Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Trevor Lawrence
- Westgate released updated Heisman odds on Monday.
- Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has gone from 60-1 to 30-1 despite competing for the starting job but never having taken a college snap.
- Several other books have also dropped their lines on the stud recruit after opening high in the spring.
Trevor Lawrence might not be under center on Sept. 1 when Clemson opens its season against Furman. He’s not even listed as the team’s starter on its preseason depth chart. But that’s not stopping bettors from getting action down on Lawrence to win the Heisman Trophy anyway.
The true freshman’s Heisman odds have moved from 60-1 to 30-1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook in the last month. The quarterback he’s competing against, Kelly Bryant, has seen his odds increase from 20-1 to 30-1. Clemson running back Travis Etienne went from 40-1 to 80-1.
Westgate oddsmaker Jeff Sherman confirmed his book dropped the line due to betting support on Lawrence.
Lawrence’s Heisman market has been fascinating. He opened at — and remains — 16-1 despite never taken a snap in college. That number makes him the sixth betting choice. He’s dropped from 25-1 to 20-1.
Again, Lawrence is still very much listed as the backup on Clemson’s post-spring depth chart.
Lawrence was the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2018 and is everything you’d want in a pure passer — the size at 6-foot-6, the big arm, the vision. Not to mention the glowing, flowing hair.
But he’s not just any 5-star; he’s one of the highest-rated quarterbacks ever in the 247Sports Composite. He threw 160 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions for Cartersville High School in Georgia. He broke Deshaun Watson’s state record for passing yards.
Bryant is the opposite. He’s a dual threat (665 rushing yards, 11 rushing TDs, 7.0 yards per passing attempt last season) good enough to run an efficient offense and take a talented team such as Clemson to the College Football Playoff. But he wasn’t good enough to truly test a defense such as Alabama’s, which held the Tigers to six points and 188 total yards in last year’s national semifinal.
Collin Wilson, The Action Network’s college football expert, broke down the 2018 Heisman race, and got down on Lawrence at 40-1 before the line moved. There are a lot of reasons to like him — quarterback, College Football Playoff contender, potential to put up big numbers, powerhouse on the East Coast.
The biggest concern? Dabo Swinney doesn’t want any quarterbacks to leave, so he’ll try to keep both happy. He already lost 5-star Hunter Johnson to Northwestern this summer after one season on campus. Backups Zerrick Cooper and Tucker Israel left in January. Bryant is a redshirt senior who has graduated, so he could leave before this season without penalty, although it doesn’t appear he’ll do that. Redshirt freshman Chase Brice is the only other quarterback at Clemson besides Lawrence and Bryant.
Wilson says Clemson will trail by double digits in the second half of at least one game this season. Bryant isn’t equipped to make a comeback like that. Lawrence could be thanks to his big arm.
Clemson’s first tough test comes in Week 2 at Texas A&M. Should the Tigers find themselves behind, don’t be surprised to see Lawrence stretching the field.
Other Heisman Trophy odds movers
Damien Harris, RB, Alabama: Harris dropped from 40-1 to 18-1 at Westgate in the last month. He was the most efficient Crimson Tide running back last season, gaining 1,000 yards on 135 carries (7.4 yards per attempt).
With Bo Scarbrough gone and Josh Jacobs often injured, expect a slight uptick in touches for Harris. Running backs don’t often win the Heisman — just two since 2006. But both have been from Alabama.
Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State: McSorley dropped only from 20-1 to 15-1, but that puts him among the top seven betting choices at Westgate.
McSorley checks a lot of the Heisman boxes — big-time East Coast program, quarterback on a College Football Playoff contender, a history of big numbers. If Penn State reaches the Big Ten Championship Game, it’s hard to imagine McSorley not being in New York for the Heisman ceremony considering how he would have played to get the Nittany Lions there.
Plus, Saquon Barkley is gone. That may hurt Penn State’s offense, but McSorley will be the only show in town for the first time in three seasons.
McKenzie Milton, QB, UCF: A Group of 5 player hasn’t won the Heisman Trophy since BYU’s Ty Detmer in 1990. Not only is there regional bias in Heisman voting, but conference bias, too. Milton fell from 50-1 to 80-1.
Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State: The Bulldogs offense should be excellent under first-year coach Joe Moorhead, who served as Penn State’s offensive coordinator for the last two years. Fitzgerald, however, has dropped from 40-1 to 60-1 at Westgate while working his way back from a gruesome ankle injury at the end of last season.