NCAAF
October 29, 2021

Ranking the 5 Best 2021 Heisman Trophy Award Bets

The turn of the college football calendar to November marks an important milestone. Half the season is over and we have the season's biggest games remaining on the schedule. The final push towards the playoff will define the top competitors for both team and individual accolades.

The 2021 Heisman Trophy race has fascinating names involved. We could see a huge swing in the remaining second half of the season because no one has truly run away with it yet. It's not as if there are unqualified players, but rather a number of playmakers who will have bigger platforms soon.

We'll continue tracking the odds changes each week and give the best bet until the end of the season. Consider putting a partial unit on a long-shot that could bring a huge return with the right breaks.

*Odds are courtesy of DraftKings.

5. Sam Hartman, Wake Forest (+6000)

 Sam Hartman is putting up monstrous numbers for Wake Forest and the 7-0 Demon Deacons. Hartman has a wonderful, tear-jerking story in his background, as told on ESPN's feature last week. His story is absolutely worth the Heisman Trophy.

He's completed 65% of throws for 2,073 yards and 19 scores thus far. His toughest task will be guiding Wake Forest to an undefeated regular season and hoping Stroud or others trip up at some point. It's surprising his odds are this low considering the field lacks significantly better options.

4. Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State (+2000)

It's rare for backs to win the Heisman in the modern era, but 2021 might be the right time. We have a couple of excellent producers, including college football's third-leading rusher, Kenneth Walker III. He's been a huge part of Michigan State's resurgence in 2021 as they sit at 7-0.

Walker answered the call against quality defenses in Northwestern and Miami with 436 yards and five total scores. He's yet to face Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, but great performances to close out the year could swing the odds in his favor. I'd consider him to have solid long-shot value.

3. Kenny Pickett, Pitt (+1200) 

A rising star as a fifth-year passer for Pitt, Kenny Pickett has completely changed the way he's viewed. The Panthers' new offense has allowed Pickett to already nearly double his career-high for touchdowns in one season. He's completing almost 69% of passes for 2,236 yards and 23 touchdowns despite being a middling passer until this year.

At 7-0, Pitt has a good shot at running the table and winning the ACC. They could even face off against Wake Forest and allow Pickett and Hartman to one-up the other. This is a good value for Pickett as his odds will likely rise in the coming weeks.

2. CJ Stroud, Ohio State (+550)

I was out on Stroud after Week 3, but it turns out his right shoulder was more damaged than anyone knew. The redshirt freshman returned to the field after resting for one week and has been dominant since. He's throwing with more accuracy and confidence than we had seen against Oregon or Minnesota.

Now completing almost 68% of passes for 1,965 yards, 22 touchdowns, and three picks, Stroud has a huge opportunity in front of him to make everyone jump on his bandwagon while games against Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan loom large. Stroud may easily win the award if he continues at a similar pace and guides the Buckeyes to a playoff appearance.

1. Bryce Young, Alabama (+160)

Overlooking the best player on arguably the best team and overall Heisman favorite would be a poor move. While Bryce Young isn't giving a large return on investment, he's unquestionably earned the right to be in the driver's seat. Alabama is in the playoff hunt as he's completed 70% of his passes for 2,453 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only three interceptions.

Young has the benefit of playing against top competition. He wasn't perfect in Alabama's loss to Texas A&M and I think that opened the window for the rest of the country. Young is not the player I'd throw cash on right now since others have some momentum, but there is a reason why he is the favorite. 

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