Tracking 2021 Heisman Trophy Odds Near the End of the Regular Season

The 2021 college football regular season closed out last weekend and gave us a little clarity on the Heisman Trophy race. There are still conference championship games with many of the top contenders still to be played. That makes it a perfect time to look at the Heisman Trophy odds for your futures bets.

With upsets rattling the top of the college football rankings, it’s not that surprising that the Heisman Trophy race was shaken up this weekend. It could have been really up in the air if Auburn had managed to hang on to their late lead over Alabama. But the Crimson Tide survived and have the Heisman favorite in Bryce Young, meaning that it could be two years in a row that an Alabama player wins.

Keep in mind that this week’s conference championship games will be taken into consideration by Heisman voters. That’s why it’s an ideal time to assess the Heisman race. You’ll have a much better idea of your Heisman wagers at online college football betting websites where you might still be able to find some value.

The Top 2021 Heisman Trophy Contenders

QB Bryce Young, Alabama (-210)

Were it not for a missed face mask call on Auburn’s last possession against Alabama on Saturday, the Tide would have lost 10-3 and Young’s Heisman hopes would have been severely damaged. But to his credit, he rallied them on a 97-yard drive in the final minute, including a clutch game-tying touchdown pass.

Young then three another TD in overtime as well as the game-winning two-point conversion. The numbers were mixed, as the 317 yards were boosted by overtime play and he completed less than 50 percent of his passes. But a lot of voters will remember that throw, which gives Young another game to impress them.

But that’s where things get tricky, as Young has to prove he and Bama can negotiate the Georgia defense, one of the best units that college football has seen in decades. If Young conquers them, it’s a no-brainer that he wins and those short odds are going to look lucrative compared to where they go next week. But if Georgia squashes them, one of the long shots could step up.

Next: Saturday vs. Georgia in the SEC Championship Game

QB C.J. Stroud, Oklahoma State (+550)

You can’t hang too much of what happened on Saturday on Stroud, other than perhaps the Buckeyes first-half red zone struggles. The Buckeyes defense was simply manhandled by the Wolverines running game, putting Stroud in hopeless catchup mode. It was much the same as when they lost to Oregon early in the season.

Stroud piled up 394 yards through the air to end what was a fantastic statistical season. In his first year as a starter, Stroud threw for 3,862 yards in 11 games with 38 touchdowns against just five interceptions. But because of the loss on Saturday, his season, as far as the Heisman voters are concerned, is complete.

What he needs is for Georgia to completely dominate Alabama so that Bryce Young’s Heisman candidacy doesn’t look so good. There is also an argument to be made that Young navigated a much tougher schedule than his counterpart at Alabama. If you believe in a Georgia romp, Stroud’s case at better than 4 to 1 looks pretty good.

Next: Regular Season Done

DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan (+550)

If nothing else, Hutchinson suddenly appearing on this list is proof that one big game in front of a lot of eyes can vault you into the Heisman race even at a late date. Granted, Hutchinson has been brilliant all season long for the Wolverines, but his performance against the high-powered attack of Ohio State in such a crucial game on Saturday truly stands out.

Hutchinson sacked C.J. Stroud three times, and each time it seemed to come in a crucial situation. In addition, he did that while often matched up with Ohio State All-American left tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere. He and fellow Michigan end David Ojabo both have double-digit sacks this year, with Hutchinson now third in the nation with 13.

The other good news for Hutchinson is that he’ll get one more chance to do his stuff when the Wolverines take on Iowa in the Big Ten title game.

Would another three-sack performance by Hutchinson put him closer in the mix?

Most likely, but it still might be enough to pass the quarterbacks and make him the first ever defensive Heisman winner.

Next: Saturday vs. Iowa in Big Ten Championship Game

QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh (+1800)

Pickett and the Panthers closed out a magical season by taking care of business in a 31-14 victory over Syracuse. With the Orange leading it 7-0, Pickett caught fire with four straight touchdown passes to squelch any sort of upset bid. He threw for a relatively modest 209 yards to go with the four scores and one interception.

The last of his touchdown passes gave Pickett a nice round number of 40 on the season against just 7 interceptions. Pickett added four more touchdowns on the ground. Even more important than the stats, Pickett, in his fifth year as the Panthers quarterback, was the architect for a 10-2 season that came completely out of nowhere.

