With the NFL Draft declaration window closed, transfer movement slowing a bit, and depth charts and rosters coming into focus, the build-up to the 2023 college football season is officially underway.
And as with every offseason, the early future odds for betting the Heisman Trophy provide an interesting window into the upcoming year. USC quarterback Caleb Williams is the front-runner after winning the award in '22, and thanks to some turnover at high-profile programs, the second tier of candidates is wide open prior to spring practice. Names like North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye or Oregon signal-caller Bo Nix might be the smart play for wagering purposes if you don't want to bet on Williams, but there are several intriguing names down the list that are worth examining if you want to bet this offseason.
Before betting the Heisman Trophy for 2023, here are a few numbers to keep in mind:
*Since 2000, 19 of the 23 winners have been quarterbacks. Also, six of the last seven recipients have been signal-callers.
*Just one wide receiver (DeVonta Smith) has won the award since 1992.
*Three running backs have won the award since 2000 and two of those (Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram) came from Alabama.
*In the College Football Playoff era, seven of the nine winners came from teams that made the four-team tournament. The exceptions: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (2016) and USC QB Caleb Williams (2022).
College Football 2023 Early Heisman Futures: Best Bets, Odds and Longshots
The Odds-On Favorite
Caleb Williams, QB, USC
Odds: +500 on DraftKings, +350 on SI, +550 on Caesars
Remember only one player has gone back-to-back as the Heisman winner (Archie Griffin (1974-75) for Ohio State. After putting up 4,919 total yards and 52 overall scores, the bar is set high for Williams to repeat in '23.
Smart Bets and Longshots to Bet
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
Odds: +1200 on DK, +900 on SI, +1000 on Caesars
Maye carried North Carolina to an ACC Championship Game appearance, accounting for 308.6 total yards a game to help coach Mack Brown's team overcome a porous defense. The Tar Heels have a new coordinator (Chip Lindsey), but after accounting for 45 touchdowns in '22, Maye is likely to have the numbers and the raw talent to push for a trip to New York.
Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State
Odds: +1000 on DK, +1100 on SI, +1000 at Caesars
Travis has showed marked improvement throughout his career and now has Florida State back in the mix to be a top-10 team in '23. Over 13 games last year, Travis averaged 279.3 total yards a game (fourth in the ACC) with 31 total touchdowns. With showcase games versus LSU and at Clemson, Travis has two major opportunities to stake his claim to college football's top award.
Joe Milton, QB, Tennessee
Odds: +1800 on DK, +1700 on SI, +3000 on Caesars
In five years as a head coach, Josh Heupel's offenses have averaged around 3,723 yards and 34 touchdown passes every season. Milton's arm talent isn't in question. If the Orange Bowl (19 of 28 for 251 yards and 3 TDs) was a sign of improvement in his play and things to come, he could have a monster statistical year in Heupel's high-powered offense.
Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Odds: +1400 on DK, +1100 on SI, +1600 on Caesars
Nix was on pace to be a major player for the '22 award before a foot injury hindered his production (and Oregon overall) in the month of November. Despite that late setback, Nix still finished with his best overall season at the collegiate level, throwing for 3,593 yards and 29 touchdowns to seven picks and rushing for 510 yards and 14 scores.
Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Odds: +1400 on DK, +1100 on SI, +1200 on Caesars
Reuniting with his former offensive coordinator at Indiana (now Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer) was exactly what Penix needed to get back on track. In 13 games for the Huskies, he torched opposing defenses for 4,641 yards and 31 touchdowns to only eight picks. Both of Penix's top targets in the receiving corps are slated to return, which can only help the senior in his quest to match (and exceed) last year's big-time production.
Sam Hartman, QB, Notre Dame
Odds: +1500 on DK, +1400 on SI, +1600 on Caesars
Hartman transferred from Wake Forest to Notre Dame for his final eligibility. The Fighting Irish need to replace tight end Michael Mayer and identify a few more playmakers at receiver to boost Hartman's chances, but a quarterback for a potential top-10 team with a prolific career (the ACC's all-time leader in touchdown passes) is worth a look.
Kyle McCord, QB, Ohio State
Odds: +2200 on DK, +2200 on SI, +1600 on Caesars
Assuming McCord beats out Devin Brown for the starting job and handles the role all year, the statistics (and team quality) will both be there to be a factor in the Heisman race.
Cade Klubnik, QB, Clemson
Odds: +3000 on DK, +1400 on SI, +2000 on Caesars
The hire of Garrett Riley from TCU as offensive coordinator is certainly good news for Klubnik's Heisman candidacy in '23. Clemson's receiving corps and offensive line are a concern, but Klubnik's overall talent (No. 1 quarterback recruit by some in '22 class) and scheme upgrade could help this offense reach another level.
Ty Simpson, QB, Alabama
Odds: +4000 on DK, +2200 on SI, +3000 on Caesars
Simpson needs to hold off Jalen Milroe for the job, but he checks off two important boxes when it comes to Heisman odds. He's the quarterback on a team likely to be in playoff contention, and there's a track record of productive quarterback play at Alabama resulting in Heisman contention (Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Bryce Young either won or were finalists).
Related: Early SEC Predictions for 2023
Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin
Odds: +6000 on DK, +10000 on Caesars
Don't be fooled into thinking the hire of Phil Longo as offensive coordinator means Wisconsin will abandon the run. In 2022, as the play-caller at North Carolina, Longo had nearly as many rushing attempts (36) a game as Wisconsin did (38) under its former staff. The Badgers are Athlon's early favorite to win the Big Ten West, and Allen should have another hefty workload in '23.
Nick Singleton, RB, Penn State
Odds: +6000 on DK, +3500 on SI, +5000 on Caesars
High expectations surrounded Singleton when he arrived on campus as a five-star freshman last year. In 13 games, he led the Nittany Lions with 1,061 yards and 12 rushing scores. The talent is evident, and Singleton should see an uptick in touches in '23. However, Kaytron Allen (167 carries in '22) is likely to be heavily involved again, which could hurt Singleton's candidacy and volume.
Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Odds: +6000 on DK, +4500 on SI, +4000 on Caesars
If one receiver was to replicate the dominance and statistical output similar to the totals that won Alabama's DeVonta Smith the Heisman, Harrison would certainly fit the mold.
KJ Jefferson, QB, Arkansas
Odds: +8000 on DK, +4000 on Caesars
Arkansas has to improve a good bit to get Jefferson in the mix. But if you want to take a chance on a quarterback who could be involved in a ton of high-scoring affairs and needs to post big-time numbers to win, then Jefferson is probably your pick. It's a long shot, but Arkansas has to ride Jefferson's right arm and legs to threaten Alabama and LSU in the SEC West.
Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Odds: +10000 on DK, +10000 on Caesars
Bowers is one of the best pure football players in college football. However, that might not translate into much Heisman consideration. Over the last two years, Bowers has paced the Georgia offense in receptions, yards and touchdown catches. But with a new quarterback taking over for Stetson Bennett, will Bowers match his production from '22 (63 catches for 942 yards and seven scores)? Even if he does, Bowers probably needs a little more in the statistical department (whether it's fair or not) to impress Heisman voters.