By David Caraviello | | 4 mins
Heisman Trophy Betting Best Plays to Consider Backing 2018
One year ago at this time, the Heisman Trophy winner seemed signed, sealed and delivered. The college football betting universe was so in love with Saquon Barkley, it seemed inevitable that the Penn State tailback would take home the sport's most coveted individual prize.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the New York Athletic Club: Barkley and the Nittany Lions fizzled down the stretch, and it was Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield who took home the Heisman.
It's something to remember this season, when once again a single player is dominating the Heisman conversation, but plenty of time remains for things to change.
So who's the best bet among the leading Heisman candidates? A look at the four favorites:
The odds: -335
Tagovailoa has been nothing short of electric for Alabama, leading the most dynamic offense of the Nick Saban era in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide is steamrolling opponents, thanks in large part to its Hawaiian quarterback, who is excellent at buying time in the pocket and delivering the ball on target.
But Tagovailoa's passing numbers aren't as ridiculous as those of some other contenders, due to the fact that Alabama often has such a large lead that he sits out all or most of the fourth quarter.
He also doesn't have to do it alone: Alabama has five-star talent all over the field, especially on defense. There's also not much value to be found in a heavy Heisman favorite who carries such lopsided odds.
But winning counts for a lot, and the longer Alabama stays perfect, the better Tua's chances become.
The odds: +1100
You want ridiculous passing numbers? Look to Haskins, who is rolling them up for Ohio State. The Buckeyes quarterback was the third-leading passer in the FBS at midseason, averaging 40 attempts and 350 yards per game.
And yet, he's the beneficiary of Ohio State's primary shortcoming: an offense that becomes more one-dimensional with each ensuing week and was completely exposed in the lopsided loss at Purdue.
Haskins put the ball in the air an insane 73 times in that game and threw for 470 yards, but it all felt desperate. His odds may be second in the Heisman race to Tagovailoa's, but Haskins feels like more of a long shot: a Colt Brennan or Graham Harrell in scarlet and black.
The odds: +1200
The West Virginia quarterback certainly opened his campaign with a bang, throwing for 429 yards and five touchdowns in a rout of Tennessee.
But it only takes one game in the national spotlight to scuttle a player's Heisman chances, and Grier may have suffered just that in a midseason loss to Iowa State where he managed just 100 passing yards and was sacked seven times.
West Virginia has several marquee games remaining, including a must-watch finale against Oklahoma, so Grier will have the opportunity to pass himself back into the race.
But West Virginia is the kind of program that needs to be near-perfect for its quarterback to win the Heisman. Although Grier was the ninth-leading passer in the FBS at midseason, he's likely one more Mountaineers loss from sliding off the radar for good.
The odds: +1200
If there's real value to be found in the Heisman race, it might lie with Murray, who has the system, the schedule, and the high-profile program that could combine to leave him clutching the big trophy in December.
Like Tagovailoa, he doesn't have eye-popping passing numbers compared to some of the other contenders, because he hasn't needed to hoist his team on his back. The loss to Texas shouldn't hurt him, given that Murray still tossed four touchdown passes even in that defeat.
Most importantly, the schedule gets a little easier for the Sooners over the second half of the season, and Murray will have a few chances to roll up yards against undermanned opponents.
The finale against West Virginia shapes up as a showcase between him and Grier. And if Alabama slips up, another Oklahoma quarterback in coach Lincoln Riley's offense will be in position to make a late-season run to the Heisman.