Because of that season, he’ll get one more chance to show the Heisman voters what he has in the ACC Championship Game. It’s fitting that he’ll be going against Sam Hartman and Wake Forest, as their performance this year was just as surprising as Pickett’s and Pitt’s. The Wake pass defense isn’t great, so Pickett will have every opportunity to make his long shot Heisman bid look even better.

Next: Saturday vs. Wake Forest in ACC Championship Game

RB Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State (+2000)

Walker closed out his season with a gritty effort in the snow against a tough Penn State defense. He grinded his way to 138 yards on 30 carries while adding his 18th rushing touchdown of the season. The transfer from Wake Forest ended the season with 1,646 rushing yards, doing so with a robust 6.2 yards per carry.

It might have helped his Heisman candidacy if he had been able to lead the nation in rushing, but Walker was passed over the past few weeks by Central Michigan freshman Lew Nichols. Walker’s chances were damaged last week by the Spartans blowout loss. But Walker’s 197 yards and 5 touchdowns against Michigan earlier this year look awful good considering what the Wolverines defense did to Ohio State.

The good news for Walker is that he now stands pretty clear above the pack in terms of running backs. Perhaps there is a scenario were votes for Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Kenny Pickett cancel each other out. But Walker has no more games left to play before the votes are made, which means he’ll probably have to settle for the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back.

Next: Regular Season Done

QB Matt Corral, Mississippi (+2500)

Corral’s junior season was pretty much a statistical push to his breakout sophomore season. His passing touchdown numbers were down, in large part because he cashed in much more as a runner (11 touchdowns this year to 4 a year ago.) He also cut his interceptions way down from 14 to 4 for the Rebels.

On top of that, Ole Miss enjoyed a really excellent season as a team, winning 10 of their 12 games, including a nice win in the Egg Bowl over Mississippi State on Thanksgiving. Corral led the way, as expected, with a 76 percent completion rate for 234 yards and a score, while adding 45 yards and a score on the ground.

But Corral’s chances for Heisman have never quite been able to recover from the Rebels convincing loss to Alabama. Bryce Young surged ahead of him at that point and has never really looked back. It’s Corral’s bad luck that he not only won’t win the Heisman, but he probably won’t even be All-SEC when all is said and done.

Next: Regular Season Done

DT Jordan Davis, Georgia (+3300)

Davis and the Bulldogs closed out the season pretty much the way they handled it all year long, shutting out a Georgia Tech team that never had a chance. The senior defensive tackle has been singled out by Heisman oddsmakers as the guy who should get the love from voters. This is in large part because of his role as the ultimate run-stuffer.

If voters are looking honestly at it, Georgia benefitted from playing against an SEC schedule that was relatively weak compared to most years. They avoided Alabama and Mississippi, the two best offenses in the league. And the nonconference win over Clemson looked a lot less impressive once the Tigers struggled to score for pretty much the whole first half of the season.

Even disregarding all that, Davis’ stats, as we’ve pointed out week after week in this column, are just nonexistent compared to other defensive stars like Aidan Hutchinson or Henry Anderson. Those stats also pale in comparison to defensive teammates like Nakobe Dean. Davis will get his shot at Alabama this weekend, but as they’re a pass-heavy team, he might not be on the field much at all to make a last-ditch bid.

Next: Saturday vs. Alabama in SEC Championship Game

QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati (+5000)

Ridder’s final game of the regular season was a mixed bag when it comes to his Heisman hopes. He did throw for 301, his second 300-yard game in his last three after he hadn’t had any in his first nine contests. While he threw for two touchdowns, he also threw for two picks, although the Bearcats did beat a solid East Carolina team easily.

The big thing that Ridder has going for him is that he’s the only quarterback on the list that we’ve seen so far whose team has not lost a game. Cincinnati came in with mammoth expectations coming into the season. To their credit, they’ve met every one of them, and a lot of that should be credited to their stalwart veteran quarterback.

If Ridder is to have any chance at all of making a huge leap in the odds, he’s going to have to have a monster performance in the AAC Championship Game. The Bearcats face a Houston team that lost its first game of the season and has since won 11 in a row. It should be a doozy, and Ridder will be center stage trying to prove he belongs with the Heisman elite.

