College Football Futures – 2022 Heisman Trophy Race Betting Tips
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young enters the 2022 college football season with a chance to become the second two-time Heisman Trophy winner in history. Only Ohio State running back Archie Griffin was able to accomplish the feat when he won back-to-back Heisman wins in 1974 and 1975. However, the competition for football’s most coveted prize university seems to be stronger than ever. Two of the top five finishers in last year’s Heisman vote — Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud and Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. — have returned to school, and USC QB Caleb Williams and Texas RB Bijan Robinson are also in the game.
Our betting experts answer some of the most pressing questions about this year’s Heisman race and where you can find the best pre-season value.
College Football Futures Week Schedule
Monday: Heisman Trophy Race
Tuesday: Earnings totals
Wednesday: Conference title races
Thursday: Tips of the week 0/1
Friday: National title odds
CJ Stroud (+200) and Bryce Young (+350) are the current favorites to win the Heisman in 2022. Is there betting value on either quarterback?
David Hale, ESPN college football writer: It’s not that I’m not up to par with Young, but the ROI just isn’t there for several reasons. For one thing, we don’t see repeat winners. As Jameis Winston or Lamar Jackson have shown in past seasons, it’s often difficult to meet high expectations the following year. However, the biggest problem for Young is Alabama’s receiving corps. Are we sure there are enough difference factors in the Crimson Tide attack? When Jameson Williams and John Metchie III were in the field last year, the Tide averaged 8.7 yards per recoil. When one or both were missing, this number dropped to 6.4. And it’s only the second time in the Nick Saban era that Alabama hasn’t returned a wide receiver with at least 250 receiving yards for the Tide the previous year.
Doug Kezirian, ESPN betting analyst: There is absolutely no value. Even if one of those quarterbacks sees their wiggle room shrinking throughout the season and the current odds are at the peak, any remorse would only come from the hindsight. When you factor in the combined odds of winning every game or (surviving with a single loss) and outlasting other contenders and avoiding injury, these current payouts are way too low.
“Stanford Steve” Coughlin, ESPN betting analyst: I think the expectations for these two guys are starting to get a little unrealistic. Do people expect Bryce Young to be so much better? Also, a repeat Heisman winner has never happened in my lifetime and only once in the history of the sport, so I don’t see any value. All I’ve read this offseason about Ohio State and Ryan Day is that he wants his offense to be more balanced. That means more touches for superstar running back, TreVeyon Henderson. So these two favorites are no games for me.
Bill Connelly, ESPN Football Insider: I agree. Voters seem to be raising the bar for defending champions, to the point that no one has crossed it since Archie Griffin in the 1970s. of last year. Stroud should be the favorite, but +200 isn’t particularly valuable either given that between Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson, Stroud could suffer from a “teammate stealing his votes” situation.
Erin Dolan, ESPN betting analyst: It depends on how you interpret the “value”, but I’m not running to the window. What’s interesting here is that Bryce Young opened as the favorite at +250, followed by CJ Stroud at +350. But these two rocked. Stroud is the current favorite at +200. Both reasons: Young won the award last season, and it’s extremely difficult to repeat. Stroud is the most popular ticket (10.5%) and dollar (13.8%) bet so far on Caesars Sportsbook. Meanwhile, Young is sixth in tickets and 12th in the handle. And get this … Young is actually third on his own team behind linebacker Will Anderson Jr and running back Jahmyr Gibbs.
QB Caleb Williams followed Lincoln Riley to USC. Williams caused a stir last year and was at one point Heisman’s favorite. What do you think of its prospects as a Trojan and the +900 price?
Connell: I feel like Williams was overrated to some degree considering he suddenly started looking a lot like a freshman at the end of last season. His first four games as a primary contributor, he had a completion rate of 73%, 15.1 yards per completion, an INT rate of 1.0%, and a QB rating of 211.7. In his last four games, he had a completion rate of 57%, 12.5 yards per completion, an INT rate of 2.9%, and a QB rating of 133.2. There’s no doubt he’s going to have a fantastic receiving corps in the West, plus all the visibility in the world and fewer big defenses to contend with. Anything less than +900, and I’d start to worry, but I think that’s a decent value.
