Heisman Trophy Odds Report: Bo Nix vs. Jayden Daniels, But Can Michael Penix Still Win?

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Written By Brett Gibbons | Last Updated
Heisman odds Week 14 2023

In the wake of the 2023 college football regular season, two prominent names headline Heisman Trophy odds. Oregon’s Bo Nix () is the odds-on favorite with a Pac-12 Championship rematch with Washington left on tap. LSU’s Jayden Daniels () made his case already, as Heisman voters do not factor bowl games into their vote. Despite record-setting numbers, Daniels appears to be on the outside looking in due to a 9-3 record versus Nix’s 11-1.

Historically, voters factor team success into their selection. Just two winners since 2000 played for a team with more than two losses; Daniels is looking to become the third. But the question remains: should Nix be the favorite?

2023 Heisman Trophy Odds: Bo Nix, Jayden Daniels Lead

Browse Heisman Trophy odds from the best sports betting sites below. Click on odds in the table to place a bet.

Should Nix Be The Odds-On Favorite?

It’s difficult to argue against Nix’s numbers this year being unworthy of consideration for the Heisman. He finished the regular season second in passing yards (3,852), passing touchdowns (37), and passer rating (135.9). While his rushing totals are tame (181 yards, six touchdowns), Nix’s biggest strength comes from not turning the ball over. His three turnover-worthy throws are the fewest by a QB nationally (min. 150 attempts), and he threw just two picks.

What boosted Nix’s case, though, was the string of big-time wins. The Ducks torched Utah and Oregon State, upended USC, and soundly beat Colorado (who, at the time, was ranked 19th). Compare that to LSU, who finished 1-3 against opponents ranked at the time.

But, in each of those three losses, LSU’s defense allowed more than 40 points. Daniels did his best to keep up, scoring 49 points in their loss to Ole Miss and accounting for nine total touchdowns. Reasonable or not, team performance does affect Heisman votes.

Daniels’ historic numbers and efficiency should have been enough sway votes. However, Nix gets the last impression – an impression that may be a lasting one should he dazzle in the Pac-12 Championship rubber match with Washington. Oregon is a favorite in the game.

Heisman Trophy Odds: The Case For Nix

Individual awards in recent history have gone to the most deserving player over perhaps the best player. It is mainly a quarterback award, and it could be argued that many of the nation’s best players aren’t in the Heisman discussion. But when it comes to deserving, Nix checks nearly all the boxes. In the final four games of the year (Cal, USC, Arizona State, ranked Oregon State), Nix accounted for 19 total touchdowns despite playing one half of football against ASU. On a per-game basis, Daniels out-snapped Nix as LSU made a concerted effort to pad his numbers come season end.

Nix also gets one more crack at an opponent likely poised for the College Football Playoff with a win – Washington. In their first meeting back in Week 7, Nix threw for 337 yards and a pair of scores, but Oregon came up short, 33-30 on the road. As favorites and in a game with a -point total, it’s reasonable to expect Nix adds another three or more touchdowns to his resume.

Oregon first launched his Heisman campaign with BO KNOWS billboards in late summer. Should Dan Lanning, Will Stein, and the offensive staff have the opportunity to add a bonus touchdown or two with Nix, they likely take that opportunity.

Heisman Trophy Odds: The Case For Daniels

Thanks in part to having a porous defense, Daniels has been able to craft one of the most impressive individual seasons in college football history. He finished with comparable numbers to Lamar Jackson in 2016, with one distinct and important difference – Daniels did it with 67% of the workload:

He finished with more 20+ yard plays than all but 11 FBS teams and more passing touchdowns of 20+ yards than Nix had 20+ yard completions. Should LSU have closed the deal even against Ole Miss (a 52-49 shootout loss), Daniels likely owns a comfortable lead. Should the Tigers have gone 11-1, Daniels would almost be a guarantee for the hardware.

The biggest criticism of the current landscape of the Heisman vote is that voters are punishing Daniels for having a poor defense. According to The Athletic’s most recent Heisman poll, voters sampled gave Daniels nine first-place votes. Nix and Michael Penix were tied with 11 each. The margin is razor-thin.

It’s not to say Nix or Penix isn’t deserving, but Daniels as an individual is likely more deserving. So, that begs the question…

Should I Bet Daniels Heisman Odds?

“Correct” or not, the only perception that matters is that of the voters. With Nix and Penix tied at the top of the straw poll, it would take an Oregon loss or a below-average performance from Nix for Daniels to be considered the favorite. There’s even a world in which a strong upset performance from Penix pushes him to the favorite or winner. The pre-Week 13 straw poll suggests that the winning Pac-12 quarterback will garner the most votes.

As betting analysts pour out efficiency metrics like EPA, passing depth splits, etc., remember that the majority of the 982 Heisman voters don’t pay attention to those underlying metrics; in fact, many oppose new-era analytics.

Be sure to closely follow what matters when betting Heisman odds: polls and media perception. Wonder why Daniels may not be getting as much exposure as Nix on ESPN? Maybe that’s telling you who voters are paying attention to more.

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