College football season is right around the corner as week 0 gets underway on Saturday! While the games themselves bring a ton of intrigue, the dream seasons that players put together are another incredibly fun storyline to follow. Just think back to the special seasons you’ve watched in your lifetime. As Wisconsin fans, we had a special season with Ron Dayne, but we’ve also got to witness Tim Tebow’s dominance at Florida, Cam Newton’s dream season at Auburn, and Joe Burrow’s dominating final season at LSU.
This year Bryce Young returns to Alabama to try and win back-to-back Heismans, something that has only been done once in college football history (Archie Griffin, Ohio State). Despite that, Young is not listed as the favorite to bring home the trophy, sitting at +380 odds. That title belongs to last year's Heisman runner up CJ Stroud who many thought should have won it a season ago.
Below, I’ll give a rundown of the favorites, the mid-tiers, and the longshots that I think present value for betting heading into the 2022 season. All odds are pulled from Draftkings Sportsbook, the official odds provider of B5Q.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
- Quarterback CJ Stroud (Ohio State): +220
- Quarterback Bryce Young (Alabama): +380
- Quarterback Caleb Williams (USC): +700
- Linebacker Will Anderson (Alabama): +1600
- Running back Bijan Robinson (Texas): +2200
- Wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State): +2500
If you’re looking to bet one of the favorites, I think just the following probability helps eliminate some names. Bryce Young was great a season ago, but there’s only been one back-to-back winner, so simply following that means a repeat isn't likely. Beyond that, as great as Will Anderson is, only one primarily defensive player has won the award in Charles Woodson.
While USC did acquire a lot of talent in the off-season, I don't see that meshing as well as some others expect. Bijan Robinson should put up monster numbers, but I don't think Texas will win enough to keep him in the national running, and we’ve seen in years past that winning games keeps you in the race longer.
The process of elimination leaves two players, both Buckeyes. The odds for wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba are good odds, but not as great as they once were. They’ve dropped considerably, which means a lot of people are seeming to be backing the wideout. Additionally, if Smith-Njgiba has a big season, it’s likely because of the connection with Stroud which makes him hard to beat out. For that reason, I think Stroud, despite being the favorite, is the best bet here.
7. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma): +3000
8. Running back TreyVeyon Henderson (Ohio State): +3500
9. Quarterback Quinn Ewers (Texas): +3500
10. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (Miami): +3500
11. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama): +3500
The second tier of players have a lot of talent but are looking to put it all together this season. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel transfers over to Oklahoma from UCF, reuniting with former UCF offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. I think he’ll be alright, but I don't see the Heisman hype right now. Running back TreyVeyon Henderson is next up, but I’ll be honest, I don’t think he’s as great as many make him out to be and he’s not the top option in that offense. Quinn Ewers is listed this high simply off hype, which could turn out but I am bearish on that.
The last two, are intriguing to me. Tyler Van Dyke put together a huge season last year throwing for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just 6 interceptions. He does lose his top two wideouts, but big numbers and a wide-open Coastal division could be worth backing. For me, I like Alabama's Jahmyr Gibbs best in this spot. He’s one of the two tickets I have bet thus far. He was a great back at lowly Georgia Tech and should be well utilized in Alabama’s offense. They’ll remain in the title conversation all season, and that could give Gibbs an edge over quarterback Bryce Young. It’s getting tougher and tougher for running backs to win, but I think Gibbs is worth a flyer at that price.
DraftKings has Heisman odds on 80+ players, so be sure to check out their full offering. A few names jumped out to me.
Quarterback Devin Leary (NC State): +5000
Quarterback Cameron Rising (Utah): +6000
Running back Braelon Allen (Wisconsin): +6000
Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA): +8000
Running back Deuce Vaughn (Kansas State): +15000
The other Heisman ticket I bet thus far is quarterback Devin Leary from NC State. He’s the best QB in the ACC, and he should put up gaudy numbers in 2022. Last season he threw for 3,433 yards and 35 touchdowns with just 5 interceptions. If NC State wins the ACC he’s the reason why, and that should put him as a Heisman finalist.
After that, I really like the odds on Cam Rising as well, but West Coast bias is a real thing in Heisman voting which makes me lean more toward backing Leary. Braelon Allen has to be a pick as a homer, but I think that’s pretty good value for him. UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson had a great year last year and could take a step forward. Lastly, Deuce Vaughn having this long of odds is simply disrespectful. He’s a top 3 back in college football and should not have this poor of odds, so based on principle it might be worth a flyer.
Overall, to start the season, I’ll likely have tickets on Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, and NC State’s Devin Leary. That should give a realistic winner and plus odds and a couple of decent long shots. The nice part is, you can always add more as the season rolls along so be sure to check out DraftKings for the latest odds, we’ll have update posts throughout the season as well!