Edwards: Bettors should back Alabama RB Najee Harris to win Heisman at 80/1 odds

As of Tuesday morning, FanDuel had Alabama senior running back Najee Harris with 80/1 odds to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy.

80/1?! Yes.

5Dimes and the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas have Harris at 40/1, and the guess here is that FanDuel won’t be at 80/1 much longer.

Harris was outstanding in 2019, rushing for 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns on 209 attempts. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Harris also had 27 receptions for 304 yards and seven TDs.

In 2018 as a true sophomore, Harris had 783 rushing yards and four TDs on 117 carries. That was good for a 6.7 YPC average.

As a true freshman in 2017, Harris ran for 370 yards and three TDs on 61 totes, averaging 6.1 YPC.

During Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa, two Alabama running backs have won the Heisman. Mark Ingram did it in 2009, while Derrick Henry won it in 2015.

Mac Jones showed me enough in four starts last season. I think he’ll be solid (but not spectacular) as the Crimson Tide’s starting QB in 2020, presuming he’s able to hold off five-star freshman Bryce Young.

However, Jones doesn’t have the arm talent of Tua Tagovailoa or the scrambling ability of Jalen Hurts. Therefore, I envision Saban’s offense leaning on the running game a little bit more this year compared to the last three seasons.

Assuming he stays healthy, that’ll mean more touches and better numbers for Harris. In seven games last year, Harris had 14 carries or fewer and still accounted for 20 TDs and more than 1,200 rushing yards.

Another factor for Heisman contenders is being in the hunt for a College Football Playoff berth come late October and November. Since the inception of the CFP in 2014, five of the six Heisman winners have made the national semifinals. Lamar Jackson at Louisville in 2016 was the lone exception.

With LSU losing 15 players to the NFL Draft, offensive guru Joe Brady to the NFL and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to Baylor, the Crimson Tide is the team to beat in the SEC and has the third-shortest odds to win the CFP (behind only Clemson and Ohio State).

Therefore, I’m confident that Harris will have five showcase games on national television in the last six weeks of the season. Starting on Oct. 24, Alabama plays at Tennessee, at LSU and then at home vs. Texas A&M and Auburn. I left out a cupcake game vs. UT-Martin on Nov. 14 and if the Crimson Tide wins the SEC West, it will likely face Florida or Georgia on Dec. 5 in Atlanta at the SEC Championship Game.

As long as there isn’t a 2020 version of Joe Burrow running away with the Heisman hardware in November, Harris can win the award during that six-game stretch by producing big numbers.

Oh, there’s also a home game vs. Georgia in Week 3, in addition to the season opener vs. USC at Jerry World in Arlington, TX.

Need some flash? Need a few Heisman-like moments? Harris isn’t shy about producing highlight-reel plays:

Even if you don’t have a FanDuel account and have to settle for 40/1 odds, it’s a no-brainer to take a shot at the super-generous payout on Harris to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy.

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