- Trevor Lawrence’s breakout performance in the National Championship spurred Heisman buzz.
- Tua Tagovailoa slid down the early 2019 Heisman Trophy odds to second.
- What is the best Heisman bet to make at this point?
One short clip perfectly encapsulated the total demolition Clemson put on Alabama in college football’s National Championship Game.
The shortened version of Alabama vs Clemson
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 8, 2019
It can also be used to describe Trevor Lawrence’s climb past Tua Tagovailoa as the favorite for the 2019 Heisman Trophy.
The freshman pivot moved into the national spotlight leading his Tigers to a 44-16 demolition of Alabama, the largest beat-down Nick Saban has suffered in his time at Alabama.
Is there substance to this pick or is Vegas suffering from a case of recency bias? Let’s delve in and try to find out what the best bet is.
2019 NCAA Heisman Trophy Odds
|Player||Position & School||Odds at Bovada (Jan. 8)|
|Trevor Lawrence||QB, Clemson||+300|
|Tua Tagovailoa||QB, Alabama||+350|
|Jake Fromm||QB, Georgia||+850|
|Jonathan Taylor||RB, Wisconsin||+900|
|D’Andre Swift||RB, Georgia||+950|
|Travis Etienne||RB, Clemson||+950|
|Sam Ehlinger||QB, Texas||+1000|
|Austin Kendall||QB, Oklahoma||+1400|
|Jerry Jeudy||WR, Alabama||+1400|
Lawrence Just Needed Some Spotlight to Shine
His rapid ascent might be shocking to some, but not to those who watched him closely over the year. Lawrence quietly put together an outstanding season since taking over for Kelly Bryant after Week 4.
So much happening here:
Trevor Lawrence cool in the face of the blitz and Alabama CB hurt on the play pic.twitter.com/F0oIFqvsZ6
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) January 8, 2019
There were a few factors that kept him under the radar, despite passing for over 3,000 yards and 30 TDs (with just four interceptions) on the year.
First, a true home-run hitter at running back in Travis Etienne (also a 2019 Heisman favorite). Etienne did plenty of heavy lifting during the season and into the playoffs.
Travis Etienne breaks out for a 62 yd TD run to put Clemson up 30-3 #ALLIN 🏈
— Sideline Sports (@SportSideline) December 29, 2018
The second is Clemson’s dominating defensive front, a line that, to a man, projects as high NFL draft picks. They, like Lawrence, didn’t disappoint in the title game, holding the Tide scoreless in the second half.
Clemson's defense IS A PROBLEM 😤 pic.twitter.com/xUAooWT35L
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) January 8, 2019
But Lawrence, much like Clemson QB Deshaun Watson in 2017, was the story when it was all said and done, going 20-32 for 347 yards, 3 TDs and no picks.
— VERSACEBOYENT (@VersaceBoyEnt2) January 8, 2019
As mentioned, his stardom was coming: Lawrence the top prospect in 2018 and pegged a star as recently as December 11, when he was a distant second to Tagovailoa in the initial Heisman futures for 2019.
Don’t Count Out Tagovailoa
He might have been outplayed in the title game, but there’s a reason Tagovailoa is still very much in the mix for the Heisman.
Rattled City, Population: Tua Tagovailoapic.twitter.com/8cHIZajya3
— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) January 8, 2019
He left little doubt that choosing him over Jalen Hurts was the best play for ‘Bama, finishing his first year as starter with stunning numbers.
— Sports ON Tap (@SONTHighlights) January 8, 2019
Tagovailoa completed 69% of his passes for 3,966 yards and 43 TDs to just 6 interceptions. He finished his campaign with an unreal 199.4 passer rating, and his 48 total TDs are a school record – as were the team’s marks in offensive yards, passing yards, and total points scored.
Simply put, this guy was the maestro to one of the most dominant offenses in college football history.
Who’s the Best 2019 Heisman Bet?
Let me be the first to say that this is awfully early to be projecting a Heisman winner for next season, as the confetti is still being picked up off the turf in Santa Clara.
While Lawrence is the favorite, Alabama and Tagovailoa have extra incentive to make it back to the big show, considering the latest narrative that’s been playing out: the Tide QB struggles against better teams.
Is there now some doubt about Alabama star QB Tua Tagovailoa? pic.twitter.com/mReusxOj9G
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) January 8, 2019
For that reason, I like him at +350. Meanwhile, Lawrence will have a new battle to encounter: expectations. Should he struggle at any time, his narrative will shift to a passenger with a great team around him, and not the engine that drives it.
If you’re looking for some extra value down the board, I’d keep it to the pivots, guys like Sam Ehlinger (+1000) and Austin Kendall (+1400). In this decade, only one non-quarterback has been picked as the Heisman winner – Derrick Henry with the Tide in 2015. No matter where they are ranked, the quarterbacks are where you should be laying wagers.
One final reminder: you can follow the Heisman progress all year with our Heisman Odds tracker, which will be updating frequently.