Week 7 College Football Heisman Odds Tracker

By in College Football on
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The race for the 2021 Heisman Trophy took an unexpected turn when the heavy favorite suffered a bit of a setback this week. That makes it a good time to assess the odds of the elite candidates and also talk about which of those candidates would make for good wagers.

For a good chunk of the college football season, it looked like Bryce Young, the quarterback for Alabama, would be the sure-thing winner of the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award in all of college football. But a funny thing happened to Young and unbeaten Alabama on Saturday night in Texas:

While Young is still very much in the mix, the favorite indeed on the odds board, that little bump in the road opens it up for the others who have been chasing him in the race. Let’s take a look at the scenario so that you’ll have a good idea about what futures wagers to make at top gambling websites.

The Top 11

Bryce Young, Alabama (+175)

On the one hand, Young’s stats on Saturday looked really good on the surface, as he threw for 369 yards and three scored. And he deserves credit for his efforts in bringing the Tide back from their halftime deficit to even take the lead, only to have Texas A&M take it back in the closing moments.

Yet a closer look at the statistics show that Young completed less than 60 percent of his passes for the first time all season. And he was definitely thrown by the pressure brought by Texas A&M, often freezing indecisively when a quick scramble to open spaces was probably open to him.

Young is more reliant on his team to do well than some of the other stat-getters in the group of top candidates on this list. The other way to look at this though is that the loss gives Young a little bit more value for those who still want to bet him, so now might be the right time to strike.

Next: Saturday at Mississippi State

Matt Corral, Mississippi (+180)

Corral thrived on Saturday afternoon in a wild shootout with Arkansas. There is no doubt that Mississippi’s fast-paced style of play feeds right into their quarterback’s Heisman hopes. This is especially true when the final score turns out to be 52-51 as it did on Saturday.

Still, Corral needed to take advantage, and he certainly did. He hurled for 287 yards and two touchdowns and added a season high on the ground with 94 yards with two more scores. The only drawback might have been that he was outperformed statistically by K.J. Jefferson of Arkansas.

But the key for Corral was that his Rebels came out on top, meaning that he is still piloting a team very much in the running for a Top 10 ranking when all is said and done. That would meant hat he’s not simply getting empty stats in games that don’t mean much at all.

Next: Saturday at Tennessee

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (+500)

Stround is racking up seriously crazy numbers of late for an Ohio State offense that really hasn’t been slowed much since the second half of the opening game. On Saturday, the Buckeye signal-caller lit up Maryland to the tune of 406 yards through the air and five touchdown passes.

That makes two straight games with more than five TDs through the air. He has the benefit of one of the finest receiving groups in the nation, led by All-American Chris Olave. The overall numbers on 2021, with nearly 340 yards per game and 18 touchdown passes against 3 interceptions, are staggering.

For Stroud to really move up into the very top tier of Heisman Trophy candidates, he’ll have to play well when the schedule gets tougher. Ohio State lost its only game to a top 25 opponent this season (although Stroud played well in that loss.) He can’t afford to lose any momentum from here on out.

Next: October 23 vs. Indiana

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati (+1200)

Ridder was still riding high off the road win over Notre Dame when he and the Bearcats took on AAC conference foe Temple on Friday night. The good news is that there was no let down for either team or player. The Bearcat quarterback threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns in a blowout victory.

It would help Ridder if he could start pouring on the stats just a little bit more. Just looking at his numbers, which include only about 260 yards passing per game, don’t really set you on fire. Even his running stats this year aren’t near what they were in past seasons for Cincy.

Playing in the AAC the rest of the way won’t give Ridder too many spotlight opportunities, which is why revving up the stats is key. Other than that, he’ll probably need the other candidates to falter, but there is a lot of traffic for him to overcome on the road to a possible Heisman Trophy.

Next: Saturday vs. Central Florida

Bijan Robinson, Texas (+1200)

Robinson is still ranked as the top running back contender for the Heisman, even though he was largely overshadowed by his teammates Casey Thompson and Xavier Worthy. And they were all in turn overshadowed by Oklahoma’s Caleb Williams and his incredible performance off the bench.

Still, it wasn’t like Robinson was unheard from in the game. He chalked up his fifth 100-yard performance in the game, rumbling for 137 yards and a score. And he did have a highlight-reel play, breaking numerous tackles and crossing the field on a long run that came up just short of a score.

It’s interesting to see him continuously at the same odds to win the Heisman as Kenneth Walker III, who has similar stats for an unbeaten team. But Robinson did come into the year as one of the favorites, and he has definitely lived up to the hype. Still, it feels like he’s fighting an uphill battle to win it.

Next: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State (+1200)

Walker’s candidacy heated up again with another monster rushing performance this past Saturday. Against Rutgers, he rumbled for 233 yards and a touchdown on the ground. It was second 200-yard effort of the season in Big Ten play and his fourth triple-digits rushing total of the season.

