2023 Heisman odds, predictions: Best college football futures bets, lines

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With less than two weeks until the start of the college football season, I’ve got the itch to put some bets down. I’m particularly excited about putting some money on early Heisman futures. 

Last year’s Heisman winner was USC’s Caleb Williams. He’s currently the best player in college football and has one more season to guide the Trojans before he heads to the NFL as the first pick in the NFL Draft. Williams is going to play exactly how we expect this season. However, he’s not going to win the Heisman in 2023. 

In fact, there has not been a repeat Heisman winner since 1975, when Ohio State running back Archie Griffin took home his second straight Heisman award. 

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Usually, the Heisman winner follows up his award-winning season with one that’s not as grand, and that’s reflected in the box score. This doesn’t mean they’ve lost their fastball — it just means their numbers aren’t as good. Also, I think voters always look to praise new players as a way of trying to spread the wealth. 

That said, let’s start with some early Heisman futures bets I like, starting with a couple of quarterbacks that stand out.

Finding a quarterback to wager on for the Heisman is a good starting point since that’s the position that usually wins this award. You need to look for a mobile quarterback who will make highlight-worthy plays with his legs. He needs to be an athlete who runs for big gains or buys time behind the line of scrimmage before firing to a receiver. 

A quarterback who primarily stands in the pocket to make throws is not winning this award. This eliminates an outstanding quarterback like Michael Penix Jr., the Washington Huskies’ QB who threw for the second-most yards last year (4,641). 

So with all that in mind, here are my two favorite quarterback options.

Drake Maye, North Carolina: +1600

Hype is helpful with voters. Maye is firmly in the conversation as the top quarterback in the 2024 class. In Maye’s first season as a starter, he completed 66.2% of his passes for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He also added 698 rushing yards. There’s a long montage of Heisman-caliber plays that highlight Maye as the best option for UNC’s offense. 

With another year of offseason work and Carolina shoring up its offensive line, you have to assume that Maye will continue putting up wow numbers. At 12-1, he is definitely worth a bet.

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Jordan Travis, Florida State: +1400

Travis is entering his sixth college season. He started the last two seasons under Mike Norvell at Florida State. In 2022, the 6-foot-1 West Palm Beach native completed 64% of passes for 3,214 yards while rushing for another 417. He’ll need to play more consistently, but I expect him to do just that in his fifth year in FSU’s system. 

Florida State’s schedule features LSU, Clemson, Miami and Florida. This means the Seminoles’ QB will get several opportunities to show off his electric plays on national television. 

Let’s remember that college offenses are geared toward systems featuring quarterbacks as the primary weapon. So it’s difficult for a running back to gain real traction in this race. However, I have selected one running back who I think is worth some early action for the Heisman. If a running back can break through to win the award next year, it’s him.

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Caleb Williams, USC: +500 (bet $10 to win $60 total)
Jayden Daniels, LSU: +1100 (bet $10 to win $120 total)
Quin Ewers, Texas: +1300 (bet $10 to win $140 total)
Jordan Travis, Florida State: +1400 (bet $10 to win $150 total)
Carson Beck, Georgia: +1400 (bet $10 to win $150 total)
Cade Klubnik, Clemson: +1400 (bet $10 to win $150 total)
Bo Nix, Oregon: +1600 (bet $10 to win $170 total)
Drake Maye, North Carolina: +1600 (bet $10 to win $170 total)
Michael Penix Jr., Washington: +1600 (bet $10 to win $170 total)
Sam Hartman, Notre Dame: +1600 (bet $10 to win $170 total)
JJ McCarthy, Michigan: +1800 (bet $10 to win $190 total)
Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State: +2000 (bet $10 to win $210 total)
Kyle McCord, Ohio State: +2200 (bet $10 to win $230 total)
Joe Milton, Tennessee: +2200 (bet $10 to win $230 total)
Drew Allar, Penn State: +2500 (bet $10 to win $260 total)
Blake Corum, Michigan: +2800 (bet $10 to win $290 total)

*odds as of 8/21/2023


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Blake Corum, Michigan: +2800

Corum is Michigan’s premiere back, and he will be featured more than the quarterback this upcoming season. That’s what coach Jim Harbaugh is going to do. Michigan had the seventh-most rushing attempts last season. Blake and second-string running back Donovan Edwards had 387 rushing attempts, while the Wolverines quarterbacks had only 347 passing attempts. 

Simply said, Michigan is going to feed this back the ball. Corum averaged nearly six yards an attempt on his 247 rushes, racked up 18 rushing touchdowns and even had one receiving. If this stud can reach the 1,600-yard mark in 2023, he will be near the top of the sport and in Heisman contention. 

Corum did have knee surgery, so one worry is that rehab might mean a slower start to the season – that would crush any Heisman potential. But barring any setbacks, I’d do a small sprinkle on this wager, especially at this number. 

Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @GeoffSchwartz.

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