Heisman Trophy Odds Update: Biggest QB Movers; Could Marvin Harrison Jr. Win?
The 2023 Heisman Trophy race has been ambiguous from the start. The top spot has traded hands between multiple quarterbacks, most recently JJ McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr., and Jayden Daniels. And a new poll indicates it might wind up not being a quarterback at all! With the meat of the college football schedule still on deck, this is a race bound to come down to Conference Championship Week. How have Heisman odds changed from the preseason? How did we get here? Let’s dive in.
The biggest factors for the remainder of the season in the Heisman race include big opportunities left on the schedule and National Championship odds.
2023 Heisman Trophy Odds
Compare Heisman odds from the best sports betting sites below. Click on odds anywhere to place a bet.
Biggest Heisman Odds Movers Up
J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan: +1600 to +300
At 8-0 and rolling opponents every week, it’s no surprise the frontman for Michigan spearheads the odds boards. Before the season began, McCarthy had +1600 odds to take home college football’s top award, or about a 5.9% implied probability. He’s since climbed to +300 ahead of Week 10, or a 25% implied probability. The 19.1% jump is the largest in college football.
What makes McCarthy an intriguing case study moving forward is that his two biggest Heisman opportunities lie ahead in Penn State (Week 11) and Ohio State (Week 13). Proceed with caution when considering a bet on McCarthy, though; it would be foolhardy to believe the Michigan sign-stealing scandal won’t affect the way bettors vote.
Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington: +1100 to +280
The Heisman frontrunner prior to Week 10 didn’t start off in the driver’s seat. His preseason odds (+1100) were a bit more optimistic than McCarthy’s, but still carried just an 8.3% implied probability of taking home the hardware. Last season, Penix finished 20th in passer rating, but also led the country in yards. This season, he jumped to fourth in passer rating and still leads the country in yards after nine weeks.
Penix saw the biggest jump in his Heisman odds (and, by association, his campaign) after defeating Oregon at home in one of the year’s biggest games. Not to be out-done by McCarthy’s end-of-season stretch, Penix still has games against USC, Utah, and Oregon State to bolster his case. The Huskies also have the inside track to a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Penix’s implied probability to win the Heisman jumped by 18%, up to 26.3% ahead of Week 10.
Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU: +1100 to +500
If it weren’t for a resume marred by two losses, Daniels would likely be an odds-on favorite – perhaps even a runaway – for the Heisman. While it’s an individual award, there’s a strong correlation between wins and winning the trophy. Only two winners since 2010 won fewer than 11 games (Lamar Jackson, 2016 and Robert Griffin III, 2011), although in a year as muddy as this, Daniels could become the third.
Not only does the LSU QB top the country in passer rating and touchdown passes, but he also leads the Tigers in rushing yards and the SEC in rushing yards per attempt. Lately, the run of Heisman QBs have been ultra-efficient passers, but Daniels brings that to the table and the dual-threat nature of the mid-2010s winners. LSU has a massive game against Alabama on tap in Week 10, one sure to swing Daniels’ Heisman odds wildly in one direction or another.
Biggest Heisman Odds Movers Down
Caleb Williams, QB, USC: +400 to +8000
Last year’s winner has had a rough go in 2023. USC rolls into Week 10 with two losses and Williams was a leading cause of both. Instead of working within the system, Williams resorts to backyard-style football, holding onto the football far too long and accounting for a nation-leading 40% of sacks taken (PFF). The loss to Utah in Week 8 effectively removed USC from the Pac-12 Championship and College Football Playoff running and Williams from Heisman contention.
USC’s three remaining opponents – Washington, Oregon, and USC – theoretically set up an opportunity for Williams to dazzle and re-gain some buzz. However, at 80-1 at FanDuel Sportsbook, bets on the second-ever Heisman repeat is more likely than not just a donation.
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina: +900 to +12000
Maye’s numbers from 2023 were already down enough to consider him out of the running. But back-to-back losses for the Tar Heels against 1-5 Virginia and 3-4 Georgia Tech completely sunk that ship. The CFP Selection Committee even dropped UNC from the rankings entirely. This year’s collapse looks eerily similar to last year’s, when UNC closed the year on an 0-4 skid after climbing their way into the top 15.
While Maye still proves an exciting NFL prospect, the voter basis is all that matters for the Heisman and he doesn’t have the resume or the opportunities left to be considered.
Latest Polling Could Shift Heisman Odds Soon
The Athletic released its latest Heisman Trophy straw poll on Halloween, and the results were surprising for some bettors. NONE of the quarterbacks mentioned above garnered the most first-place votes. Not only was Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. the leader in total points in the poll, but his 15 first-place votes were eight more than the next closest contender, Michael Penix.
As the Michigan scandal swirls, it’s also notable Wolverines QB J.J. McCarthy only received two first-place votes. Would that change if he beats Ohio State, or do voters not have the appetite to vote for a Michigan player? It’s very hard to know at this point.
But despite this poll, Harrison Jr. sits at +1100 at the time of publish.
His current best available odds are: .
Things could change between now and the final voting, but the market does not currently reflect the results of this poll.
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