2018 Heisman Trophy – Odds to Win

Odds by BetOnline

The 2018 college football season has been one of the best years in the history of the sport in terms of quarterback play. While that might not be surprising given how pass-happy offenses are in this day and age, not many expected the three quarterbacks who are finalists for the Heisman Trophy to steal the show to the level that they did.

Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, Oklahoma's Kyler Murray, and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins have all had incredible seasons, but only one of them can win the Heisman.

Odds to win the Heisman:

Odds as of 12/07/18 at BetOnline

TeamOdds to Win SEC
Kyler Murray-260
Tua Tagovailoa+220
Dwayne Haskins+5000

Kyler Murray

Odds to Win Heisman: -260

Kyler Murray has become the favorite in the Heisman race due to the spectacular season he had as the quarterback of an Oklahoma team that may not have made it to the College Football Playoff without him. Murray completed almost 71% of his passes, averaging nearly 12 yards per pass attempt. Murray threw 40 touchdown passes on the season, and threw seven interceptions. He also tacked on 892 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, making him responsible for more touchdowns than the rest of the elite-level quarterbacks in the country.

The Oklahoma defense was more porous than Spongebob Squarepants, giving the offense very little margin for error, in that they needed to score on the majority of their possessions if they were going to keep themselves in a position to win enough games to advance to a meaningful postseason game. Murray provided everything that they needed, and did so while openly telling everyone that he is leaving football to play professional baseball after being drafted to the major leagues.

As impressive as Murray was numerically, there are always going to be questions about how legitimate huge quarterback numbers are in the Big 12. After all, recent Big 12 history has seen quarterbacks like Graham Harrell and Brandon Weeden put up huge numbers, only for the rest of the football world to rightly toss them into the trash once they left the comfort of a league where the scores resemble basketball scores more than they do football scores.

Murray had huge numbers, yes, but so have many other quarterbacks in his conference. It will be interesting to see if Murray's flash will be enough to overcome that concern the same way that Robert Griffin III did when he won it as Baylor's starting quarterback.

Murray -260?

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Tua Tagovailoa

Odds to Win the Heisman: +220

For much of this season, Tua Tagovailoa was the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, but his chances to win the award have been hurt by him being hurt toward the end of the season. Tagovailoa has been dealing with injuries since taking some shots to his knees and legs in conference games against Mississippi State and LSU, with those injuries finally catching up to him in the Crimson Tide's thrilling comeback win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. That conference championship game may have been enough to take Tua out of the Heisman race entirely.

The reason that the SEC title game might have dinged Tua's Heisman candidacy is that he came out of the game due to injury while the team was trailing, before backup quarterback Jalen Hurts came in and rescued Alabama's perfect season. It was an incredible role reversal that nobody expected, given that Tagovailoa's first exposure to playing college football at this level came in the same situation last year, when he took over for an ineffective Hurts in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Some have used this game to say that anyone could perform as well as Tua did this season with the team that Alabama has around him, but that could be doing a major disservice to the starting quarterback of the number one team in the country.

Tagovailoa has put up numbers that haven't been seen at the quarterback position during the Nick Saban dynasty at Alabama. He’s averaged over 11 yards per pass attempt this season and completed nearly 68% of his passes. His 37 touchdowns and four interceptions make for a ratio that NFL quarterbacks would kill for.

In a sea of mediocre quarterbacks such as AJ McCarron, Blake Sims, and even Hurts, Tagovailoa has shown that he is a passing talent far beyond what nearly any player in the country is capable of. And he has done all of it in the SEC, a conference that boasts some of the top defenses in the country, including LSU and Mississippi State teams that the Tide had to play in back-to-back games.

If there is a legitimate knock on Tagovailoa's Heisman candidacy, it is that he spent so much time sitting out of the fourth quarter of blowout wins that he didn't have a chance to rack up the statistical accolades that Murray or Haskins did. But whether you value what Tua did in less time on the field over what Murray and Haskins accomplished this season is subjective, and it will be interesting to see if the voters reward the Alabama signal caller for helping to blow teams off of the field in three quarters rather than racking up bigger numbers in all four.


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Dwayne Haskins

Odds to Win Heisman: +5000

Dwayne Haskins had one of the best passing seasons in Big Ten history, throwing for 4,580 yards, 47 touchdowns and eight interceptions. However, the two other quarterbacks on this list set the entire college football world on fire, knocking Haskins firmly out of the discussion here. There is no shame in being a Heisman finalist, though.

Haskins +5000?

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Best Bet to Win the HEISMAN:

Tua Tagovailoa +220

Tua was so good this season that he rarely needed to play all four quarters of a game. And while Kyler Murray had more plays worthy of being on SportsCenter, Tua’s destruction of the rest of toughest conference in college football should be enough to get him the nod here, or at least to be a good value at plus money.


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