Heisman Trophy Odds: Jalen Milroe Stock Down, Carson Beck Now Lone Favorite 

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Heisman Trophy Odds: Jalen Milroe Stock Down, Carson Beck Now Lone Favorite 

The Nick Saban ripple effect has taken many forms this college football offseason, and shifting Heiman Trophy odds are among them.

At the initial release of betting lines, favorites included Alabama’s Jalen Milroe +800. A changing of the guard on the sidelines has dramatically shifted his Heiman outlook, and he has fallen behind the leaders to +1500.  

Carson Beck, the returning starter for the Georgia Bulldogs, is now the favorite at +750 after initially being tied for the lead with Milroe and Texas QB Quinn Ewers at +800. Still, the top of the Heisman Trophy odds board remains crowded. 

High expectations for Beck and the Bulldogs 

Last season came to a disappointing end for Georgia. The team had its sights set on winning a third consecutive national championship. A loss to Alabama in the SEC title game, however, brought that dream to an end. The Bulldogs closed out the campaign with a record of 12-1, but on the outside looking in at the College Football Playoff when seeds were announced.  

Georgia had to settle for an Orange Bowl matchup against Florida State. Speculation began to swirl about Beck and whether he would forego his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. Beck quickly put the rumors to rest, however, announcing in December that he would return under center for the Bulldogs. The club proceeded to smoke the Seminoles by a score of 63-3. 

Beck had an efficient day in the rout, completing 13 of 18 for 203 yards and two TDs. It was a fitting close to a productive season for the Bulldogs QB. He finished with 3,941 passing yards while completing 72.4% of his passes for 24 TDs and six interceptions, along with four rushing touchdowns. The offense ranked fifth in the nation with an average of 39.5 points per game. 

Georgia enters the new season as the favorite to win it all in College Football Playoff odds and is also the favorite to win the SEC. At college football betting sites, the club has one of the highest lines for total regular season wins, at 10.5. The Bulldogs are expected to return 16 starters, including Beck and key cogs on the offensive line.   

At BetMGM Sportsbook, Beck accounts for the largest share of Heisman tickets at 11.8%. On those tickets, he has attracted 12.2% of the overall handle. Expectations are high for Georgia, and the stakes are huge for Beck. It extends beyond what happens with the Bulldogs this season. He’s also the favorite in NFL Draft odds to be the first overall pick in 2025.  

Milroe tumbles following Saban retirement 

Alabama advanced to the CFP semifinals last season, falling to Michigan by a score of 27-20 in overtime. Milroe impressed in his first full season as a starter, accounting for 35 total touchdowns while leading the high-powered Crimson Tide offense, which averaged 34 points per game. 

Early forecasts for the 2024-25 season called for Alabama again to be a national title threat, while Milroe was a Heisman favorite. Enthusiasm on both fronts declined slightly following Saban’s retirement in January.

Kalen DeBoer is Alabama’s new head coach. He spent the previous two seasons on the sidelines in Washington, leading the Huskies to the CFP last season. They defeated Texas in the semifinals before falling to Michigan by a score of 34-13. 

As the offseason continues, Alabama is fifth in national title odds and fourth on the board to win the SEC. The team’s line for total wins stands at 9.5, which is in the upper echelon of all teams. However, it is a step behind other powerhouse programs. 

The team expects to return five starters on offense, with Milroe leading the way. One of the early Heisman favorites, he has slipped slightly down the board, but he remains among the top five in early odds to win the award. 

At sixth in the Heisman race last year, Milroe is the highest-returning vote-getter.

Other Heisman hopefuls of note

As always, quarterbacks dominate the list of favorites. A QB has won the award three years in a row and seven of the last eight. 

It’s far from a two-horse race for this year’s Heisman Trophy. At BetMGM, seven players have each attracted 5% or more of the ticket total, while four account for 10% or more of the total handle. Meanwhile, Shedeur Sanders leads the way in interest at DraftKings, attracting 10% of the total betting handle. 

Texas QB Quinn Ewers 

Ewers is the returning starter for a Longhorns team that’s third in early national title odds, behind Georgia and Ohio State. Texas is now a member of the SEC, increasing the spotlight while also ramping up the difficulty of its regular season schedule. Ewers is behind Beck in early Heisman odds. He threw for 3,479 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. 

Oregon QB Dillon Gabriel 

Gabriel’s collegiate career began in 2019 at UCF. He had two productive seasons and was in the midst of a third when he suffered a season-ending collarbone injury. After healing up, he transferred to Oklahoma, accounting for 42 total TDs. He’s now off to Oregon. The Ducks join the Big Ten this season and have high hopes, currently ranked fourth in national title odds.      

Ohio State QB Will Howard 

Howard spent last season with Kansas State and accounted for 33 total touchdowns, with the Wildcats closing at 8-4. He has transferred to Ohio State for his senior season and is pencilled in as the Week 1 starter for a Buckeyes club that has both Big Ten and national title ambitions.   

Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders 

The arrival of head coach Deion Sanders led to plenty of hype for the Buffaloes heading into 2023. The team provided some thrills during a 3-0 start, but it was downhill from there for a 4-8 finish. Meanwhile, the QB proved that he was much more than the coach’s kid. Sanders delivered many electric moments and enters the season with heightened expectations.   

Colorado CB Travis Hunter 

Hunter is a rare two-way player. He was one of Colorado’s leading receivers last season, hauling in 57 catches for 721 yards and five TDs. On defense, he racked up 23 solo tackles and three interceptions. Hunter is outside of the top 20 in early Heisman odds, but his potential on both sides of the ball is attracting interest from bettors. 

Will the new CFP format shake up the Heisman race? 

The field for the College Football Playoff will expand this season. Since the format’s inception in 2014, just four teams a year have qualified. That number will increase to 12 for the 2024 campaign. While marquee programs will likely control a good portion of the mix, the doors are open for many smaller programs to remain in the hunt as the season moves along. 

The same could hold true for the Heisman race. There’s a handful of clear early favorites, but the chase as a whole appears to be wide open. Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, and USC account for eight of the last nine Heisman winners. The lone outlier over that span was Lamar Jackson in 2016, who had a special individual season as Louisville went 9-4. 

Photo by Associated Press