It’s never too early to talk about college football. Although the national championship was last week, Bovada is already looking ahead to the 2019 season, releasing their way-too-early odds to win the Heisman Trophy next season. New Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields is not only listed but at 10-to-1, he is tied for the third-best odds to win college football’s most prestigious award at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Although he has yet to be ruled immediately eligible after transfer to Ohio State from Georgia, many expect that he will, including these oddsmakers. Ironically, Fields has the same odds as former Bulldogs teammate Jake Fromm, who he played behind in 2018. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Alabama Tua Tagovailoa are by far the two favorites to win the award, with the Tigers gunslinger leading the way. After the two shined in the national championship game just nine days ago, with Lawrence helping lead Clemson to a dominant win over Tua’s Bama squad, completing 20-of-32 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns, there’s no doubt that the two should have the best odds. Set to be a true sophomore and with Clemson returning all of their playmakers on offense, there’s no reason to doubt Lawrence as the favorite either. The only question is if one of the other quarterbacks can somehow outplay Lawrence, at least on the stat sheet.
Fields may not have started a game during his freshman season in 2018, but there’s a reason the gunslinger has so much hype surrounding his game. He’s not just any regular quarterback. Fields was the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2018 class and had a .9998 rating according to 247Sports’ Composite Rankings, which makes him the highest-rated player in Ohio State football history, barely edging out quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who had a .9997 rating when he committed to the Buckeyes in 2008.
During his first and only season with the Bulldogs, the quarterback completed 27-of-39 passes for 328 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The freshman also ran for 266 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries while backing up Fromm. He didn’t get to showcase his talents much, but even with that, Ohio State and the oddsmakers realize how talented the kid is. Not only are Fields and former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins good friends who worked out together this past summer, but they also share the same quarterback coach, Quincy Avery. Now, Fields will try to follow in Haskins’ footsteps and be invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony next fall. Haskins was the first Buckeye to do so since Troy Smith won the award in 2006, Fields will try to make it back-to-back years that the scarlet and gray are represented at the ceremony, hopefully winning it this time around.
With a pass-first offensive mind in head coach Ryan Day and new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich now in the fold in Columbus, the sky is the limit for Fields next season (and beyond). Whether it’s with his arm or his legs, he will finally be able to showcase his skillset as a Buckeye, something that everyone should be excited for, including Fields himself.
Interestingly, current Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell is also listed. Expected to transfer, having already put his name in the Transfer Portal and taken visits to other schools, the quarterback’s 40-to-1 odds are tied for the 19th-best. Obviously, Bovada also believes that the current Buckeye will not only succeed next fall but will be the starting quarterback from Day 1 wherever he lands.
The top-10 odds:
Big Ten players on the list, besides Fields and Taylor:
For what it’s worth, two of the three Heisman Trophy finalists in 2018 — Haskins and Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, who took home the award — were not listed on the initial odds at this time a year ago. Anything can happen, but with all the top-tier talent on that list, it’s likely that one of those quarterbacks will take home the award next fall.
There’s a possibility that Fields’ odds could drop straight to zero if his transfer waiver is not approved by the NCAA, which the decision is expected to be made sooner rather than later. Most expect that the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately for Ohio State but there is a (small) hurdle that needs to be cleared before he can do so, let alone be a Heisman contender. If (and when) he is ruled eligible this offseason, he will not only be the favorite to win the starting gig for the Buckeyes, but it appears as though he will be among the favorites to win the Heisman next season as well.
The 2019 college football season may (unfortunately) not kick off for over seven months, but with all the talent listed in these odds, it will surely be a fun one. Now we just have to wait for it to start and for Buckeye Nation, hope that Fields is ruled eligible to play immediately.