CFB: Breaking Down the 2023 Heisman Trophy race in the home stretch

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
27/11/2023/
NCAAF

Highlights

  • The Heisman Trophy given annually to college football’s best player will be awarded Saturday, Dec. 9 in New York City.
  • Quarterbacks have won the Heisman six of the last seven seasons and 11 of the last 13.
  • Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running back Blake Corum remain on the board at sportsbooks, but are now longshots.

Let the Heisman debate begin.

The 2023 Heisman Trophy will be given Saturday, Dec. 9 on ESPN naming the best college football player of the season.

Online sportsbooks have had great odds on the award since the beginning of the season – USC quarterback Caleb Williams was the pre-season favorite after winning it in 2022. Now BetMGM and Caesars have their latest odds with one more week of the regular season to go.

We look at the five most likely candidates and their odds, plus the odds for the Michigan duo of J.J. McCarthy and Blake Corum.

Oregon QB Bo Nix (-150 at BetMGM/-160 at Caesars) 

The Ducks are No. 5 in the nation, with one loss to Washington on a late missed field goal. Nix and Oregon get a chance at revenge on the Huskies this Friday in the Pac-12 title game.

Nix leads the nation in passing yards (3906) and completion percentage (78.6). He is second in TD passes. He’s the favorite – for now.

LSU QB Jayden Daniels (+120 at BetMGM/+125 at Caesars) 

Daniels’ season is complete. LSU went 9-3 and will play in a bowl game. Daniels currently leads the nation in TD passes at 40 and is third in passing yards (3812). Where Daniels has the other contenders beat is his ability to run. Daniels has run for 1,134 yards and is fourth in the nation in yards per rush at 8.4.

But, he didn’t play all that well in a loss to Alabama and a season-opening loss to Florida State.

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. (+1600 at BetMGM/+1800 at Caesars) 

The Huskies are No. 3 in the nation, and Penix Jr. is just seven yards behind Nix for the most passing yards in the nation. He’s thrown 32 touchdowns.

If he beats Oregon and Nix a second time, well then how can anyone vote for Nix? However, Penix Jr. is also not a running threat at all.

Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (+15000 at BetMGM) 

Harrison Jr. would have elevated his stock with a big win over Michigan, but the Wolverines prevailed and now the Buckeyes are 11-1 and need help to make the CFP.

Harrison had eight games of over 100 receiving yards and is ninth in the country in yards at 1,211, all this despite defenses focusing their attention on him.

Georgia QB Carson Beck (+15000 at BetMGM/+10000 at Caesars) 

Beck may be in the best place of any longshot to rise up. The first-year starter for the No. 1 Bulldogs has a chance to show off his stuff Saturday in the SEC championship game against Alabama. If Beck is amazing and the Washington/Oregon game is a dud, Beck could start gathering steam. He’s thrown for 3495 yards and 22 scores.

Michigan QB JJ McCarthy and RB Blake Corum (+25000 at BetMGM) 

McCarthy and Corum are still in the mix with a chance to show off in the Big 10 title game against Iowa, but neither had vintage “Heisman” moments in the win over Ohio State. Corum is closing in on 1,000 yards, and he may have a shot to be invited to the ceremony with a good game against Iowa, but neither will win.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.