With the deadline for wagers on the Heisman Trophy closing on Sunday night at Las Vegas sportsbooks, it appears oddsmakers are not that concerned with the health of Alabama�s Tua Tagovailoa. The quarterback is the overwhelming 2/9 favorite to take home the award for the best collegiate football player.
But gamblers might want to think twice about putting money on the signal caller for the No. 1 team in the country. Tagovailoa, who at one point had odds of 1/10, has been hampered with a knee injury he suffered a month ago in a game against Missouri. He left that contest early, but seemed to play through it.
Then in the Nov. 3 matchup with LSU, he apparently tweaked it again. He left the game in the third quarter last week when the Crimson Tide played Mississippi State.
Alabama hosts The Citadel, and is a 51.5-point favorite. Despite what is expected to be and easy victory, coach Nick Saban bristled at the idea of resting Tagovailoa.
“Why would we do that?� Saban asked. �To say that this is not an important game or he doesn�t need to play? I think we need to do a better job of the people playing around him doing what they�re supposed to do so he doesn�t get hit. And he needs to do a better job of stepping up in the pocket and getting rid of the ball, which he had several opportunities to do. Some of these hits can be avoided just by better execution, and I think that�s what we�re going to focus on, not trying to take a guy out of a game so he can�t improve or do what he needs to do to get better or do what we need to do to get better as a team and develop some confidence in each other.”
Murray and Grier Gaining Ground
If Tagovailoa has a bad game, or exacerbates his knee injury, two other quarterbacks could sneak in and win the award. Oklahoma�s Kyler Murray and West Virginia�s Will Grier are the next picks.
Murray leads a potent Oklahoma offense that is No. 2 in the country, and is averaging 49 points a game. He began at 20/1, but recently dropped to 5/1. Coach Lincoln Riley believes he should be in the conversation.
�The guy�s playing at an extremely high level,� Riley said. �Not many people have played the position, especially in their first year as a starter, like he�s played for us. He�s done a good job staying focused.�
Grier has flown a bit under the radar. The quarterback opened as a 20/1 pick, but got trendy and went as low as 6/1. He is currently at 7/1.
Longshot Worth a Look
One player that could be a contender is Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The true freshman was the No. 1 recruit and decided on playing for the Dabo Swinney and the Tigers.
He rode the bench until the fourth game, when he was named the starter over senior Kelly Bryant. Lawrence has a QB rating of 158.6, with 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
For years the voters shied away from freshman, not giving one the award until Johnny Manziel in 2012. Jameis Winston won it as a first-year player the following year.
But the conventional thinking with Lawrence is that he is a year away from serious contention. He opened with 60/1 odds and is now at 25/1.