Jalen Hurts’ Heisman Odds Bolstered by Transfer to Oklahoma

Jalen Hurts’ Heisman Odds Bolstered by Transfer to Oklahoma

The last two Heisman Trophy winners have been quarterbacks from Oklahoma. With Jalen Hurts now joining the Sooners, odds are improving that coach Lincoln Riley’s team could produce an unprecedented three in a row.

Hurts’ announced transfer had an immediate effect not just on Oklahoma’s depth chart, but also in top sportsbooks. The Sooners’ odds of winning the national championship improved, and Hurts’ odds of claiming college football’s highest individual honor were on the upswing as well which is a major development for fans of college football betting across the country.

Originally a longshot on Heisman futures lists, Hurts shot up to among the favorites after he announced his transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma in a first-person piece in The Players' Tribune.

Sportsbooks on Thursday gave Hurts the third-best odds of winning the award behind Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Hurts, as a graduate transfer, will be eligible to play immediately in Norman. Riley’s pass-heavy offense has produced the last two Heisman Trophy winners, Kyler Murray this past season and Baker Mayfield in 2017. Murray is leaving Oklahoma a year early to pursue the NFL Draft, and the Sooners had no heir apparent at the quarterback position.

Murray was backed up by three underclassmen who this past season threw for 159 yards combined. One of those, redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall, is transferring to West Virginia.

QB's Move Helping Heisman and National Title Chances in Norman

Hurts was 26-2 as a starting quarterback at Alabama before losing the job to Tagovailoa in the second half of the 2018 College Football Playoff championship game against Georgia. Hurts remained a backup this past season, though he came off the bench to engineer a dramatic last-minute victory in the SEC title game against the same Bulldogs after Tagovailoa sprained an ankle.

As a backup at Alabama, Hurts was well down the list of betting Heisman favorites, with odds of +3000. His transfer, combined with Riley’s track record of producing Heisman-contending quarterbacks, saw Hurts’ odds of winning the trophy jump to +800 in sportsbooks. Quarterbacks have won the award in 11 of the past 13 years.

Hurts’ transfer also impacted Oklahoma’s odds of winning the national championship. The Sooners had opened at +1600, behind co-favorites Clemson and Alabama, who were at +200 each. News of Hurts’ move immediately improved Oklahoma’s title odds to +1400 at FanDuel, and +1200 at Sugar House.

Murray opened this past season with Heisman odds of +2000, originally behind the likes of Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate and Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, and well behind preseason favorite Bryce Love, a Stanford running back. Murray won the award over Tagovailoa after becoming the first FBS player to average over 300 yards passing and 60 yards rushing per game.

Murray passed for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns this past season, Mayfield 4,627 yards and 43 scores the year before. Hurts passed for more than 2,000 yards in each of his two seasons as starter in Tuscaloosa, and had a 17-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio his sophomore campaign before yielding to Tagovailoa.

He also rushed for 954 and 855 yards respectively in his two starting campaigns, and his 71 total touchdowns stand second to A.J. McCarron in the Crimson Tide record book.

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