A constant storyline every college football season is the race for a coveted bronze statue of an old-school football player dealing a stiff-arm to the air…the Heisman Trophy.
According to the 2021 Heisman Trophy odds at MaximBet, that race is wide open this year. Unlike previous seasons, where we saw stars like Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence positioned as overwhelming favorites, the odds are tight at the top heading into this year.
A crazy stat: Four of the five preseason Heisman favorites at MaximBet are players who didn’t start the majority of their games last season.
Who is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy in 2021?
Lincoln Riley has inherited the title of smoothest coach in the Big 12 from Kliff Kingsbury. Riley’s offenses have been elite during his four years as head coach at Oklahoma, and those gaudy production totals have led to Spencer Rattler being the player to beat in this season’s Heisman race.
Rattler had a rough debut last year, tossing three interceptions in a stunning loss to Kansas State in the season opener. However, Rattler shook off the freshman jitters and was electric going forward, throwing just four picks the rest of the season. The year culminated in a sublime Rattler performance during a 55-20 drubbing of Florida in the Cotton Bowl.
The No. 2-ranked Sooners enter the 2021 campaign on an eight-game winning streak, and they have the third-best odds to win the championship (6-1) according to MaximBet.
Oklahoma has averaged at least 42.1 PPG and 495 YPG in each of the six years that Riley has been on the coaching staff. This offense has been the most prolific in college football during that stretch, putting Rattler in great position to be the third Oklahoma quarterback in the last five seasons to win the Heisman Trophy.
Who are the other contenders in the Heisman Trophy betting odds?
J.T. Daniels is seen as one of the other favorites this season, currently carrying 7-1 odds at MaximBet.
Georgia’s offense looked much better last year when the USC transfer was under center, but Daniels wasn’t ever spectacular outside of his first start for the Bulldogs. There are still too many questions to like Daniels at this price, especially with standout receiver George Pickens lost for the season.
One of the biggest myths surrounding Heisman Trophy betting involves the belief that an Alabama quarterback should always be among the favorites.
While the Crimson Tide have been the best program in the sport for more than a decade, we’ve seen all of their quarterbacks come up short when it comes to the highest individual honor in college football.
The three Heisman Trophy winners Alabama has produced under Nick Saban have been Mark Ingram Jr., Derrick Henry and DeVonta Smith, so it’s tough to feel confident in first-year starter Bryce Young at 10-1.
Will a non-quarterback win the Heisman Trophy?
Outside of the three aforementioned Bama players, the last non-quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy was Reggie Bush in 2005 -- no matter what the NCAA has to say about it. It’s difficult for players who aren’t taking snaps to get the exposure and generate the offensive production needed to win this award.
Running backs Brian Robinson Jr. (Alabama) and Breece Hall (Iowa State) each have a good chance to win the Heisman Trophy, though. The top tailback for the Crimson Tide will be a focal point of the offense if he stays healthy, and Hall has the potential to put up massive numbers against a sieve of Big 12 defenses this year.
Hall has 28-1 odds at MaximBet while Robinson Jr. is a deeper darkhorse at 40-1.
Who is the best longshot to win the Heisman Trophy?
Robinson and Hall are both solid bets, but the only player to like with longer odds than those two backs is Oregon signal caller Anthony Brown (50-1 odds).
Brown didn’t play much last year after transferring from Boston College. However, he has a lot of experience, and he now has had time to learn the Ducks’ read-option offense.
Brown played well against Iowa State in the Fiesta Bowl last year, and he will be a legit longshot ticket if the Ducks go on to win the Pac-12, which they are favored to do.
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