Braxton Miller Odds to win the 2014 Heisman Trophy
by Dave Schwab - 7/3/2014
The Ohio State Buckeyes came into the 2013 season with extremely high expectations after going a perfect 12-0 straight up in Urban Meyer's first year at the helm as head coach. They could not compete for the national title in 2012 because of NCAA sanctions, so the added excitement of winning a NCAA Championship also followed the Buckeyes into last year's campaign.
One of the main reasons for such high expectations was the play of quarterback Braxton Miller. As a sophomore, he passed for 2,039 yards while completing 58.3 percent of his 254 attempts. He threw 15 touchdowns against six interceptions and finished the season with a quarterback rating of 140.5. Add in another 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, and it is easy to see why he placed fifth in the 2012 Heisman Trophy voting.
Last season the Buckeyes went 12-2 SU and finished 12th in the final AP poll of the season. Their national title hopes ended with a stunning 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, and they came up short in a 40-35 loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Miller's numbers during the 2013 season improved to 2,094 yards passing with a completion rate of 63.5 percent and a total of 1,068 yards on the ground, but he actually dropped to ninth in the Heisman voting this time around.
How much of an impact Ohio State's overall record has on his chances to win the Heisman Trophy this season as a 7/1 third-favorite remains to be seen, but it obviously had an impact on the voters' minds last season. The biggest takeaway from his previous two seasons is a solid level of consistency that should set the stage for some more big numbers both throwing and running with the ball in 2014.
He has thrown a total of 52 touchdowns during his three-year career at Ohio State against just 17 interceptions. His overall rating has climbed from 138.4 as a freshman to 158.1 in 2013. Miller's numbers running the ball have also improved since his first season, and last year he averaged 6.2 yards a carry on 171 attempts.
When Bovada first released its futures odds to win this season's Heisman Award, Miller opened at 4/1 odds, which were tied with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota as the second-best on the board. The primary reason for the change in his odds between then and now was arthroscopic procedure on his right shoulder this past February. He is expected to make a full recovery in time for the Buckeyes' season opener against Navy on the road on Saturday, Aug. 30, but any time surgery is involved it is bound to cast some shadow of a doubt in the betting publics' minds.
I happen to think that there is some tremendous value in Millers' odds at 6/1 to win this season's award for college football's most outstanding athlete. He will be coming into the 2014 with a chip on his shoulder after dropping down the list in last year's Heisman voting, and you know that Meyer will have this team ready for another title run.
The Buckeyes should once again get off to a very fast start with a less-than-challenging nonconference schedule, and early indications all point to this team being a solid favorite to win the Big Ten title this time around after going a perfect 16-0 in its last two seasons in conference play.
Bovada's odds for Ohio State making it into the new four-team playoff format are set at even money for "yes" and -140 for "no," which could directly speak to the perceived overall weakness of the Big Ten Conference. However, this team will be hard to ignore if it runs the regular-season table at 12-0 for the third straight year. At the center of it all should be Miller with another season of big plays with both his arm and his legs, making him a solid play to win this year's Heisman Trophy.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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