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Syracuse football: Heisman bettors are pleased with Sean Tucker’s early-season performance


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 03 Louisville at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’ve known for a while that the Syracuse Orange have a star in running back Sean Tucker. The idea of him being in Heisman consideration has been floated around too. It seems like much of the country is starting to take notice - far more than I could’ve ever imagined.

According to a press release from OddsChecker, 50% of Heisman bets placed through their website since Saturday were for Tucker. The site has partnerships with many major sportsbooks including DraftKings Sportsbook. Tucker is currently +15000 to win the Heisman at DraftKings.

Check out this information from OddsChecker spokesman Kyle Newman,

“Sean Tucker has had an impressive start to the season topping 100 rushing yards and scoring a TD in each game. He’s even shown his worth in the pasing game with 84 yards and a score against Louisville. Still, he’s not even among the top-20 in rushing yards in the country. Tucker isn’t even top-10 in the NCAA in All-Purpose yards. There’s a reason that sportsbooks barely see him as a top-10 RB, let alone a Heisman contender. Yet, bettors see a guy just looking to explode.”

Okay... deep breath. First off, I am just as astounded as you. Sure, Sean has been a dark horse candidate, and with good reason: he’s already shattered the single-season rushing record at a school known for producing some of the best running backs of all time. He’s on the verge of passing Ernie Davis on the SU all-time rushing yards list. But for him garner this kind of attention?

There’s a few reasons why I think so many bettors suddenly had this inclination. First, there is some recency bias here. When SEVEN of the teams in the AP Top 25 lose over the weekend, along with #1 Alabama barely coming back to avoid being loss number eight, people may see an opportunity to forget the name-brands and pounce on an under-the-radar candidate. Specifically, one on a team that is still doing well.

Tucker and the Orange fit that category. Unlike last year, where teams figured out how to focus on Sean above all else, Syracuse now has Garrett Shrader unlocking his full potential as a dual-threat quarterback. PFF rated him the top performer in all of the Power 5 for his superb outing at UConn, and his arm strength and accuracy have both soared early this season.

Add in the fact that Tucker may not have been 100% since being knocked to the ground by Louisville in Week 1, and you’ve got the recipe for someone who can explode these next few weeks.

Tucker’s current odds (+15000 at DraftKings) are a slight improvement from the start of the year, but still only a 0.7% implied chance of winning