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Heisman Odds: Put Your Money on Jalen Hurts

Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Updated Heisman odds seem to come out every other week during the offseason. The shocking retirement of Bob Stoops at Oklahoma will surely cause Baker Mayfield’s odds to drop just enough that the major sports books will feel a need to release yet another set of odds.

In the meantime, if you’re a betting man, there are plenty of other enticing odds to consider. Most lucratively are the odds of Mississippi State quarterback, Nick Fitzgerald, which are around the 30/1 range on average. For those of you that are not bettors, this means if you were to put $10 on Fitzgerald to win the trophy, you could make $300 in return if he does. Simply put, 30-times the original bet.

Many – including former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy – believe Nick Fitzgerald may ultimately be the SEC’s best quarterback. However, he does not play on the SEC’s best team, and I believe it will cost him. If you prefer quality over quantity – or better odds over higher payout – you may should look at Jalen Hurts.

Hurts’ odds float around 15/1, giving him only half as good a payout. As the season rolls on, his odds will go down if the Tide win games. Jalen was responsible for a large portion of Alabama’s offense last year, and came through in the clutch a handful of times. Should he have that same type of success this year, the fourth-quarter, last-minute touchdown runs like he had against LSU and Clemson will become ‘Heisman moments.’

With a new offensive coordinator in Brian Daboll, the offense should look different this year. If the spring game was any sign, there should be a larger emphasis on an aerial attack. The biggest flaw pointed out in Hurts’ game last year was his middle-of-the-field passing game, and the ability to read defenses. Most of that is due to the fact that Lane Kiffin’s offense puts a leash on quarterbacks – for better or worse – and does not call for a lot of during-the-play reading.

This year’s version of the Crimson Tide offense will most likely look more like it did with A.J. McCarron at the helm. If Hurts shows improvement within the new system, the ‘he can only run’ criticism will die off with the rise of his Heisman campaign. In a lot of ways, Hurts could have been a Heisman finalist last season as a true-freshman, but the plethora of dual-threat quarterback finalists (Jackson, Watson, Mayfield) most likely kept him out.

Like it or not, Jalen Hurts is in for an elite season under Daboll. While there are other quarterbacks – and some elite running backs – that are a tempting pick. However, none of the rest of them play for Nick Saban and have as real a chance at competing for a national championship. With the exception of last year’s winner, Lamar Jackson, Heisman voters tend to put an emphasis on winning games.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Jalen Hurts is a winner.

Jake Weaver is a lead writer for TD Alabama Magazine and Bama Hoops Hype. You can contact him via phone at 205-612-5060, or on Twitter @JWeaver_TDALMag

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