Not every Monday this summer will be spent discussing various gambling odds as they relate to Notre Dame every Monday. Such a conversation showing up here for the second consecutive week is simply an attempt to look as far forward as possible before falling down the many rabbit holes of a micro view. Hopefully that narrowed focus can be put off for yet another month.
This is also not to say Irish senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush is a viable Heisman contender. Only five or six players in the nation truly are, and the original intention was to see if any of Notre Dame’s opponents are among those. Frankly, it was a bit of a surprise to see Bovada list Wimbush among its 30 players with Heisman odds currently available.
Only three of those 30 are on the Irish schedule, with one of them being among those half dozen genuine contenders: Stanford senior running back Bryce Love, with 8-to-1 odds, behind only Wisconsin running back Johnathon Taylor (15-to-2).
Love’s Heisman candidacy should be taken a bit more seriously than the likes of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s, showing up next on the board at 9-to-1. That is not only because of Tide head coach Nick Saban’s tendency to not showcase his quarterback, but it is also because Tagovailoa may not even end up Alabama’s starter — Jalen Hurts is the one who got the Tide to the national championship game last season, after all. Furthermore, Tagovailoa has played a total of one half of meaningful collegiate football, while Love ran for 2,1118 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, averaging a mere 162.92 rushing yards per game.
Michigan quarterback and Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson has 20-to-1 odds, now that he is eligible. Either his or Wimbush’s odds will drop considerably after the season’s opening weekend.
Florida State running back Cam Akers also makes Bovada’s list, with 25-to-1 odds. In a 2017 season when the Seminoles finished 7-6, Akers rushed for 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. For Florida State to return to ACC contention, Akers will need to shine this season, at which point he might rise in the trophy conversation.
Bovada spots Wimbush with 35-to-1 odds. Considering Wimbush was benched in Notre Dame’s Citrus Bowl victory over LSU, putting him on the board at all may seem ludicrous. It isn’t.
First of all, someone will certainly take those odds, immediately making the offering worthwhile from the bookmaker’s perspective. Secondly, if the Irish win the season-opener (96 days away) against the Wolverines, Notre Dame would most likely be a home victory over Love and the Cardinal away from bringing a 5-0 record and top-10 ranking to a primetime date at Virginia Tech, one of college football’s most raucous road venues. If competitive there, Wimbush will be assured headlines.
A year ago, the first-time starter accounted for 30 total touchdowns, 25 in the season’s first nine weeks. Produce like that again and keep the Irish in the national conversation leading up to the season finale at USC, and Wimbush will be on the fringes of the Heisman debate, at the absolute least.
Of course, that scenario included two ifs, one likely and one again. Hence the 35-to-1 payout if it were to come to be a reality.
ON A HEISMAN DARKHORSE
This will become a theme in these space leading into the season. This scribe is buying early on West Virginia and quarterback Will Grier, listed with 20-to-1 odds, equal to Patterson’s and Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant. Grier threw for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns in only 11 games last season while completing 64.4 percent of his passes, adding two rushing touchdowns as the Mountaineers finished 7-6, ending on a three-game losing streak coinciding with Grier suffering a season-ending hand injury.
To increase his national profile, Grier will need to outduel North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley (55-to-1) in a Sept. 15 road game, but otherwise the schedule largely works to West Virginia’s favor, avoiding trips to Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma.
Bookmakers have relatively low expectations for the Mountaineers, offering a season win total over/under of only 7.5, but they are one of just five teams to have multiple players among Bovada’s 30, with receiver David Sills joining Grier at 66-to-1.
West Virginia certainly is not short on NFL-caliber talent, part of why head coach Dana Holgorsen made extensive efforts this offseason to educate nine upperclassmen on the next steps of their pro pursuits.
THOSE OTHER FOUR TEAMS WITH MULTIPLE CONTENDERS
Clemson: With a possible quarterback question on its hands — Early-enrolled freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence actually has better odds than Bryant, at 9-to-1. The two passers are joined by running back Travis Etienne (55-to-1).
Ohio State: Running back J.K. Dobbins’ odds fell with Patterson’s arrival on the board, simply because a better Michigan team decreases the odds of the Buckeyes staying atop the Big Ten. Dobbins has 15-to-1 odds, joined by defensive lineman Nick Bosa at 66-to-1.
Georgia: Sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm has 12-to-1 odds while running back D’Andre Swift is listed at 28-to-1.
Alabama: Tagovailoa is joined by running back Damien Harris at 50-to-1.
INSIDE THE IRISH READING:
— On gambling and Notre Dame’s 2018 odds, with links to read
— Freddy Canteen announces another transfer, leaving Notre Dame at 86 scholarships
— No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver
— No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end
— No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver
— No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
— No. 79 Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
— No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, starting right guard
— No. 77 Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
— Brandon Wimbush’s offseason spent in search of a ‘fix’ for QB
— Texans excited about healthy return of speedy Will Fuller
— Looking ahead to healthy Tyler Eifert
— Everybody still knows his name: How the world has changed in the 25 years since the final ‘Cheers’ episode
And remember, there is a reason you are just as likely to read this to kill time Tuesday morning at work as you are to have skimmed it while waiting for the burgers to cook Monday afternoon. Of those to honor on Memorial Day, at least 19 Irish football players have died in service, as well as more than 500 Notre Dame alums, and so many more, of which each of us assuredly knows of one personally.
It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who as given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Solier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army
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