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LSU vs Alabama in Week 11 Could Determine Heisman Winner; Burrow Favored Over Tagovailoa

Brady Trettenero

by Brady Trettenero in College Football

Nov 4, 2019 · 3:54 PM PST

Alabama vs LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium
The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner could be determined when No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama faceoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Week 11. Photo by James Willamor (Flickr) [CC License]
  • LSU vs Alabama in Week 11 could determine the 2019 Heisman winner
  • Joe Burrow (LSU) and Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) were both idle in Week 10, as was Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts
  • Who is the best bet for the Heisman entering Week 11?

Week 11 will have major implications on the 2019 Heisman Trophy race. LSU’s Joe Burrow will take on Tua Tagovailoa in a battle between the current Heisman favorite and the 2018 runner-up.

With the top-five contenders in the Heisman odds all idle this past week, who should you bet on heading into Week 11?

2019 Heisman Trophy Odds

Player Odds at Sportsbook 1 Odds at Sportsbook 2
Joe Burrow (QB, LSU) -125 +100
Jalen Hurts (QB, Oklahoma) +250 +300
Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama) +375 +325
Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State) +750 +850
Chase Young (DE, Ohio State) +800 +900

Odds taken Nov. 4.

Joe Burrow Remains Heisman Favorite

Joe Burrow became the odds-on Heisman favorite (-125) at some books after Week 9 and remains the favorite after having a bye in Week 10. He was at +125 odds elsewhere heading into the bye week, but he’s now listed at even odds.

Burrow has thrown for over 300 passing yards in six of his eight games this season and ranks second in the country with 30 TD passes. He’s thrown just four interceptions and owns the third-best pass efficiency rating (204.5).

Burrow has performed against some great defensive teams in Florida and Auburn, and he’ll need to continue that success against an Alabama defense that is allowing just 180.1 passing yards per game. As good as the Crimson Tide’s defense has been, they have yet to face a quarterback of Burrow’s nature.

Considering the Crimson Tide have won 31 straight games at home, it’s safe to say that Burrow could lock up the Heisman if he leads LSU past Alabama on the road in Week 11. Even if he falls short, he’ll remain in the race as long as he puts up big numbers.

Tua Tagovailoa Will Be Game-Time Decision

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa will be a game-time decision for Week 11 against LSU. Tagovailoa is nursing an ankle injury and missed Alabama’s Week 9 game against Arkansas.

Week 11 is so critical for the Heisman race because Tagovailoa has been favorited since the odds first opened. If he doesn’t play in the game, I don’t see him having a chance to win the trophy. Alabama has only faced one other ranked opponent this season (Texas A&M), and the LSU game has always been Tagovailoa’s opportunity to shine against an elite team.

Despite missing Week 9, Tagovailoa’s numbers are still holding up in the Heisman race. His 27 TD passes are third-most in the nation, while his 212.4 pass efficiency rating is second-best. Tagovailoa returning and leading Alabama past No. 1 LSU while not being 100 percent healthy would surely impress Heisman voters.

Because Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts suffered a shocking upset loss to Kansas State in Week 9, Tagovailoa is very much still in the Heisman conversation despite nursing an injury.

Burrow vs Tagovailoa History

If Tagovailoa does play against LSU, you’ll want to lay money down on one of these QB’s for the Heisman before the game. Can you look at the history to see who may have the edge?

Nov. 9 at Bryant-Denny Stadium won’t be the first time Burrow and Tagovailoa have squared off. LSU and Alabama met in 2018 in Baton Rouge with both quarterbacks playing in the game. Tagovailoa, battling a knee injury,  went 25-of-42 passing for 295 yards and two touchdowns to lead Alabama to a 29-0 victory.

Burrow was sacked five times in the game and completed 18 of 35 passes for 184 yards. What’s important to note is that according to Sports Illustrated, Burrow separated his shoulder in practice two days before that game. The Tigers QB reportedly had to convince his coaches to let him play in the biggest game of the season.

Burrow has made major strides since last season and is fully healthy for the rematch. LSU’s offensive line is also much improved from the one that faced Alabama last season. Considering how well Burrow has played against two of the best defensive teams in the country (Florida, Auburn), I’d give him the edge over an injured Tagovailoa in Week 11.

What About Jalen Hurts?

It’s still a three-player race between Burrow, Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts for the Heisman. Hurts has put up impressive numbers, albeit against some weak Big 12 defenses. You still can’t ignore his nation-best 224.3 pass efficiency rating and the fact he’s accounted for 34 TD’s.

The best chance of Hurts becoming the Heisman favorite is if Tagovailoa doesn’t play against LSU and Burrow and the Tigers lose to Crimson Tide backup QB Mac Jones. If Burrow has another great performance to end LSU’s eight-game losing streak to Alabama, I don’t like Hurts’ chances.

Hurts has a good opportunity to increase his Heisman odds in Week 11 against an Iowa State defense that gave up 34 points to Oklahoma State in Week 9. He’ll also face a tough test against an undefeated Baylor team in Week 12.

Heisman Analysis After Week 10

Week 11 will be the biggest one yet for the Heisman race. Joe Burrow is facing his biggest challenge yet, while Tagovailoa could make for a great story if he returns from his ankle injury.

There isn’t a shoo-in for the Heisman entering Week 11, but the best value lies with Burrow.

Burrow has already outdueled Sam Ehlinger and Texas and beat ranked Florida and Auburn teams. His consistently elite play makes him a strong bet to outduel a hobbled Tagovailoa or backup QB Mac Jones and lead LSU to a huge victory.

Pick: Joe Burrow (+100)

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