How to Handicap the Bednarik Award and Account for its Voting Biases

How to Handicap the Bednarik Award and Account for its Voting Biases article feature image

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Micah Parsons and Benny Snell

  • Caesars is offering odds on the Bednarik Award, given to college football's best defensive player.
  • As with some other college awards, there are regional voting biases tied to the Bednarik.
  • Collin Wilson breaks down the odds and explains how to bet this award.

Handicapping the Heisman is a yearly ritual for most college football gamblers.

Selecting the best player at a good market value important of course, but there are regional and national biases to account for when betting this prestigious award.

Caesars Entertainment released odds to win the Bednarik Award, an accolade given to the best defensive player in college football that’s even more biased.

@CaesarsPalace gave us the go to offer Odds to Win the 2019 Bednarik Award Winner given to the best Defensive player in College Football. Had some help from @lindetrain to set it all up! I’d appreciate it if you gave it a look!

— Motoi Pearson (@HeedTheseTakes) June 6, 2019

The Bednarik Award is voted on by the Maxwell Football Club based out of Philadelphia. Voters consist of club members, head coaches, and sportswriters. The club has deep ties to the Philadelphia Eagles and is headquartered in Ambler, Pa.

President and CEO of the Maxwell Club Mark Dianno is based in the Philadelphia area, while club chairman Shawn Wooden is a former Notre Dame defensive player originally from Philadelphia.

If you don’t see already see the Pennsylvania theme, consider that six of the 24 Bednarik winners have come from the Keystone State. More than half the winners have been linebackers.

With these statistics in mind, here is a look at a trio of players that deserve my betting attention.

Micah Parsons 12-1

With the data presented above, it would be impossible not to center on a Pennsylvania linebacker. Parsons initially opened at 30-1, but was immediately bet down to 12-1 within hours of the numbers released.

Two shots on College Football Chuck Bednarik Award from @CaesarsEnt

Article to follow on @ActionNetworkHQ in the coming weeks

— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) June 8, 2019

As a freshman, Parsons led Penn State in tackles, also adding 12.5 run stuffs and two forced fumbles. That’s amazing work for a player that only started one game and admitted to being ‘lost’ at times. He was the No. 5 ranked player in the Class of 2018.

Granted teammate Yetur Gross-Matos will give Parsons a run for this award, since the defense is expected to be the stronger unit for the Nittany Lions. With offensive replacements needed for Miles Sanders and Trace McSorley, expect Penn State to put up monster defensive statistics.

Parsons has value until 10-1 with this award.

Nolan Smith 75-1

From the tweet above, No. 1 overall recruit in the nation Nolan Smith was a prime target at 200-1. With comparisons to Khalil Mack, Smith has already been penciled in as the Georgia Bulldogs next havoc-generating linebacker.

The true freshman drew raves during the spring game, with many predicting he will be starting games quickly for Georgia. Kirby Smart has commented that Nolan Smith can make ‘superman plays’, thus making the outside linebacker worth a long shot play.

Paddy Fisher 50-1

Beyond the Pennsylvania and linebacking biases, the Big Ten seems to curry favor with this award. Other than Penn State, this award has been won by current Big Ten schools Nebraska, Maryland, Michigan and Northwestern. Nine of the 24 winners have come from the conference.

In the case of the Wildcats, Pat Fitzgerald won this award two consecutive years as a linebacker at Northwestern. Paddy Fisher, an expected first-team all-Big Ten selection, will look to do the same.

Now a junior, Fisher made more than 90 tackles in 2018 along with five forced fumbles along and a couple of pass breakups.

A member of the Bednarik Award 2018 watch list, Fisher has an excellent chance of becoming a finalist for the award.

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