Betting odds for the upcoming NCAA College Football season’s Heisman Trophy race are now out. As expected, the list is filled with QBs. C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young are the front runners coming in at +200 and +350 respectively. The highest non-QB is Texas RB Bijian Robinson +1600, and the only defensive player on the list is Alabama edge rush Will Anderson jr. +2000.
Stroud and Young are the clear favorites coming off of standout 2021 seasons playing for blue-chip programs. Young is looking to become the first person to win back-to-back Heismans since Archie Griffin in 1974-1975.
But just behind them at +600 Caleb Williams represents a smart value bet. He played well as a true freshman for Oklahoma and has followed his offensive guru HC Lincoln Riley to USC, where he will be joined by a trio of intriguing WR transfers Jordan Addison, Mario Williams, and Travis Dye. Riley is confident his handpicked QB will succeed in his new environment .
“Caleb’s got a good way about him,” Riley said. “He’s one of those guys who can walk into a room with people he doesn’t know and he’s kind of a chameleon; he can fit in in any place. He’s played some ball. He’s been through it, I think, wanted to come here and establish himself as a leader.”
As noted above, Young is looking to become the first person to win back-to-back Heismans since Archie Griffin in 1974-1975. In order to do so, he will have to overcome the loss of his top two targets as well as his starting tackle, all three of whom left for the NFL.
Young recognized there would be a learning curve but is optimistic saying, “There’s a lot of new faces, I think it’s just about continuity — making sure they’re all on the same page. We’re openly communicating. We’re getting the reps and timing down, and that’s been a big process for us throughout this entire offseason.”
Young may have won the award last year but Ohio State QB CJ Stroud is the betting favorite for 2022. Stroud put up big numbers as a redshirt freshman and like Young lost his top two WRs to the NFL.
One area Stroud is not lacking in is confidence, even after throwing for over 4,4oo yards and 44TDs as a Freshman the Ohio State QB stated at Big Ten media day, “I feel like I barely touched my potential. I feel like I could do a lot more. Hopefully, God blesses me with that opportunity and I’m working toward it. I always feel I can get better.”
Those looking for a dark-horse candidate should zero in on Florida QB Anthony Richardson. Though Richardson will need to gel with new HC Billy Napier and navigate a difficult SEC schedule he has the arm talent and athleticism to put up big numbers. Napier is already predicting a breakout year for Richardson.
“I’ve been impressed,” Napier said. “I think he’s remained humble. He’s got a little bit of an edge. I think he wants to prove himself … He has tremendous ability. He’s working hard to develop, improve as a person, as a leader. He’s working hard to increase his football IQ. His skill is developing. I think he’s prime to have a phenomenal year.”
With odds at +2000, there’s a chance for a big payout if Richardson reaches his potential this year.
RBs and QBs have historically dominated the Heisman race, but those willing to bet against this trend stand to make a good profit with Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. While it may seem unlikely, voters have recently shown a willingness to give defensive players their proper due.
Michigan Edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson finished second last year while Anderson finished 5th even though Anderson had more sacks and tackles for loss than Hutchinson in 2021.
Charles Woodson is the only player to play primarily defense to win the Heisman. However, Woodson also returned kicks and occasionally played WR when he wasn’t operating as a lockdown corner.
As for Anderson, he is already raising expectations for not just himself but his entire position group.
“We’re going to be the best outside linebacker team in the country,” Anderson said. “I want everybody to eat. There’s a lot of dogs at outside backer, and they’re all hungry.”
At +2000 Anderson may be worth the gamble to build on his stellar Sophomore season and become the first defense-only player to take home the Heisman.
Who do you think will take home the Heisman Trophy this year?