Oklahoma's Kyler Murray overtakes Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa as Heisman betting favorite

ByBen Fawkes ESPN logo
Saturday, December 8, 2018

For the first time all season, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is the betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy -- in both the legal and offshore markets.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa opened as the third favorite at 10-1 odds in June at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, behind Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (7-1) and Stanford running back Bryce Love (5-1). Murray was tied for the seventh-best odds at 20-1.

Tagovailoa became the favorite at the SuperBook in August before Alabama coach Nick Saban even declared him the starter, and remained that way all season. Tagovailoa was the -200 favorite (Murray +225) when the odds were taken down in November, as required by the Nevada Gaming Association for voted-upon events. At Caesars, the odds were even more in Tagovailoa's favor before being taken down (Tagovailoa -450, Murray +450).Tagovailoa was a -750 favorite at FanDuel heading into last Saturday's games, with Murray at +750.

However, after a shaky performanceby Tagovailoa in the SEC championship game and an impressive one by Murray in the Big 12 title game, Murray is the clear favorite to win where odds are offered.

Both players began the week with -115 odds to win at the FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey, but money has come in on Murray all week. He is now a -180 favorite (Tagovailoa at +135) at FanDuel, a -200 favorite at the DraftKings Sportsbook, and at offshore giant 5Dimes, he's up to -220.

One bettor at the SuperBook has a $2,200 bet at 12-1 odds on Tagovailoa to win the Heisman, which would win $26,400. Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook director John Murray told the Las Vegas Review-Journal it would suffer a "mid-five-figure loss" if Tua won.

"We certainly would like to see [Kyler] Murray win," John Murray told ESPN.

A Caesars sportsbook source told ESPN it would suffer only a "small" loss if Tagovailoa won, but a big win (five times more than the loss) if Murray takes home the trophy Saturday night.