College Football Betting: Avoid Preseason Heisman Favorites

College Football Betting: Avoid Preseason Heisman Favorites article feature image

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Stanford Cardinal running back Bryce Love

  • Bryce Love (7-1), Tua Tagovailoa (15-2) and Jonathan Taylor (17-2) are the favorites to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy.
  • History tells us the Heisman winner usually isn't one of the preseason favorites.

Stanford running back Bryce Love, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor are the favorites to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy. There are over 66 players with odds representing 47 programsm including 23 of the 25 teams in the Coaches Poll.

There is a chance your alma mater has a Heisman hopeful. While it is tempting to bet a player to win the Heisman, you’re likely wasting your money if you do.

Since 2009, there have been 92 players that began the season with +2000 or better odds to win the Heisman per SportsOddsHistory. These players are the preseason favorites. Despite being the most talented players in college football, only 27 finished in the top 10 in voting. Just 14 were invited to New York for the ceremony and only two of the preseason favorites actually won the award.

Preseason Favorites

  • 29.3% finish in the top 10
  • 15.2% are Heisman finalist
  • 2 – number of preseason favorites to win Heisman

It is hard to predict which player will win the Heisman. It is even harder to profit off of this bet. The oddsmakers’ hold on this prop is 27.8%. Shocker, the books aren’t giving you true odds. Plus, this bet ties up a portion of your bankroll for the entire college football season.

Baker Mayfield was +1000 in the 2017 preseason to win the Heisman. He bucked the trend and took home the hardware but he is the exception, not the rule. The year before Lamar Jackson was off the board (or +10000 in preseason) and came out of nowhere to win.

That being said …

All the above is true. It is also true that I bet on the 2018 Heisman. I know, I’m hypocrite, degenerate or a combination of both.

The Heisman candidate I’ll be cheering for is Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. He matches The Action Network’s Ken Barkley’s five rules for betting the Heisman and was college football expert Colin Wilson’s pick. Plus, I got Haskins at +2200, so technically he wasn’t a preseason favorite when I wagered on him.

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Of course, a dark cloud hangs over the Buckeyes stemming from an investigation of head coach Urban Meyer’s handling of a domestic violence complaint. If Meyer gets fired the team’s outlook and narrative (which is important in Heisman voting) changes.

It is fun to bet on who will win the Heisman, but history tells us it usually isn’t one of the preseason favorites.

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