Why Ohio State QB Justin Fields is a Great Heisman Value Bet
Dan Kilbridge | 3 mins
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It’s easy to overlook Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields these days. Doing his thing on a Friday night in Evanston, Ill., pummeling unranked Northwestern in uncelebrated fashion.
Oddsmakers are largely overlooking the Georgia transfer as well. He’s +1000 in Heisman Trophy odds entering Week 9 and a heavy long shot behind Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (+150), LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (+150) and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts (+220).
That doesn’t mean he’s out of the race. Look no further than 2017, when Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was the heavy favorite at -175 entering Week 9. Stanford running back Bryce Love was second at +200. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was +1000, the exact same odds Fields has at the same point in the season.
Mayfield moved up to +750 entering Week 10 and went off for 598 yards and five touchdowns in an upset win over Oklahoma State. Then Love suffered an ankle injury (sound familiar?), Barkley and PSU lost two straight games and suddenly Baker was -175 entering Week 11.
This brief history lesson simply points out that there’s a ton of football left and anything can happen, especially with Tagovailoa nursing a high ankle sprain and Burrow preparing for upcoming games against Auburn and Alabama.
Fields’ Stats Match Up In Heisman Race
Fields’ stats aren’t quite as strong as the other three contenders right now, but it’s still close. He’s thrown for 1,492 yards with a 70.7 % completion rate and just one interception. He and Hurts each have 30 total touchdowns, one more than Tagovailoa and one fewer than Burrow.
It’s also worth nothing that while the Buckeyes have played a very manageable schedule to date, they’re absolutely pummeling opponents with Fields at the Helm.
OSU has an average margin of victory of 41.7 points – Alabama is second at 32.3.
@OhioStateFB QB Justin Fields' escapability levels at pic.twitter.com/yVpACr2UwN— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 19, 2019
Fields’ lack of a quality victory so far is a blemish, but he’ll have plenty of chances down the stretch beginning with Saturday’s home game against No. 13 Wisconsin. The Badgers still have the nation’s top-ranked defense despite that stunning loss at Illinois. And Fields ends his season against No. 6 Penn State and No. 19 Michigan.
It’s not hard to see the Buckeyes winning all three games. No one has come close to slowing them down this season. It’s also not hard to imagine the kind of statistical damage Fields is capable of in remaining games against Maryland and Rutgers.
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Sure, Fields still needs a few stumbles from the other serious Heisman contenders. We’ll see at least one when Burrow and Tagovailoa match up in the Nov.9 LSU-Alabama game.
As for the Fields, the value for college football bettors is clear. His chances at a serious Heisman run are as real as the Buckeyes’ College Football Playoff hopes.