Heisman Market Analysis, Week 3: Don’t Blindly Trust the Odds

Heisman Market Analysis, Week 3: Don’t Blindly Trust the Odds article feature image

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tua Tagovailoa

  • Ken Barkley is back to break down the latest Heisman odds, which are somewhat out of whack.
  • Several players out for the season or currently injured are still listed at low prices.
  • Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa is rightfully the favorite, and will be for a while, since the Tide's schedule doesn't get remotely tough until November.

In a way, the Heisman market is almost unfair. Bryce Love is going to miss his team’s game against UC-Davis on Saturday, and although it’s only Sept. 13, that may altogether disqualify him from eligibility for the award.

Combined with Love’s lackluster effort against San Diego State in Week 1, it might now be impossible to accrue the statistical profile necessary to merit consideration.

Love could have several jaw-dropping games, but because of the length of the season, it might not matter. He has fallen only to 16-1 to win the award, but that’s one of the worst bets on the board right now.

The odds will only get longer as everyone else plays and he does not. It may be 100-1 in the next two weeks.

Here are some other interesting things about the market as it stands entering Week 3, when books still haven’t put their full attention into the Heisman.

Oklahoma No Longer Has a Two-Candidate Problem

This was a topic last week, as both Kyler Murray and Rodney Anderson were dominant offensive players. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, Anderson is now out for the season, so now it’s the Murray Show, both in terms of offense and accolades.

This gives Murray a massive bump in terms of public perception and his actual ability to win the award. Oklahoma has looked just as dominant offensively as the team that finished No. 1 in S&P+ offense last year with Baker Mayfield. That’s scary.

Murray will be in the conversation the rest of the season, although we’ll see if the offense can put up the same numbers against teams not named Florida Atlantic and UCLA.

Tua’s the Favorite and That’s Not Changing Soon

Ole Miss is a great team for Alabama’s offense to open against in conference, since the Rebels can’t stop anyone. Still, the crazy thing is, this will absolutely be the toughest test Tua Tagovailoa has faced thus far (that’s more of an indictment of Louisville and Arkansas State than anything).

Here are Alabama’s next six opponents: Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee. There isn’t a lot of chance for stumbling against that slate.

Only later in the year against LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn will there be much resistance. The question will remain with Tua, though: “Can he win an award for individual achievement on a team where the backup could go undefeated?”

How much will he be penalized because Alabama has elite talent everywhere and won’t play a team that’s ranked right now until Nov. 3?

AJ Dillon Has Some Momentum

Dillon wasn’t even listed in most places before the season, and now he’s just 25-1 in the most recent market. Boston College has played only UMass and Holy Cross, but against the Crusaders, his stat line of six carries for 149 yards was certainly eye-catching.

We don’t really know what his ceiling is, but we’re going to learn a little more Thursday against Wake Forest.

My problem with Dillon as a viable candidate has been his team’s ability to get to the 9-10 win plateau, but after what we’ve seen from Florida State and Louisville so far, the competition in the Eagles’ division is becoming worse and worse with each passing week. There’s now a more realistic chance of that level of team success, which keeps increasing his viability.

Dillon’s Twitter bio also points out that he is an “avid Mott’s apple sauce enthusiast” so he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite players.

There Are “Land Mines” Everywhere. Avoid Them.

This is the part of the season where we start to see players continually listed, some even with low odds, who have no chance to win. I talked about UCF’s McKenzie Milton last week — he can get invited to New York, but there’s no way he wins.

Houston’s Ed Oliver, same deal. These are great players, but they are great Group of Five players.

I talked about Love already in the introduction — 16-1, and next week it’ll be 50-1, and then he may be off the board by Halloween. Brandon Wimbush is 55-1 and is completing only about 54% of his passes with 1 TD and 4 interceptions. His time may already be up.

Don’t let the board tell you who still has a chance. The board is not informed, and the board is frequently inaccurate. Do your own work first.

Best Chance to Show Out? TCU-Ohio State

Several of the candidates might continue to put up gaudy stats but will do so in low-impact games Jonathan Taylor faces BYU. Trace McSorley faces Kent State. Justin Herbert faces San Jose State. Will Grier’s game was canceled altogether because of weather.

That means extra focus and attention will be on TCU vs. Ohio State, and rightfully so. This is really one of the premier matchups of the week, if not the season, so far.

Compared to so many of the other candidates, Dwayne Haskins has a unique opportunity to put up a great game in a prime-time, nationally televised spotlight. If he shreds TCU, he probably moves right behind Tua next week. His is one of the prices most likely to drop between now and next Thursday.

The middle of the Big 12 is even worse than we originally thought after Oklahoma and West Virginia, so there may be an opportunity for Robinson and TCU to get to 9-10 wins as well. If Robinson plays really well, I’d be curious what he’d be listed at next week, provided everyone knows his name by then.