After a crazy weekend, there was potential for upheaval in Heisman Trophy odds. But, instead, they look a lot like they did last week. But when the Heisman Trust announced the four finalists Monday, there were no surprises.
Caleb Williams, Max Duggan, C.J. Stroud, and Stetson Bennett will head to New York for the award ceremony this weekend. Despite losing to Utah in the Pac-12 title game, Williams remains a heavy favorite at the sportsbooks that still have Heisman odds posted.
But that doesn’t mean the award is his—yet.
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2022 Heisman Trophy Odds
Odds are current as of December 5 (the market has closed at several sportsbooks):
|Player||Position||Team||FanDuel||BetMGM: Promo Code TODAY|
|CJ Stroud||QB||Ohio State||+3000||+3000|
|Stetson Bennett IV||QB||Georgia||+5000||+5000|
Conference championship weekend is typically when the frontrunner puts a stamp on his resume and makes it a no-brainer for Heisman voters. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Caleb Williams failed to lead his team to a win over Utah in the Pac-12 title game. However, he still threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns despite playing with an injury.
But a good portion of his yardage came in garbage time, as did his only touchdown in the second half. He also threw an interception in the fourth quarter that led to the USC touchdown that put the game out of reach.
That opened the door for Max Duggan to become the frontrunner, but then he failed to lead TCU to a win over K-State in the Big 12 title game. He did account for 361 total yards (251 passing and 110 rushing) and two touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving). His interception came in the endzone and led to a K-State touchdown.
However, Duggan’s play is the only reason the Horned Frogs took the game to overtime. He got them to the goal line. But rather than let Duggan finish the job, the coaches called for him to hand the ball off on third and fourth down (rather than kick a field goal).
The other active Heisman candidate, Stetson Bennett, had another great day (23-29 for 274 yards and four touchdowns) in Georgia’s win over LSU in the SEC title game. It was another excellent outing for the Bulldogs QB.
But his Heisman candidacy never really gained much steam this season.
2022 Heisman Trophy Odds: Tale of the Tape
The following table contains an overview of the season each of the four Heisman finalists had:
|Categories||Max Duggan||Caleb Williams||C.J. Stroud||Stetson Bennett|
|Passing Stats||239-368 (64.9%) for 3,321 yds, 30 TDs, 4 INTs||296-448 (66.1%) for 4,075 yds, 37 TDs, 4 INTs||235-355 (66.2%) for 3,340 yds, 37 TDs, 6 INTs||269-395 (68.1%) for 3,425 yds, 20 TDs, 6 INTs|
|Rushing Stats||112 carries for 404 yds and 6 TDs||109 carries for 372 yds and 10 TDs||35 carries for 74 yds||47 carries for 184 yds and 7 TDs|
|Wins Over Ranked Teams||5 (vs. No. 18 Oklahoma, No. 19 Kansas, No. 8 Oklahoma State, No. 17 Kansas State, and No. 18 Texas)||2 (vs. No. 16 UCLA, No. 15 Notre Dame||2 (No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 13 Penn State)||3 (No. 11 Oregon, No. 1 Tennessee, and No. 14 LSU)|
|Losses to Ranked Teams||1 (No. 10 Kansas State)||2 (No. 20 Utah and No. 11 Utah)||1 (No. 3 Michigan)|
According to the mission statement of the Heisman Trust, the Heisman Trophy is supposed to be “awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football whose performance epitomizes great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.”
What that means is left up to the individual voters, but it typically involves playing at a high level and winning games. Losing games does not necessarily disqualify candidates, but losses are frowned upon.
Winners can come from any FBS program, but they often come from one of the marque programs in the country. Over a third of the winners have come from Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC, or Alabama (31 of 85; 32 of 86 if you count Reggie Bush’s vacated Heisman).
With the Heisman odds listed for Williams giving him a 95-96% chance of winning the Heisman, is it even worth thinking about betting on someone else? Historically, the player favored at sportsbooks in the week leading up to the announcement has won (dating back to 2009 via SportsOddsHistory.com).
If it were simply a matter of athleticism and talent, the answer would be a resounding “yes.” But results are supposed to matter along with the stats. Anyone can generate insane stats against weak opponents. But those stats mean more when they lead to winning games, especially against formidable opponents.
Williams only faced four ranked opponents and lost to two; every other finalist fared better against quality competition. Max Duggan went 5-1 against ranked teams, and had he been given the ball on 3rd and goal or on 4th and goal, the Big 12 title game may have ended differently.
Stetson Bennett never failed in that regard, while the other three have at least once (twice in Williams’ case). But Bennett isn’t perceived as a potential winner because Georgia’s defense gets most of the credit for the team’s success.
Our Pick: Duggan deserves to win the Heisman more than Williams. To go from the bench to lead his team to a 12-1 record and a spot in the CFP is more outstanding than leading a team created via the transfer portal, like an NFL team using free agency to an 11-2 record.
But Williams will probably win.
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Heisman Trophy Winners History
Here’s a look back at the odds of Heisman winners via SportsOddsHistory.com:
Year Heisman Winner Position School Odds Prior To Week 1
2022 Caleb Williams QB USC +600
2021 Bryce Young QB Alabama +800
2020 Devonta Smith WR Alabama +10000
2019 Joe Burrow QB LSU +4000
2018 Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma +3000
2017 Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma +1000
2016 Lamar Jackson QB Louisville +10000
2015 Derrick Henry RB Alabama +2500
2014 Marcus Mariota QB Oregon +425
2013 Jameis Winston QB FSU Not Listed
2012 Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M Not Listed
2011 Robert Griffin III QB Baylor +2800
2010 Cam Newton QB Auburn Not Listed
2009 Mark Ingram RB Alabama Not Listed
2008 Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma NA
2007 Tim Tebow QB Florida NA
2006 Troy Smith QB Ohio State NA
2005 Reggie Brush RB USC NA
2004 Matt Leinart QB USC NA
2003 Jason White QB Oklahoma NA
2002 Carson Palmer QB USC NA
2001 Eric Crouch QB/WR Nebraska NA
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