An Early Look at the 2021 Heisman Trophy Race

| January 8, 2021 12:16 pm PDT
Heisman Trophy Odds for 2021

After a heartfelt acceptance speech from Devonta Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy is in the rear-view mirror. It’s time to start peering ahead to 2021 and diving into the numbers.

I’m not talking about ATS data or who’s going to win next year’s National Championship. I’m referring specifically to the 2021 Heisman Trophy odds.

Who are the contenders? Are there any sleepers soaked in value?

That’s where this early preview comes in.

Opening Odds for the 2021 Heisman Trophy

It’s important to shop your lines – even if you plan on hitting this market well out in advance. Below is a table highlighting the odds to win the 2021 Heisman Trophy from three of the best football betting sites.

These lines were released on January 5th, the same day that Devonta Smith joined the elite brotherhood.

Player BetUS MyBookie BetOnline
Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma, QB) +400 +450 +500
Sam Howell (UNC, QB) +650 +550 +700
D.J. Uiagalelei (Clemson, QB) +650 +600 +700
Kedon Slovis (USC, QB) +650 +700 +1200
D’Eriq King (Miami, QB) +1000 +1000 +1200
Bryce Young (Alabama, QB) +1000 +1200 +1200
JT Daniels (Georgia, QB) +1000 +800 +1200
Tyler Shough (Oregon, QB) +1200 +1400 +1400
Brian Robinson Jr. (Alabama, RB) +1200 +1500 +1400
Michael Penix (Indiana, QB) +1200 +1600 +1400
Breece Hall (Iowa State, RB) +1200 +1850 +1400
Jayden Daniels (Arizona State, QB) +1200 +1100 +1400
Emory Jones (Florida, QB) +1200 +1200 +1400
Kyren Williams (Notre Dame, RB) +1400 +1400 +1600
Brock Purdy (Iowa State, QB) +1400 +1700 +1600
Bijan Robinson (Texas, RB) +1400 +1200 +1600
Graham Mertz (Wisconsin, QB) +1400 +1500 +1600
Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M, RB) +1600 +1900 +1800
Matt Corral (Ole Miss, QB) +1600 +1900 +1800
Deuce Vaughn (Kansas State, RB) +1600 +1800 +1800
Kevin Harris (South Carolina, RB) +2000 +2000 +2000
Dillon Gabriel (UCF, QB) N/A +2100 +2500
Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina, QB) N/A +2500 +2500
Carson Strong (Nevada, QB) N/A +2200 +2500
John Metchie III (Alabama WR) N/A +2400 +2500
Jordan Addison (Pittsburgh, WR) +2300 +2500
Zay Flowers (Boston College, WR) +2500 +2500

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Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the bookies are not expecting to see another wideout hoist the hardware in 2021. Just three WRs are even priced, and each is positioned at the bottom of the odds sheet.

Keep in mind, there were 29 years of separation between wide receivers winning the Heisman Trophy (Desmond Howard, 1991, Devonta Smith 2020). This is predominately a QB/WR award and the 2021 Heisman odds reflect that.

Top Heisman Trophy Contenders for 2021

It looks like Bryce Young is set to take over in Tuscaloosa but we don’t know for sure. Sam Howell has put up monster numbers during his first two seasons at Chapel Hill, but is a guy who plays for North Carolina really going to win the Heisman?

Since 2001, just two players from the ACC have been recognized for this award. One was Jameis Winston (won the National Championship with Florida State that year), the other was Lamar Jackson.

The way I see it, two guys stand out above the rest when it comes to the sincere 2021 Heisman Trophy contenders.

Spencer Rattler

Oklahoma got off to a slow start under the guidance of their RS freshman QB, but boy did the Sooners end the year on a full head of steam. OU won their final eight games behind Rattler’s electric right arm, and now he gets a full offseason of preparation with Lincoln Riley to work on improving his craft.

Spencer’s arm strength is well-documented, but he’s far from a one-trick pony. When the pocket collapsed and it came down to extending plays with your legs, nobody was better in 2020.

In fact, Rattler reminds me a lot of a young, raw, Patrick Mahomes. He’s the favorite to win the Heisman for a reason.

Breece Hall

Breece Hall was really good as a freshman. Then the 6’1” 215-pound RB from Wichita, KS exploded as a sophomore finishing 6th in the 2020 Heisman Trophy voting.

Year Carries Rushing Yards Yards/Carry Rushing TDs
2019 186 897 4.8 9
2020 279 1,572 5.6 21

A quick glance at Hall’s numbers indicate his big jump, and his durability really stood out (15+ carries in every game). The Cyclones qualified for their first Big 12 Title game in program history, and they blew out Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.

Brock Purdy is a nice player and the defense was solid, but Bryce’s consistency is what propelled Matt Campbell’s group forward.

Now entering his third year in Ames, another 1,500+ yard campaign with 20+ touchdowns should be in store. It’s scary to think, but those numbers actually might be his floor.

2021 Heisman Trophy Sleepers

I’d love to tout Wolf Pack QB Carson Strong heading into next season, but it’s probably a lost cause. If Zach Wilson didn’t get a sniff in 2020 after the numbers he put up in Provo, it’s pretty clear that the Heisman voters don’t take the kids from the Group of Five conferences seriously.

On that note, a couple of SEC running backs are in line for monster 2021s.

Kevin Harris and Zamir White

Kevin Harris

South Carolina wasn’t very good in 2020, finishing the year 2-8 with really spotty play under center. Opposing SEC defenses tried to key in on stopping Kevin Harris, they just weren’t very successful.

The 225-pound bowling bowl out of the backfield trucked over the opposition to the tune of an eye-popping 6.2 yards/carry. Kevin ran for over 1,100 yards and reached paydirt 16 times. If the Gamecocks can make a leap in the SEC East standings, Harris could very well receive an invitation to the PlayStation Theater.

Zamir White

Most people looking for Heisman Trophy candidates in Athens will point toward quarterback JT Daniels. Instead, I’m going off the radar and targeting their speedy running back. Zamir White had a relatively quiet sophomore season (779 rushing yards) but he did score 11 touchdowns in 10 games.

The Bulldogs are a team we expect to be ranked inside the top-10 and could make a push for the CFP. White is likely to receive the lion’s share of the totes, and that could lead to some video-game-like numbers.

My Early 2021 Heisman Trophy Prediction

I’m not going to get fancy here and try and be extra bold with my Heisman Trophy prediction for 2021. I’m going with the odds-on favorite, Spencer Rattler.

Lincoln Riley’s fast-paced spread-out offense in Norman is the perfect recipe for generating Heisman Trophy quarterbacks. We saw that we Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, and we almost saw it with Jalen Hurts.

Dare I say that Rattler could be the best of the bunch?

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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