Jake’s Takes: Top Heisman Candidates

August 15, 2023

Jake’s Takes: Top Heisman Candidates

Jake Moszkowski delves into five players who represent betting value in the Heisman Trophy betting market.

The Favorite: Caleb Williams (+500 / +550)

Williams’ candidacy is quite simple. He won the 2022 Heisman Trophy and he’s the current favorite to win again in 2023. If Williams managed the feat, he’d join Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only player ever to win the award twice. Last season, Williams threw for 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns against only 5 interceptions, while also scoring 10 touchdowns on the ground. For him to repeat, he’ll need to come close to replicating those numbers again.

The Underappreciated: Jordan Travis (+1200 / +1600)

Florida State won 10 games last year with Travis at QB. The underappreciated quarterback threw for 3,200 yards and 24 touchdowns against 5 interceptions, while also rushing for 417 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. FSU’s offense is expected to be tremendous this season, featuring perhaps the best running back in college football in Trey Benson along with an NFL-quality TE in Jaheim Bell. Oh, and the Seminoles are expected to have a trio of star wide receivers, led by the 6’7” Johnny Wilson and the 6’4” transfer Keon Coleman, buffeted by 6’3” incoming freshman Hykeem Williams.

Wagering on NFL preseason action? Read our trading insights to get in to find out how sportsbooks set the lines for preseason games.

The Non-QB Star: Marvin Harrison Jr. (+1800 / +3000)

It’s nearly universally accepted that Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best wide receiver in college football right now. He would’ve likely been the first wideout off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft had he been eligible. I’d argue the point further - he’s the best non-Caleb Williams player in college football. With former Alabama WR DeVonta Smith winning the award in 2020, I’d say MHJ could absolutely do it this season. Smith posted a 117/1856/23 stat-line for the Crimson Tide that year, and I think Harrison could chase those numbers. MHJ had 77/1263/14 last season, and he could improve upon those numbers with a young QB who’s going to target him early and often. 

The Longshot: Joe Milton III (+2200 / +2500)

Milton will be a first-time starter for Tennessee this season, but there’s been nonstop buzz around him during the offseason. He threw for over 1,000 yards at Michigan back in 2020, then backed up Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker for two seasons in Tennessee. Why is Milton such a popular longshot bet? For starters, he looked awesome last season in the Orange Bowl, throwing for 251 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions while completing a high percentage (68%) of his passes. At 6’5” and 236 lbs, Milton will inevitably draw comparisons to former SEC QB Cam Newton, who had a similarly powerful arm while being an explosive rusher. 

Want every Jake's Takes delivered straight to your inbox? Enter your email address into the box below and you won't miss a beat.

The Transcendent Tight End: Brock Bowers (+6000 / +6500)

The last time a TE won the Heisman Trophy was in 1949. Before Florida’s Kyle Pitts (taken 4th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft) finished 10th in the 2020 Heisman voting process, the last TE to finish in the top-10 was Ken MacAfee of Notre Dame in 1977. Bowers has a chance to change the perception of tight ends in the Heisman Race, as I believe he’s an offensive weapon that’s nearly (not quite) in the same tier as Marvin Harrison Jr. He’s a top-5 offensive player in college football this year, who should be a top-10 NFL draft pick next year. He just posted a 63/942/9 stat line as Georgia’s leading receiver, while also rushing for 100+ yards and 3 touchdowns. If Bowers once again leads the Bulldogs in receiving while breaking 1,000 yards, he’ll get votes.