2023 Heisman Trophy Odds: Michael Penix Jr. the new betting favorite entering Week 7


Heisman Trophy Race: Michael Penix Jr. is the new betting favorite entering Week 7

Caleb Williams was the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy before the 2023 season began, but Michael Penix Jr. has moved out in front entering Week 7. Penix Jr. has had a huge year for Washington, and people seem hungry to see a new winner emerge. But there’s still a lot of football to be played. Each week, I’ll dive into the prices and analyze how I’d play this market for the remainder of the season. It’s important to see what type of stats a player has racked up already, but how will they do the rest of the way? I’ll get into that — and a lot more — here! 


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Heisman Trophy Candidates

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. +210 (was +380)

The Huskies had a bye week in Week 6, but Penix Jr. still jumped in front of Williams. It’s actually pretty interesting considering Williams put up somewhat big numbers and helped his team win an emotional game. But either way, there’s a new name at the top of the board. And Week 7 will either keep him there the rest of the season or bury him quite a bit. Washington is facing Oregon in a massive Pac-12 showdown this week. If Penix Jr. leads the Huskies to a win, it’s hard to envision him giving up the top spot in the near future. After this week, Washington faces Arizona State and Stanford. Those are two games the Huskies should really win. But I wouldn’t bet Penix Jr. in this market because he ends the year against USC, Utah and Oregon State. I think the Huskies can potentially lose two of those three games, which would make it difficult for him to win. 

USC QB Caleb Williams +230 (was +180) 

The oddsmakers must really hate Arizona. Last week, Williams threw for 219 yards with a touchdown and no picks, while also rushing for 41 yards and three scores in a triple overtime win over the Wildcats. He really showed a lot of heart in leading USC to that win, but Vegas clearly thought it was a lackluster performance against mediocre competition. Now, Williams is second on the odds board to win the Heisman. And while I like these odds a little more than last week’s, I still wouldn’t bet him moving forward. I’m not a big believer in USC’s ability to make the College Football Playoff, as the Trojans defense is atrocious. I see USC potentially losing another two games, which would probably take him out of contention here. 

RELATED: Check out our Week 7 Betting Hub for best bets and stories for the week ahead

Oregon QB Bo Nix +600 (was +900) 

Of the three top names on the odds board, I think Nix represents the most value. Of course, it would have been better to get him when he was north of +2000 odds. But he still has a real shot at winning, as he is the leader of an elite Oregon offense. Nix has thrown for 1,459 yards with 15 touchdowns and only one pick this year, and he has also rushed for a score. And Nix will now get a chance to go into Washington and beat the Huskies on the road. If he does that, the Ducks will be the favorites to win the Pac-12. And that would give Nix a really good chance of winning this thing. I believe Oregon is the best of the bunch when you compare the Ducks to the Trojans and Huskies. So, I think Oregon has the best chance of navigating the rest of the schedule and giving the quarterback a chance. 

Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel +1200 (was +2000) 

Last week, Gabriel threw for 285 yards with a touchdown and no picks in a win over Texas in the Red River Showdown. Gabriel also rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown in that game. On top of that, he led a game-winning drive for the Sooners to upset the Longhorns in that one. That truly felt like the first Heisman moment of the season. With that in mind, I like Gabriel at this current number. There’s a real chance Oklahoma wins out and finishes the year undefeated, which would give the Sooners a shot at making the College Football Playoff. Considering Gabriel’s big numbers this season, that should be enough for him to contend with some of the favorites right now. I also think we’ll see some more big days out of the lefty the rest of the way, as he’ll face a few soft Big 12 defenses. 

Florida QB Jordan Travis +1600 (was +1500) 

Travis is playing for a team that feels like it’s on its way to making the College Football Playoff. However, the dual-threat quarterback hasn’t been making many plays. He has put up pedestrian numbers since throwing for 342 yards with five total touchdowns in a Week 1 win over LSU. And it’s going to take a few games in which he really lights it up in order for him to get himself back in the conversation. Fortunately for Travis, he does get a matchup against a soft Syracuse defense this week. And he’ll have a few more chances to make statements, with games against Duke, Miami and Florida still on the schedule. Travis is running out of time in this race. But I wouldn’t say he’s completely out of it. 

North Carolina QB Drake Maye +1800 (was +2800) 

I haven’t mentioned Maye much this season, but the Tar Heels quarterback is suddenly in the picture. Last week, Maye threw for 442 yards with three touchdowns and no picks in a win over Syracuse. He also added 55 yards and a touchdown on the ground. North Carolina is 5-0 entering this week’s meeting with a very good Miami team, and a win in this game will suddenly have people thinking about the Tar Heels winning the ACC — and possibly even contending for a spot in the College Football Playoff. And I do think there’s a good chance the Heels beat the Hurricanes, so I don’t hate Maye at this price. The North Carolina passing game should only get better as Tez Walker gets more comfortable in the offense. 

LSU QB Jayden Daniels +3500 (was +2500) 

This one feels like it might get away soon, but Daniels is +3500 this week after being only +2500 last week. That means that the oddsmakers clearly believe his peers moved in front of him, but he had something of a shot last week. And he did throw for 259 yards with three touchdowns and no picks, while rushing for 130 yards and a score, in a road win over a good Missouri team. If he continues to shred opposing teams, it’s going to be hard to ignore him. The problem is that the Tigers absolutely must win out, which isn’t going to be easy. But I do like him as a flier at these odds because of the change in price from last week. He didn’t personally do anything to hurt his chances. 

Out of the Race

Last week, I had Cameron Ward, Quinn Ewers and Sam Hartman mentioned in here. However, it’s hard to envision any of the three making their way back in the conversation now. Ward completed only 48.7% of his passes for 197 yards with one touchdown and two picks in a loss to UCLA. And it feels certain that Washington State has another loss or two on its schedule. Ewers also saw his team suffering a defeat, with Oklahoma beating Texas in the Red River Showdown. Texas’ emerging running game was already hurting his candidacy, and I can’t see him making a run at this anymore. Meanwhile, Hartman and Notre Dame already have two losses this year. Maybe he’ll light up an undefeated USC team that has a bad defense, but the Fighting Irish have two losses and I don’t think Hartman would be in the race even if they win out. 

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