Part of the problem for Walker in terms of moving up a little higher has been the fact that many of Michigan State’s big wins now don’t look quite as big. Teams like Northwestern, Miami (Fla) and Nebraska all loomed much large on the schedule at the time, but those teams have all struggled.

In Other Words:

Walker is still lacking the signature monster game against tough competition that some of the other names on this list can boast. The good news is, with the Big Ten really heating up for the Spartans, those opportunities are coming, if Walker is indeed able to take advantage of them.

Next: Saturday at Indiana

TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State (+2500)

Henderson didn’t get the chance to flash the same kind of stats as his quarterback did on Saturday afternoon. But the super-talented freshman didn’t exactly disappear from the picture either. He once again flashed the multifaceted skills that have made him such a sensation to start his college career.

We know that he can run the ball, as evidenced by the second 100-yard game of his rookie campaign. But Henderson also proved his skills as a receiver, catching four passes for 67 yards and a touchdown (to go along with a running score as well.) To be able to do it all at this tender stage in his career is something.

We’re also seeing Henderson distance himself touch-wise from the rest of the Ohio State backfield, which, it must be said, contains a lot of talent. That means he should have plenty of chances to post big numbers. And, if he can do that, it will be coming with some high-profile games on OSU’s remaining slate.

Next: October 23 vs. Indiana

Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama (+4000)

Robinson is somebody we’ve been mentioning in the Heisman odds tracker column even when the oddsmakers didn’t give him much attention. It’s ironic that he’s now getting some love now following the Tide’s first loss of the season, but it’s still a little bit better late than never.

What we’ve seen from Robinson back is a power back who does the dirty work in between the tackles and only seems to get stronger and the game continues. He followed up his huge effort in the win over Mississippi with more gritty, gutty stuff against Texas A&M: 187 total yards on 24 carries and four catches.

Robinson is also a great story as one of the fifth-year seniors that have in the mix this year in college football. He is taking care of an opportunity that he wouldn’t have had in any other season. But it still will take a lot for him to overtake his teammate Bryce Young in the minds of Heisman voters.

Next: Saturday at Mississippi State

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh (+4000)

Pickett took the week off last week, and he probably enjoyed the opportunity to rest his arm. For a guy who most once wrote off as a game manager type, he has certainly taken to the Panthers new devotion to the pass with glee. He’s putting up numbers that Pitt legend Dan Marino would envy.

Through five games so far this season, Pickett is averaging 346 passing yards per game. Even more impressive is the touchdown-to-interception ratio of 19 to 1. That means he has thrown the ball 168 times so far this season and only one has ended up in the hands of his opponents.

Like Brian Robinson Jr., Pickett is in his fifth year of play. It wouldn’t be surprising if there will be some sentiment from Heisman voters that helps out players like that who have stuck it out as long as they have. But for a real chance, Pickett needs Pitt to keep winning (they’re 4-1) while he piles on the yards.

Next: Saturday at Virginia Tech

Blake Corum, Michigan (+5000)

The Wolverines are having a resurgent season, and with the popularity of their program, it makes sense that they would have somebody sneaking into the Heisman race. Corum, the shifty running back, is the guy who’s been singled out. Michigan likes to run the ball, and Corum is a key to that without a doubt.

But he’s not the only one in that backfield putting up numbers, which could work against his Heisman chances. Corum has largely shared the backfield with Hassan Haskins, who actually has four more carries this year. It’s just that Corum has been a tad more efficient, averaging just over 11 yards per game.

Corum had a typically strong game in Saturday night’s hard-fought victory over Nebraska. He ran for 89 yards and a touchdown, but was also a weapon out of the backfield with five catches. After barely playing as a freshman, Corum has been a revelation this year, one who could have long-shot Heisman vibes.

Next: October 23 vs. Northwestern

Casey Thompson, Texas (+5000)

Thompson is the only guy on this list who didn’t begin the season as his team’s starting quarterback. When Texas Coach Steve Sarkisian inserted Thompson in place of Hudson Card, the Longhorn offense was seemingly unlocked and they’ve been lighting it up ever since that decision.

Texas’ defense couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain on Saturday, coughing up the heartbreaking loss late in the game to Oklahoma. But you couldn’t blame Thompson, who went wild with 388 yards passing and five touchdowns. It was second game in the last three where he threw for five scores.

It still seems premature to include Thompson so prominently in the Heisman odds. He has had two starts with under 200 yards passing, plays for a team with two losses, and has the second-best Heisman chances on his team behind Bijan Robinson. He isn’t going to be able to climb high enough to win this year.

Next: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

Falling Out of the Race

Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma and Sean Clifford, Penn State

There hasn’t been much word on Clifford’s injury that knocked him out of the game on Saturday. He was struggling when he did go out of the game with two picks, but the Lions were ahead when he left. It’s doubtful that he can pick his candidacy back up again even if he can get back from injury.

