By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports Betting Analyst
Over the last 15 years, quarterbacks have dominated the Heisman Trophy award. But, three skill position players managed to steal it from the signal callers: Mark Ingram in 2009, Derrick Henry in 2015 and receiver DeVonta Smith in 2020. Three guys from the Crimson Tide. Go figure.
As usual, Alabama and Ohio State players are well represented on the board, but we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 players that can actually win the trophy in December. These studs are ranked in order of most betting value.
Let’s get to it, with odds courtesy of FOX Bet.
Henderson opened at +6500, but sharp bets have moved his odds down considerably. He had a monster year as a true freshman, with 1,248 yards, 15 TDs and an eye-popping 6.8 yards per carry. Toss in 312 yards receiving, four TDs and zero fumbles lost, and you’re looking at a budding star with big-play ability. My only slight concern, the Buckeyes have three players who could contend for the award — or cancel each other out.
Remember his early struggles in the opener last year against Minnesota? Ha. He finished with 44 TDs and 4,435 yards with a historically-great group of receivers. He returns Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, so expect more astronomical numbers. The Buckeyes should dominate the Big Ten, so you know Stroud will be in the mix until the end.
The last defensive player to win the Heisman was Charles Woodson in 1997, but if anyone’s going to end that streak, it’s Anderson. He had a staggering 17.5 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss — both led the country. Teams — smart ones, anyway — will scheme away from him, and he’ll face a ton of double teams, so those numbers should go down a bit. But his odds opened at +4200, and sharp betters saw some value.
The Alabama QB opened as the favorite and has since fallen a bit. Why? There is speculation that Alabama is so loaded that several players could steal votes from one another. It will be a massive upset if Alabama isn’t playing for the title in January and Young will be instrumental if they are there. In his first year as a starter, he finished Top 10 in QB Rating, yards and touchdowns. After carving up Georgia in the SEC title game (421 yards, 3 TDs), he struggled badly in the National Championship Game (two INTs, including a pick-six). He’ll come into this year with a chip on his shoulder.
The former Oklahoma quarterback opened at +2100 in January when he was with the Sooners, but his odds shrank after joining forces with Lincoln Riley. It didn’t hurt that he also added All-American WR Jordan Addison as a weapon. Williams struggled last year against good defenses (Baylor, Iowa State), but there aren’t many of those in the Pac-12.
Gibbs is the biggest sleeper on this list. He was at Georgia Tech the first two years of his college career and put up modest stats (1,206 yards, 8 TDs). But as always, big things are expected with the Tide. So much so that he opened +8500 and respected money has driven the number down to +6000.
The Virginia Tech transfer had a monster year in the SEC in 2021, throwing for 31 TDs against just three interceptions and rushing for another five scores. His Heisman odds opened at +6500 back in January, and professionals bet that down out of the gate. We’ll find out pretty early if Hooker’s ticket is worth anything. After facing Anthony Richardson of Florida, the Vols travel to LSU and host Alabama in a three-game stretch that will decide their season and Hooker’s Heisman chances.
He is poised to be an All-American this upcoming season. He followed up a good freshman year with 1,422 yards from scrimmage and 15 TDs, and there is no reason he can’t surpass those numbers this year. Robinson opened at +4200 but was quickly bet down — one of the biggest movers for the award. While the offensive line was below average last year, they return four starters on that front. Now freshman QB Quinn Ewers steps in, whose arm should keep defenses honest. If Robinson can get to 2,000 yards of total offense, he should get the call to New York.
If you believe in Jimbo Fisher, Johnson has a chance to put up monstrous numbers for an outstanding Aggies team. Johnson, the son of Super Bowl-winning QB Brad Johnson, will have several opportunities in front of a national audience to impress voters. There are dates with Miami and Alabama before the schedule gets to November. Long odds, but if he can put on a show in those high-profile games, this number will shrink drastically.
I might be the last guy believing in the former 5-star recruit, as evidenced by my early 2023 NFL Mock Draft and my thoughts on Clemson and the National title. It’s undeniable that Uiagalelei played poorly last year (55 percent completions, 10 INTS, 9 TDs), but he’s going to have to play well this season to keep his job. If he returns to form, don’t be surprised if he creeps up the leaderboard. One big note, he had the second-best odds to win the Heisman going into last season (+650).
Jason McIntyre is a FOX Sports betting analyst, and he also writes about the NFL and NBA Draft. He joined FS1 in 2016 and has appeared on every show on the network. In 2017, McIntyre began producing gambling content on the NFL, college football and NBA for FOX Sports. He had a gambling podcast for FOX, “Coming Up Winners,” in 2018 and 2019. Before arriving at FOX, he created the website The Big Lead, which he sold in 2010.
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