We’ve told you that betting the Heisman is a bad idea, especially wagering on the favorites who rarely finish in the top 10 in voting. Since 2009, five of the eight winners had odds of +2000 or greater and four weren’t on the board until at least Week 2.
This is a hard bet to win but that doesn’t mean we can’t find a profitable angle to take. My theory is that we can chase the Heisman odds. We want to identify players that shined in Week 1 and bet them before the rest of the market catches up.
Last year, Lamar Jackson was 100/1 to in the preseason, jumped to 40/1 after Week 1 and was the clear favorite after three games. Ideally, we would want to bet Jackson at those tasty preseason odds but we didn’t really know he was special. After scoring eight touchdowns in Louisville’s first game we had an idea of what he could do. If you pounced on 40/1 before the start of Week 2 you were rewarded handsomely at the end of the season.
The strategy with betting the Heisman is to wager on any player that saw their odds cut in half after the opening game of the season or were off the board in the preseason but now have odds heading into Week 2.
Using SportsOddsHistory, since 2009 there were 57 such players that matched this criterion. If you had bet them all after Week 1 you would be up +46.0 units. This includes wins on Mark Ingram (+3300) in 2009, Cam Newton (+2000) in 2010, Jameis Winston (+600) in 2013 and Lamar Jackson (+4000) in 2016.
Looking at the updated Heisman odds, there are four players we can bet this year to follow this strategy. Ty Johnson (Maryland), Royce Freeman (Oregon), J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State) and Damien Harris (Alabama). Each running back was off the board or had their odds cut in half after stellar Week 1 performances.
This is not a foolproof strategy but it has correctly identified four of the last eight Heisman winners. Three had odds of +2000 or longer. Betting the Heisman before the season starts is a bad idea but chasing the Heisman odds might be a viable betting strategy.
2017 Heisman Odds
|Player||School||Position||BetOnline (8/15)||BetOnline (9/5)|
|JT Barrett||Ohio State||QB||1000||800|
|Saquon Barkley||Penn State||RB||900||1100|
|Mason Rudolph||Oklahoma State||QB||2500||1400|
|Trace McSorley||Penn State||QB||2000||1600|
|Luke Falk||Washington State||QB||3300||2000|
|Quinton Flowers||South Florida||QB||1600||2500|
|J.K. Dobbins||Ohio State||RB||N/A||3300|
|Nick Fitzgerald||Mississippi State||QB||5000||5000|
|Brandon Wimbush||Notre Dame||QB||5000||6600|
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