Next: Saturday vs. Houston in the AAC Championship Game

Live Long Shots

RB Hassan Haskins, Michigan (Off the Board)

We saw what Aidan Hutchinson’s huge game against Ohio State did for his Heisman chances, vaulting him onto the odds board after not being there all year long. Why isn’t Haskins getting the same treatment? After all, he was the one spearheading a Michigan running game that rolled all over OSU and kept their vaunted offense playing from behind.

And it’s not like Haskins is a one-game wonder. He’s is in the Top 20 in rushing in the country with 1,232 yards on the ground, while his 18 rushing scores is tied for fifth in the nation. And he has done all this while sharing the load with Blake Corum, who was also in the Heisman chase earlier this season before injuries slowed him.

Against Ohio State, Haskins was almost untackleable, as he pounded away for a career-high 169 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Haskins, like everybody else on this long shot list, gets the chance to play again this weekend. Another monster game like what he managed against Ohio State could make a serious dent.

Next: Saturday vs. Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game

QB Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State (Off the Board)

Sanders made the Live Long Shots last week, and he’s here once again after his Oklahoma State squad defeated Oklahoma to win the Bedlam game and knock the Sooners out of the chase for the Big 12 title. And it was Sanders’ performance that, while a bit flawed, made a huge difference in the end as the Cowboys continue their outstanding season.

Sanders did throw two interceptions in the game against one passing touchdown while amassing 214 yards through the air. But he also managed to lead the team in rushing with 93 yards on 16 carries and a rushing score. That’s been a running theme for Sanders, one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation this season.

On top of that, the Cowboys are clinging to hopes of perhaps slipping into the College Football Playoffs, which would be a boost to Sanders’ chances. He has had a brilliant season regardless of what happens Saturday. But a win over Baylor would mean that he piloted back-to-back wins over Top 10 teams to close out the year, which is pretty Heisman-like.

Next: Saturday vs. Baylor in Big 12 Championship Game

QB Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky (Off the Board)

If Zappe had simply put up the stats he had in 2021, he would be deserving of some looks from the Heisman voters. The Houston Baptist transfer managed to lead the nation in passing yardage in his first year in the FBS, hurling for 4,968 yards. His nation-leading 52 passing touchdowns were a dozen more than the nearest competitor.

But Zappe also raised a Western Kentucky team that wasn’t on anybody’s radar to a point where they’ll be competing for the Conference USA championship. In last weekend’s must-win game against Marshall, Zappe was stellar once again, throwing for 328 yards and four touchdowns in a romping victory over the Thundering Herd.

Zappe will get a crack at Texas-San Antonio in the title game on Friday, a team that just suffered their first loss of the season last weekend. It would have helped his chances if he could have helped the Hilltoppers knock the Roadrunners out of the unbeaten ranks. But Zappe deserves some Heisman love for his efforts, maybe even a New York appearance, if he leads WKU to the title.

Next: Friday vs. Texas San-Antonio in Conference USA Championship Game

WR Deven Thompkins, Utah State (Off the Board)

It says something about the season that Thompkins has enjoyed that he managed a modest 102 yards in the last two games of Utah State’s regular season and still led the nation in receiving. His final totals were monstrous, as he caught 87 passes for 1,543 yards and 9 touchdowns, averaging a hefty 17.7 yards per catch.

Thompkins went over 100 yards receiving in eight of the dozen games that the Aggies played this season. And he has also been the catalyst for a resurgent season for Utah State. Their win over New Mexico clinched them a spot in Saturday’s Mountain West Championship Game against San Diego State, who has been the conference bully all year long.

The Aztecs defense has been their calling card all year long, which means that Thompkins will be up against a stern challenge. Remember that a wide receiver won the Heisman Trophy a year ago, so there is precedent here. Thompkins probably won’t make it two in a row, but you should keep him on your watch list nonetheless in case he does something special Saturday.

Next: Saturday vs. San Diego State in Mountain West Championship Game

Conclusion

After this weekend, the votes for the 2021 Heisman Trophy will be tabulated, so it’s the last chance for these players to make a mark. While it’s Bryce Young’s award to lose, he can certainly still lose it. Make sure to look for the best values at the top real money sports gambling sites.

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Jim Beviglia

Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for GamblingSites.org and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog. For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a harness racing establishment near his home. He spends as much time as possible with his wife Marie and daughter Daniele, both of whom are used to hearing his long-winded monologues about either the struggles of his Fantasy baseball team or which Beatles song is definitively the best.

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