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College football betting: Has Bryce Young locked up the Heisman Trophy?

·Betting analyst
·4 min read
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Players have one last opportunity to shine before voters make their decision on who should win the Heisman Trophy this season. Alabama QB Bryce Young is the -200 favorite to become the winner ahead of this weekend's conference championship games. Is there value elsewhere, or does Young have this award locked up?

Here are the current odds leaders at BetMGM

  • Bryce Young -200

  • CJ Stroud +450

  • Kenny Pickett +1600

  • Kenneth Walker III +2000

  • Matt Corral +2500

There are nearly 1,000 Heisman voters that select the "most outstanding" player in college football. It’s been a bit of an underwhelming season for Heisman contenders. I say this knowing that we’ve been spoiled with some offensive magic over the years. Just look at some of the recent winners: Johnny Manziel, Derrick Henry, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow, and DeVonta Smith. Not to mention the great quarterbacks before that. But no player this year has provided that "magic moment."

Nonetheless, from a betting perspective, here’s how I perceive each player’s chances of winning the 2021 Heisman.

Alabama QB Bryce Young

With nearly 1,000 voters, my assumption is that a majority of the population will be "what have you done lately" types. Before conference championship games, the one moment that may be fresh in their minds is that Young was able to march downfield against Auburn with 1:35 left, down 10-3, and deliver a 28-yard pass to Ja’Corey Brooks for a touchdown, sending the Crimson Tide into overtime and an eventual win.

What I see: He struggled against a 6-6 team that didn’t have its starting quarterback and even had a banged-up, hobbled backup, and he needed quadruple overtime to win 24-22 as a 20.5-point favorite.

What would need to happen for Young to not win: a complete flop against Georgia in the SEC Championship. I’m talking about a couple of picks, below 200 passing yards, maybe zero touchdown passes. Could that happen? Absolutely. Is it likely? We’ll find out. If Young can look halfway decent, then yes, he has this locked up.

Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud

I don’t see a scenario in which Stroud can still walk away with this. One, he’s not playing this week — out of sight, out of mind. Two, if the committee is looking at just stat lines, his won’t surpass Young's — Stroud has fewer yards and fewer touchdowns. If Young does entirely choke against Georgia, then potentially that could be the way for Stroud, but even if Young has one touchdown and one interception, that could be enough.

Pitt QB Kenny Pickett

No chance. Assuming a majority of the committee isn't as deep into the college football scene, I can see voters seeing Pickett on the ballot and saying, “Who?” How many Pitt games did you watch this season? Exactly.

Two interesting options

Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson +2000

Georgia DT Jordan Davis +5000

These two are getting a lot of love lately and I don’t disagree. I just don’t think the love will translate into a Heisman. This is a stat-heavy award. This is an offensive award. Neither player fits the mold.

Hutchinson is great and what got people’s attention were the three sacks against Stroud that helped Michigan get its first win over Ohio State since 2011. However, Hutchinson doesn’t lead the nation in sacks; Alabama LB Will Anderson Jr. (+8000) does. Because Anderson is on the same team as Young is why you see Hutchinson ahead in the odds.

Davis is great. At 6-foot-6, 340-pounds, it’s clear as day that he is a big piece of Georgia's defense. His stats say otherwise, with just 24 total tackles and two sacks — nowhere near even the top 100 for defensive leaders. Charles Woodson was the last defensive player to win the Heisman in 1997 as a cornerback for Michigan. Woodson was a gem, playing offense as wide receiver, holding down his defensive duties at cornerback, and even returning punts.

Both players have largely contributed to the success of their respective teams, but you would need to be a detailed observer to understand that. If neither Ndamakong Suh (Nebraska) or Chase Young (Ohio State) could walk away with the Heisman, I don’t have high hopes for either Hutchinson or Davis.

Who wins the 2021 Heisman?

Unfortunately, it’s a process of elimination. You could argue that at -200, Young is actually of value right now based on the other contenders on the list. A win over Georgia guarantees the trophy; a decent performance in a loss nearly guarantees the trophy; and only a complete meltdown would hand the award to someone else. Based on history, that someone else could be, by default, Stroud.