Heisman Trophy Winner Betting
by Trevor Whenham - 08/02/2007
You only need to look at Troy Smith to realize that the Heisman Trophy is probably given more importance than it deserves. He was the clear winner last year, yet he was essentially ignored by pro scouts and his chances of NFL success are not high. In recent years the same thing could have been said about Jason White, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke and Ron Dayne. That's five of the last eight winners who were or will likely be pro disappointments, and only one, Carson Palmer, is an established and proven star.
As overblown in significance as the award may be, it is still one of the more interesting and discussion-inspiring facets of college football. Because so many people talk about it there are obviously plenty of opportunities to bet on it. If you choose wisely and limit the number of wagers you place, Heisman Trophy winner betting can be another profitable and enjoyable way to enjoy the college football season. Here's a look at how the race breaks down (all odds are from Bodog):
Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas (3/1) - McFadden is the early leader in this race thanks to the runner-up finish in Heisman voting he had last year after an exceptional sophomore year. McFadden's experience with the award could help him - Reggie Bush was the most recent player to go from finalist one year to winner the next. The biggest knock against the freakish back is the team he plays for. The Razorbacks were a surprise at 10-2 last year. It's not hard to find four or more possible losses on their schedule for this season. McFadden would struggle to overcome the burden of a disappointing team. It has been a long time since a winner came from a team that wasn't among the true elite. Still, McFadden is legitimately favored here.
Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville (7/2) - The national media had a bit of a love affair with the Big East last year, or at least they did compared to how they usually regard the poor cousin of the major conferences. If that continues this year then Brohm could be the beneficiary. After an injury-filled year last season, Brohm is back and at the helm of what should be a potent offense. He was getting Heisman buzz last year, so he is already on the minds of voters. If Louisville goes undefeated, or at least wins the conference easily, then Brohm could be a serious contender. He probably has a smaller margin of error than the other major contenders, though.
Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia (9/2) - Slaton is amazing, but he probably has two big things working against him. His own quarterback, Pat White, is nearly as flashy and will also get some Heisman consideration, potentially splitting the vote. Brohm could also take away consideration from Slaton given a potential unwillingness for voters to consider two contenders from the same unheralded conference. Those knocks have to be measured against the fact that he is almost certain to have a gigantic statistical year.
John David Booty, QB, USC (5/1) - If I were to pick just one player to bet on it would probably be Booty. He has all the ingredients. He plays for USC, which voters love, and he's potentially the third consecutive USC QB to win the hardware. His team is going to be fantastic, and will likely steamroll much of their schedule. He's been in the national spotlight since he was in high school, so he's not a stranger to the media. He has a year of experience under his belt, and he was increasingly impressive as the season progressed. He should be in the picture right up to the award ceremony.
Colt Brennan, QB, Hawaii (7/1) - Brennan will be a popular choice, but he faces massive hurdles to overcome to win this award. His numbers will be ridiculous - he had 5,549 yards and 58 touchdowns last year. One problem he has, though, is that his numbers are probably too good, which makes people wary of how dependent he is upon a system. He also will struggle because he plays for Hawaii, and neither his team nor his conference gets much respect. He'll likely go high in the draft, and he could win the Heisman, but I don't see a lot of value at this price.
Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers (8/1) - Rutgers was an amazing story last year, and the recruiting they have done on the strength of last season ensures that they will be relevant for years to come, but I can't lose the feeling that Rice could disappoint this year. He carried the ball a ton last year, and he will be called on to do even more this season. That's a lot of strain on a body, and he might not hold up. Add to that the fact that Rutgers and Rice won't sneak up on anyone this year, and you have a player that seems poised to take a step back. I'll be cheering for Rice, but I sure won't be betting on him.
Field (4/1) - You'd think that a catch-all choice like this might be attractive, but I really don't think it is here at this price. It includes some intriguing players - running backs Yvenson Bernard, P.J Hill and Tashard Choice, receivers Adarius Bowman and Mario Manningham, and QBs Erik Ainge and Andre Woodson among them. The problem is that few of those players or the others in the field have the public awareness and national profile that is needed for this award. If the award were based solely on merit and performance then it may be different, but the Heisman obviously isn't.
Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri (20/1) - It wouldn't be a good list if there wasn't at least one interesting longshot. Daniel fits that bill here. He is an incredible athlete who was very good last year in his first season starting, and will only be better with experience. His team has a decent chance of exceeding expectations, if only because they play in a weak division that they should be able to exploit. There's a good chance that the winner of the Big 12 North will play an undefeated team - Oklahoma or Texas - in the Big 12 championship, so Daniel would have the opportunity to shine on a national stage. It's a longshot, but that's why he is 20/1.