Kezirian: I understand the appeal of the +900 at first glance but ultimately it’s not enough feedback. For example, Young had those chances to come in last season, and Alabama had a legitimate chance to go undefeated — plus not having two distinct favorites like Stroud and Young are this year. So that’s the problem with Williams at +900. While I expect Riley to help USC improve this year, I don’t think the Trojans are a national title contender. There will be some growing pains and if Riley somehow works his magic, I don’t think +900 is a fair number when you still have to overcome Stroud, Young and all the other variables.
Coughlin: I think Williams will put up more than impressive numbers, but the Trojans will suffer several defeats in their schedule. It will likely take place against Williams (which I completely disagree with) and hurt his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy.
Recently, we’ve had seasons where the Heisman winner was a longshot in the summer. Does anyone on the board fit this description?
Vigorous: If you can’t get good value on Young, why not invest in his new teammate, running back Jahmyr Gibbs? Sure, the Heisman tends to go for a QB, but that’s not true for Alabama players. The Tide has four of Heisman’s last 13 winners and Young was the only QB. DeVonta Smith (2021), Derrick Henry (2015) and Mark Ingram (2009) account for 75% of non-QBs to win the award since 2000. Gibbs will be the featured back in an established no-star offense at receiver. He’s also a threat out of the backfield and in the return game (he was third nationally in all-around yards per game last year). Add it all up – a versatile star on a big team likely to get a ton of touches with a potentially intriguing backstory – and you have a veritable recipe for a Heisman Trophy winner.
Connell: The surest way to determine a realistic set of Heisman candidates is to simply ask, “Who are the starting QBs of the top-ranked teams?” Stroud and Young are obviously factored in that way, as is Williams (although USC’s defense will likely be too shaky for the Trojans to really contend with). If you’re looking for real longshots, what about Stetson Bennett at +12500 or so? I wouldn’t put him on the top favorites list, but he finished third in Total QBR (ahead of a QB not named Stroud or Young) and won the national title. Utah is a potential top-10 team, and Cameron Rising (+8000) finished sixth in Total QBR last year. It’s crazy to me that Will Anderson Jr. was by far the best player in college football last year, and probably will be again in 2022, and he wasn’t even the highest-voting defenseman.
Kezirian: Two names come to mind. One is a legit bet I made and the other is a concept I want to convey that should make you think. Will Anderson Jr. is definitely worth it at 40-1. He is highly regarded as the best football player in the country, and voters demonstrated an ability to break from the norm when DeVonta Smith won the award in 2021. Second, Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers intrigues me at 40 -1 but ultimately I wouldn’t go for this. While playing for Steve Sarkisian on a blue blood program, he has yet to win the starting gig, and Texas is not going to challenge for the title. Remember the Longhorns lost to Kansas last year. The Heisman has gone to some quarterbacks of teams that have finished with multiple losses, but that requires multiple stars to line up.
ESPN betting analyst Chris “The Bear” Fallica: Will Anderson Jr. is on everyone’s radar after a terrific 2021 season, and that gives him a huge start for 2022. There may be some voters who are reluctant to give the Heisman to Young two years in a row, regardless the way he plays. Ohio State also has three potential candidates who can split the vote. Aiden Hutchinson finished 2nd in Heisman voting last year as a defenseman, and given the things Anderson has going for him, he would be my game right now at 40-1.
Coughlin: I think Dillon Gabriel is worth seeing. He reunited with Jeff Lebby in Oklahoma, who was his offensive coordinator in his freshman season at UCF. That year, Gabriel threw for over 3,600 yards and 29 touchdowns. I think a more mature Gabriel will put up some monster numbers with Lebby in charge in Norman.