Oddsmakers made Tagovailoa the favorite early in the season when it was clear he had seized control of that starting quarterback role, with odds adjustments along the way that make his candidacy for the award seem all the more likely. At the start of October, Bovada's oddsmakers finally took the plunge and moved Tua's odds from plus-payout to below even, from 6/5 to 10/11.
The out-of-this-world efficiency numbers and absurd margin of victory for Alabama have powered this Tua-for-Heisman train, but his heavy favorite status could also open up opportunities to find value in the other big names on the board. In his visit to the 247Sports College Football Podcast this week, CBS Sports HQ and Fox Sports analyst Brady Quinn made a case for Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
"I think Dwayne Haskins is the leader in the clubhouse for the Heisman," Quinn said. "Now, I think Tua might be 1B if Dwayne is 1A, but here's the thing I'd say: if we're all about making a resume or making a case for a player, I think you can probably make a better case [for Haskins] for the criteria that leads to the Heisman Trophy. If you look at the stats, as impressive as Tua has been, who have they played? Have they played TCU at a neutral site? Have they been challenged, like at Penn State on the road? No.
"I think looking at what Dwayne's done, in the second half against TCU with the deficit, and the fourth quarter against Penn State to bring his team back, and the fact he's leading the country right now in touchdown passes -- I'm just saying right now, you can make a better case for Haskins than you can for Tua."
Brady went on to point out that Tua will have his opportunities to have those moments like Haskins had against TCU and at Penn State later in the season -- against LSU in Baton Rouge, the Iron Bowl against Auburn and certainly in the SEC Championship Game.
A star quarterback for a national championship-contending Ohio State team will probably never have better value than what you're going to get this year from Haskins, currently building his case in the shadows of Tua-mania. Even though the odds may point to Tagovailoa as a runaway favorite, a more patient analysis of the race lines up more with Quinn's diagnosis: these two star quarterbacks are occupying the same top tier, with the rest of the season to shake out who is 1A and who is 1B.