We’ve reached August which means we have real, live College Football games at the end of the month. There are a lot of markets available to bet on right now. You can bet on individual games, national championship and conference futures and win totals. My favorite market is the Heisman Trophy market because it has the most wide range of outcomes for a season long future. Let’s take a look at some of the favorites and a few long shots to keep an eye on as we approach the start of the season.
Heisman Trophy Odds
CJ Stroud +200
Despite the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young returning for another year, Stroud is the favorite and it makes sense. The Ohio State offense is going to be AWESOME. Yes, they lost two wide receivers who went in the top 15 of the NFL Draft, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba might be better than both of them and Marvin Harrison Jr had a breakout game in the Rose Bowl. TreVeyon Henderson had a great year last year so there’s a ton of firepower here. Ohio State’s defense should be improved thanks to the hire of coordinator Jim Knowles who worked wonders at Oklahoma State so the Buckeyes, even with a tough schedule, are going to be favored in every game and anything less than a Playoff appearance would be a major disappointment. An Ohio State player hasn’t won the Heisman since Troy Smith in 2006 so there won’t be voter fatigue with an Ohio State quarterback.
Bryce Young +400
Why is the reigning Heisman winner not the favorite? History is just against it. Archie Griffin remains the only two-time Heisman winner and since Matt Leinart returned for the 2005 season, no returning Heisman winner has finished higher than third in the voting. Voter fatigue is a real thing. Running the ball has been a priority for Alabama after they really struggled last year so they got the best running back in the transfer portal, Jahmyr Gibbs from Georgia Tech. If Alabama runs the ball better that means Young’s production will go down anyway and with an unproven receiving corps to throw to, it might take a couple of games for the Alabama passing game to really end up in sync. Voters have shown a willingness to treat Alabama players differently than players from other schools, but the history is against Young which makes him a risky play.
Caleb Williams +600
Caleb Williams burst on the scene last year replacing Spencer Rattler and leading Oklahoma to a come-from-behind win against Texas. He had an electrifying month or so that thrust him into the Heisman conversation, before a late season benching squashed that momentum. Nevertheless, his talent is eye-opening and he followed Lincoln Riley to USC where there’s a ton of hype surrounding the Trojans this year. That said, USC is a work in progress and due to some issues on the offensive line and one of the worst defenses in all of Power 5 last year so it would be a bit surprising if Riley and Williams can get USC back into national contention immediately. This is a juggernaut waiting to happen, but it probably starts in 2023.
Long Shots Worth A Look
Will Anderson +3000
I bet this at +4000 and it’s come down a bit as we’ve gotten closer to the season. I hate being on the public side so much here, but I’ve been on this bandwagon since the day futures got posted. This is the only possible situation where voters will ever consider a defensive player for the Heisman. Believe it or not, Anderson got the second most first place Heisman votes last year of any player back for the 2022 season. Anderson is the best player in the country on the best team in the country and the quarterback for his team is the reigning Heisman winner and voters typically don’t want to vote for the same guy two years in a row. Anderson should put up the counting stats he needs to get the attention. A high profile game in week two against a Texas team with a bad and/or inexperienced offensive line should jump start his candidacy and there are a lot of people beating the drum for him to win the Heisman. He’ll need to convince the more traditional voters who don’t like to think outside the box, but the only non-quarterbacks to win the Heisman since Reggie Bush all went to Alabama. Crimson Tide players are somehow different in the eyes of the voters.
Cameron Rising +8000
This is the highest number I’d bet him at, but for a long shot I can make the case for him. The Utah offense was much better once he was given the reins, finishing 14th in offensive SP+. In a rare instance, the Utah offense projects better than the defense heading into the season which means if Utah is to meet it’s lofty goals, Rising is going to have a big part to play. Alabama and Ohio State feel like near locks for the Playoff and Georgia isn’t too far behind and the list of possible candidates for the fourth spot is small and Utah fits the bill. If they win at Florida to start the season that will vault Rising into the Heisman discussion. They get USC at home where it’s almost impossible for road teams to win and even though they have to go to Oregon, the Utes smashed the Ducks twice last year. If Utah can go 12-1, Rising should be on the Heisman shortlist and it feels like there’s a better than 1.23 percent chance that will happen.