Marcus Mariota won the 2014 Heisman Trophy in an absolute landslide. He had a spectacular junior season at Oregon, throwing for 3,783 yards and 38 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He added 669 rushing yards and 14 scores while also catching a TD pass. His 53 total touchdowns is tied with Sam Bradford for the most in Heisman Trophy history.
He led the nation in touchdowns, passing efficiency (186.33) and total offense (4,452 yards). He also added the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, the Walter Camp Player of the Year, the Maxwell Trophy, the Davey O’Brien and the Unitas Award to his trophy case. He swept the Heisman voting regions while totaling the third-highest vote total in Heisman history. He became the first player born in Hawaii to win the Heisman.
With the 2014-15 season coming to a close, it’s time to look ahead at the possible Heisman Trophy contenders for the 2015-16 season. Bovada has wasted no time putting out its odds on which player will win the Heisman Trophy. You’ll find the odds in the table below.
It’s kind of surprising that two running backs are among the top three favorites considering 13 of the last 14 Heisman Trophy winners have been quarterbacks. Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot (6/1) is the favorite, followed by Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott (7/1) and LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7/1).
I will pick out my three favorite value bets among these contenders. While I do feel like Elliott is the clear front-runner, whoever is under center for Ohio State will take away some of his votes. As you’ll notice, all three potential QB’s for the Buckeyes are listed among the contenders in Cardale Jones (10/1), J.T. Barrett (16/1) and Braxton Miller (25/1) because it’s unclear as to which one will start for them next season.
My value bets go on players who have the best shot to win the Heisman Trophy in comparison to their odds. I would recommend a wager on any one of these three players. I also provide some analysis as to why. Read ’em and weep.
Jack’s Top 3 Heisman Trophy Value Bets for 2015
#1 – Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (15/2)
TCU was one of the most underrated teams in the country during the 2014-15 campaign. It went 12-1 with its only loss coming on the road by a final of 58-61 to Baylor after blowing a 20-point lead. The Horned Frogs went into the final week of the regular season as the No. 3 ranked team in the college football playoff, but despite a 52-point win over Iowa State, they dropped to No. 6. They were easily the biggest snub of the playoffs. They went on to prove that with a resounding 42-3 win over Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.
The biggest reason for the huge turnaround for TCU this past year was the new spread offense that head coach Gary Patterson installed in the offseason. The Horned Frogs didn’t even know who their quarterback was going to be going into the fall, but Patterson obviously chose wisely when he selected Trevone Boykin to be his guy. The rest was history.
Boykin led the nation’s second-highest scoring offense at 46.5 points per game. He completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 3,901 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while also rushing for 707 yards and eight additional scores in his junior season. He has most of his weapons back entering his senior season, and this offense should thrive once again behind the play of Boykin. If the Horned Frogs win the Big 12 and make the four-team playoff in 2015, then Boykin is as good a bet as any to be awarded the Heisman Trophy.
#2 – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (20/1)
The Clemson Tigers were expected to take a huge step back last season with the loss of all of their key skill players from the previous year. They were forced to go with senior Cole Stoudt as their starting quarterback for much of the year, and there were all kinds of questions about the weapons surrounding him. Stoudt would eventually lose his starting job to freshman Deshaun Watson, and he only got it back once Watson went down with injury.
Stoudt did not play near as consistently as Watson, but the Tigers still managed to go 10-3 last year due to a defense that ranked 3rd in the country in allowing just 16.7 points per game. Stoudt completed just 63.2 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while averaging just 1.3 per carry on the ground.
Watson, meanwhile, completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 1,466 yards with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions, while also rushing for five scores and 3.2 per carry. With Stoudt now graduated, this Tigers offense belongs to Watson in 2015. If he can stay healthy, he’ll put up as good of numbers as anyone because of his skill set. He is a dual-threat guy who is deadly accurate with his arm and electric on his feet. Four of the last five Heisman Trophy winners have been dual-threat QB’s in Cam Newton, Robert Griffin, Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota.
#3 – Cody Kessler, QB, USC (12/1)
You may have noticed that I’m sticking to quarterbacks with my Heisman Trophy value bets. The reason is pretty obvious. As stated before, 13 of the last 14 Heisman Trophy winners have been quarterbacks. It’s just no longer a running back’s game, which is why I would completely stay away from guys like Elliott, Fournette, Nick Chubb (12/1), Paul Perkins (12/1), Derrick Henry (14/1) and Samaje Perine (14/1).
On to Kessler. This guy may have been the most underrated quarterback in the entire country last season. He managed to get overlooked probably because he played in the same conference as Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Mariota. Well, he is far and away the best quarterback coming back in the Pac-12 this season, and he should start to finally get some attention this year.
After all, the media has no other choice but to give him some love after seeing the numbers he posted last season. Kessler completed 69.7 percent of his passes for 3,826 yards with 39 touchdowns against only five interceptions. He thrived in Steve Sarkisian’s new up-tempo offense in his first year, and now he should be ready to put up even bigger numbers in his senior season in his second year in the system.
2015 Heisman Trophy Odds
|Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State||6/1|
|Dak Prescott, QB, Miss State||7/1|
|Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU||7/1|
|Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU||15/2|
|Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State||10/1|
|Cody Kessler, QB, USC||12/1|
|Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia||12/1|
|Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA||12/1|
|Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama||14/1|
|Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma||14/1|
|J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State||16/1|
|Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn||16/1|
|Connor Cook, QB, Michigan St||20/1|
|Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson||20/1|
|Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State||25/1|
|Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon||25/1|
|Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami||33/1|
|Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin||33/1|
|D.J. Foster, RB, Arizona State||33/1|
|Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State||33/1|
|James Connor, RB, Pittsburgh||33/1|
|Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech||33/1|
|Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona||33/1|
|Seth Russell, QB, Baylor||33/1|
|Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma St||40/1|
|Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State||50/1|
|Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee||50/1|
|Jared Goff, QB, California||50/1|
|Marquise Williams, QB, UNC||50/1|
|Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss||66/1|
|Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona||66/1|
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