college football from day one, and he has an elite WR group to throw to downfield. Fields’ season could look similar to Kyler’s last year as a dual-threat that can make splash plays with his arm as well to rack up yards quickly. I want to take Tua and Fields right now and simply wait until December.
Shea Patterson (+2500)
Patterson’s numbers aren’t going to stand out, but Michigan is now running a new offense, has no reliable running backs, and has an elite WR group. It is possible that Patterson takes a major step forward in his final year, and I don’t mind a hedge on Fields with Patterson, as it is likely that both guys require a win in The Game to solidify their spot in New York.
Sprinkle On The RBs
Almost every top-five program has one clear-cut guy to lead the running back room this year with Travis Etienne (+3000), Najee Harris (+2500), De’Andre Swift (+4500), and JK Dobbins (+6000).
I am not in love with betting a running back here, but I do think taking a peek at Dobbins could be interesting at such a long number. Dobbins split time with Mike Weber for the Buckeyes last year and struggled to get into a rhythm, but Day seems to prefer having a bellcow RB moving forward.
Last season, Weber missed one game due to injury and Dobbins posted over 200 yards on THIRTY-SEVEN carries. I doubt they want to make that a regular occurrence, but the depth chart hasn’t changed since that game. Taking a shot at a +6000 player that has 30 touches per game potential at a top-five program is always interesting.