As for Rattler, he was benched for Caleb Williams by Oklahoma Coach Lincoln Riley about halfway through the Texas game on Saturday, and Williams played brilliantly. It seems likely that Williams will be the starter going forward. It’s too bad it happened to Rattler, but regardless, he has no chance at the Heisman now.

Live Long Shots

Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma (Off the Board)

Earlier this year, C.J. Verdell used a huge game against Ohio State to vault into the Heisman Trophy chase. Is it that outlandish to suggest that Brooks might have done the same with his game against Texas? As brilliant as Caleb Williams was at quarterback, the Sooners don’t win that game without Brooks.

He Gashed the Longhorns Defense for 217 Yards and Three Touchdowns

And Brooks’ mad dash for the game-winning touchdown is one of he lasting images of the college football to this point. On top of that, with Williams under center, he has a good chance of seeing more daylight on his runs than with Rattler.

Granted, Brooks has some catching up to do, since that monster game didn’t even put him above 100 rushing yards per game on the season. It was his first triple-digit game of the year. But if Oklahoma stays unbeaten and keeps moving up the rankings, Brooks has the best chance of getting Heisman attention.

Next: Saturday vs. Texas Christian

Christopher Rodriguez Jr., Kentucky (Off the Board)

We talked up Rodriguez in this column last week, he had another monster game in a Kentucky win, and he still didn’t make the odds board at BetOnline. It’s understandable that people keep waiting for the Wildcats to falter, but it hasn’t happened yet, and Rodriguez is a major reason why.

On Saturday night, he rambled all over the LSU defense. Rodriguez ended with 147 yards on 16 carries, at over nine yards a pop, with one touchdown. He also caught his only pass for a three-yard touchdown, as the Wildcats conquered another SEC team that long been using them as a doormat.

At some point, Rodriguez, who has run for 767 yards through six games on 6.4 yards a carry, will get some respect. As a guy who has been with the Kentucky program through some pretty lean years, it would be fitting for him to get some sort of Heisman recognition for their surprising season.

Next: Saturday at Georgia

Sam Hartman, Wake Forest (Off the Board)

There are many candidates on this list from schools who weren’t expected to perform as well as they have to this point. Many come from teams who will have a hard time sustaining that success. But Hartman might just be a guy who can go a little bit further than the others in that category.

Hartman has been dealing for the Demon Deacons to this point in their surprising 6-0 season, throwing for 1,615 yards through six games on 63 percent passing. In addition, he has tossed 14 touchdowns against three interceptions. He enjoyed his best game of the season Saturday in a wild win over Syracuse.

The key for Hartman’s Heisman hopes is the fact that the ACC is way down this year, compared to the other Power Five conferences. It’s really not out of the question that an upstart can make it through unscathed. If that upstart happens to be Wake, Hartman will vault up the odds board in a hurry.

Next: October 23 vs. Army

Tanner Mordecai, Southern Methodist (Off the Board)

Quietly, the Mustangs have risen from out of nowhere for a 6-0 beginning to the season. We say quietly, because not many casual fans of college football have probably watched them play too often. But if you have seen them play, there is nothing quiet about the numbers that Mordecai is forging at quarterback.

Mordecai has thrown an incredible 26 touchdown passes so far in the 2021 season, which is five more than anybody else in the FBS. He is also sixth in the nation in passing yards with 1,893 yards through the air. And again, he is doing all of this for an unbeaten team, which means the stats hold more weight.

The toughest games on their AAC schedule are still to come, including the showdown in the penultimate week of the season with Cincinnati. If they can somehow stay clean and knock off the Bearcats, Mordecai would likely leapfrog Desmond Ridder as the top Group of Five Heisman candidate.

Next: October 21 vs. Tulane

Brennan Armstrong, Virginia (Off the Board)

The Cavaliers are another team embracing the forward pass to an unprecedented degree, and Armstrong has jumped all over the chance to be the orchestrator of that offense. After six games, nobody in the nation has thrown for more yards than the 2,460 yards Armstrong has managed. For those of you who don’t want to do the quick math, that’s over 400 yards passing per game.

And the good news is that the Cavaliers are having a solid season along the way. They moved to 4-2 with a frantic win over Louisville in which Armstrong hurled it 60 times, completing 40 for 487 yards.

Armstrong did lose his head-to-head with Sam Hartman and Wake Forest, which puts him a bit behind in that respect. But there is likely nothing that is going to stop Armstrong from hurling it a bunch in every contest the Cavaliers play. If he can approach some single-season passing records, maybe the Heisman comes into the picture.

Next: Saturday vs. Duke

Conclusion

This should give you an idea of where we stand in the Heisman Trophy race halfway through the season. The value plays are popping up at various the top college football wagering websites. Be ready to pounce when you say the player you want at the price you want.

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 h ...

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