Heisman Trophy Odds: Week 11 Betting Strategy For Michael Penix, Bo Nix, & The Real Longshot
With just three weeks left in the 2023 college football regular season, the Heisman Trophy odds race is coming to a head. Alabama took down LSU in Week 10, likely wrapping up Jayden Daniels’ Heisman campaign and injuring the QB in the process. When the dust settled on the weekend, two frontrunners remain – Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. () and Oregon’s Bo Nix (). Florida State’s Jordan Travis and Michigan’s JJ McCarthy are on the outside looking in, while Ohio State star Marvin Harrison Jr. and Georgia’s Carson Beck are alive but unlikely winners.
It’s a sprint to conference championship weekend, with plenty of resume-defining matchups on hand. How might bettors be able to attack Heisman odds this coming week?
2023 Heisman Trophy Odds
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Penix Vs. Nix: A Pac-12 Championship Preview?
Neither Washington nor Oregon punched their ticket to Las Vegas just yet. A win this weekend against Utah does lock in a spot for the Huskies, while a win over USC almost certainly locks in Oregon (KFord Ratings suggest a 90% probability with a win). Because UW and UO are favorites throughout the remainder of the season, I view them as likely adversaries in the Pac-12 Championship game, with some noise.
That said, I also view the Penix vs. Nix Heisman race as a lookahead moneyline bet on the Pac-12 Championship. After all, voting occurs before the College Football Playoff. With these two being the clear frontrunners, a head-to-head matchup for all the marbles would be the perfect decider for the Heisman winner. If you are looking to bet on Nix, now would be your opportunity; a big showing this weekend against USC likely pushes the Duck to the favorite (perhaps even odds-on). If you are looking to bet Penix, it’s likely wise to wait for an Oregon victory and take advantage of the Nix bump.
Will Voters Punish JJ McCarthy For Michigan Scandal?
Like with Nix, now is the time to get in on McCarthy, should that be the route you want to go. A big showing against top-10 Penn State on the road this weekend likely slashes his odds into a three-way split for the top of the board. (Or, at the very least, a two-way second split with Penix.) McCarthy then gets another chance at a resume bump with his Week 13 game against Ohio State in what’s looking like a top-three matchup in Ann Arbor.
As we mentioned last week, though, a bet on McCarthy is a real risk. With the ongoing NCAA investigation into the Michigan sign-stealing scandal, there’s no way to know how voters will or won’t hold that against him. FanDuel Sportsbook posts a number far off the rest of the market (+1600 vs. +800 elsewhere). Considering FD is first to the market with futures odds in college football, their number could be telling about where they believe voters lie.
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Marvin Harrison Jr. Still Getting Voters’ Interest
As we highlighted last week, Harrison Jr. presents the most interesting case outside the top-three choices. He dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in The Athletic’s Heisman straw poll this week behind Penix.
Though he was held to just four catches against Rutgers, two of those turned into scores. It’s clear the national narrative for MHJ is there. A big-time performance, a win over Michigan, and a trip to the Big Ten Championship would probably send Harrison to New York as a finalist. However, he likely needs the QBs ahead of him to lose.
Toss The Rest Out?
Despite having the third-shortest odds on average, the path for Travis is convoluted. The Seminole QB almost certainly needs Washington, Oregon, and Michigan to lose, and his remaining schedule lacks the true Heisman-defining game. FSU plays free-falling Miami, FCS North Alabama, and .500 Florida, plus the ACC Championship Game. Even if the ‘Noles win out and capture the ACC title, their likely opponent (Louisville, Georgia Tech, North Carolina) lacks the enthusiasm of who McCarthy, Penix, or Nix would face in their own conference title game. I’m removing Jordan Travis from the running at this juncture.
Beck only stands this high on the odds board because he is the QB of the current best SEC team. He does have a small case, in that Georgia still has big-time opponents in Ole Miss, Tennessee, and likely in the SEC Championship Game ahead. Beck would need a truly transcendent stretch through the end of the season.
Any remaining outside players like Daniels, Oklahoma State back Ollie Gordon, and Jalen Milroe are just buttons to donate to your local sportsbook. I’d heavily advise against bets on any of them.
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