Welcome to our Heisman Trophy betting page, which will serve as a how-to guide for betting on the most prestigious award in college football at online sportsbooks across the country.
As legalized betting spreads across the United States, NCAA football betting on season-long futures markets such as the Heisman winner has become wildly popular. Below, we provide updated odds for next season’s award in addition to the betting history of the trophy.
2023 Heisman Trophy betting odds
How To Bet On Heisman Trophy
The Heisman Trophy, awarded to NCAA football’s most outstanding player each season, is the most distinguished honor there is for an individual player. Each year since 1935, the Heisman has represented athletic excellence while remaining one of the most iconic awards in all of sports.
When it comes to NCAA football betting, the Heisman Trophy is at the top of the list for many bettors. As is the case with many long-term futures markets, opening odds for the Heisman trophy come out as soon as the day after the current season’s national championship game. While those prices will fluctuate wildly as the offseason– and regular season– progress, bettors can lock in their bets as early as January.
From there, odds will stay up all season and prices move accordingly. Unlike other major league awards, Heisman odds can jump or dip with breathtaking volatility. Because college football teams’ postseason hopes can be dashed with a single loss, Heisman candidates on those teams often go down with the ship.
Conversely, up-and-comers who catch fire for a couple weeks can see their odds shorten quickly, as we saw in the case of Devonta Smith in 2020.
Payouts for the Heisman Trophy work just like any other moneyline. For example, if C.J. Stroud (+400) were to win the award, a $100 bet would win $400 back, plus the initial bet amount. All preseason Heisman picks will have plus odds, so the line represents the amount a bettor can win if risking $100. If a huge favorite emerges during the season and has a negative line, the odds would be what you must risk to win $100.
Heisman Trophy Betting Trends
Critics of college football are quick to bring up the seeming lack of parity. You have Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Georgia– right?
In terms of champions, that conclusion is half-right. In terms of the Heisman Trophy, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Since 2014, no preseason favorite has won the award and all winners were +700 or longer at opening. The peak was this past season, where DeVonta Smith won the Heisman after being as long as +6600 as late as Week 9.
While the winner itself isn’t choreographed, the winner does typically come from a “Power Five” program (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC). The last Heisman winner from a true non-Power Five school was Ty Detmer of BYU back in 1990.
The other predictable note is that the Heisman Trophy has been dominated by quarterbacks in recent years. In fact, 17 of the last 20 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks, with the only exceptions being three Alabama stars: running backs Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015), and receiver Devonta Smith (2020).
The only true defensive player to win the award was Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997. So, while the nature of the winners is fairly predictable, pinning the exact player proves to be quite difficult.
Recent Heisman Trophy Winners
|2013||Jameis Winston||QB||Florida State|
|2012||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M|
|2011||Robert Griffin III||QB||Baylor|
Heisman Trophy Betting Strategy
Avoid Preseason Favorites
When it comes to betting on the Heisman Trophy, beware of early preseason favorites. As mentioned, favorites almost never come away the winner. In 2021, Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler and Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei were the favorites, and fading these proves to be fruitful, as Alabama QB Bryce Young won the award with preseason odds around +900. In years prior, Trevor Lawrence and JT Barrett were a good fades.
Can’t Go Wrong With A Quarterback
Consider that the winner is almost always a quarterback. From 2000 to 2020, a signal-caller won the Heisman a staggering 17 times, and then another QB (Bryce Young) won in 2021. While betting a running back or a receiver could reap serious payouts, history points away from that being the case.
Focus On Winning Teams
The Heisman is an individual award and doesn’t really have any thing to do with team success, or at least it shouldn’t. But the fact remains that players on losing teams, or even teams that are only slightly above average, don’t win the award very much.
No player since 1969 has won the award while playing for a program with more than three losses. Recently, Lamar Jackson (2016) and Robert Griffin III (2011) played on teams that went 9-3. Other than that, you’re probably talking about the best player on one of the best teams in the country.
How Is The Heisman Winner Decided?
Winners are determined by the vote of the Heisman Committee, made up of a few hundred media members and previous winners of the award. The voters rank candidates in first through third place and the players are ordered based on points awarded from those votes. Three finalists are announced and days later, the winner is crowned in New York. The 2021 Heisman Trophy finalists were announced on December 6, with the trophy being handed out on December 11.