Heisman Trophy Odds, Picks: Kyle McCord, Harold Perkins Highlight Top Longshots

Heisman Trophy Odds, Picks: Kyle McCord, Harold Perkins Highlight Top Longshots article feature image

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord.

From the time Caleb Wiliams burst onto the scene as a true freshman at Oklahoma and wrestled away the starting job from Spencer Rattler, it seemed inevitable that he would win the Heisman Trophy at some point during his college career.

He did so last year after he turned in a monster season following a transfer to USC. By winning the Heisman last season, he also proved to be an exception given recent history.

Five of the seven Heisman winners prior to last season entered with odds of 20-1 or longer. Williams was 7-1 entering last season. This season, he's the betting favorite to repeat at +500 at both BetMGM and FanDuel.

However, Archie Griffin remains the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner. Barring the greatest season in college football history, Williams likely won't win the Heisman again this year.

New stars emerge in college football every year and wow us on Saturdays. I have my eye on a quarterback battle in Columbus along with an emerging defender in Baton Rouge.

Let's begin in Columbus.

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Kyle McCord +2200 · Devin Brown +8000

Over the last decade, Ohio State has emerged as one of the premier destinations for wide receiver recruits. Michael Thomas and Terry McLaurin have developed into NFL stars after being Day 2 picks in the NFL Draft, while Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba were all first-round picks over the last two years with Wilson winning Offensive Rookie of the Year last season.

Marvin Harrison Jr. may be better than all of them.

Last season, Harrison emerged as the team's No. 1 target after Smith-Njigba missed most of the season with a hamstring injury. He finished with 77 receptions for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. Harrison now enters the year at +2700 to win the Heisman at FanDuel.

However, those odds aren't reflective of his actual chances.

Over the last 40 years, Tim Brown, Desmond Howard and DeVonta Smith are the only receivers to win the Heisman Trophy. In Smith's case, he likely doesn't win the award if not for an injury to Jaylen Waddle, which led to a higher target share for him.

Harrison has to share targets with Emeka Egbuka, who's also one of the premier receivers in college football. Harrison arguably became the best player on Ohio State's offense last year, but the player in contention for the Heisman was quarterback C.J. Stroud, who is now a Houston Texan.

This season, Ohio State's starting quarterback will be either Kyle McCord or Devin Brown. McCord was a five-star recruit in the 2021 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He has completed 70.6% of his passes for 606 yards to go with three touchdowns and two interceptions over his first two seasons, making one start in that span.

Brown was a four-star recruit and the No. 44 overall prospect in the 2022 class, per 247. He redshirted after appearing in just one game last season. He was regarded as the better athlete of the two.

However, McCord is the presumed starter entering fall camp, which is why his odds are shorter. He's also a former high school teammate of Harrison, which may be another feather in his cap in this race.

Either way, whoever wins the job should emerge as a viable Heisman contender.

In addition to having one of the best wide receiver rooms in America at their disposal, Ryan Day's offensive system will allow his starting quarterback to put up big numbers.

In the last four full seasons, Ohio State's starting quarterback has averaged 4,057 yards passing and 44 touchdowns through the air. Dwayne Haskins and Justin Fields finished third in Heisman voting in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and Stroud finished fourth and third over the last two seasons. Fields also finished seventh in voting in the shortened 2020 season.

If McCord or Brown replicates that production, they'll be one of the favorites to win the Heisman — especially considering that Ohio State will likely contend in the College Football Playoff race once again.

Harold Perkins Jr. +15000

I mentioned how difficult it is for wide receivers to win the Heisman Trophy, but it's even harder for defensive players. Charles Woodson is the only primary defensive player to ever win the award, but he also had to play receiver and return punts to do so.

Last season, Will Anderson Jr. was among the preseason favorites to win at +1500, and I faded him. He didn't finish in the top 10, though Alabama's "disappointing" season — by its standards — didn't help.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young finished fourth in Heisman voting in 2019 on a Buckeyes team that made the College Football Playoff, but a historic season from Joe Burrow hurt his chances. Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson then finished second in 2021 when the Wolverines made the CFP for the first time.

For a defensive player to win the Heisman, he must dominate in every aspect and his team must have a chance to win the national title.

LSU linebacker Harold Perkins Jr. may check both of those boxes this season.

Perkins was a five-star recruit and the eighth-ranked prospect in the class of 2022, and it didn't take long for him to make his presence felt as one of the nation's best defenders. As a true freshman last season, he racked up 72 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception. Most notably, he had eight tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in a win over Arkansas to burst onto the national scene.

While still very much a longshot, Perkins enters 2023 as the favorite defensive player to win the award. Perkins is strong against the run, can cover and is an outstanding pass rusher already. His skill set reminds me of Dallas Cowboys star Micah Parsons.

He may already be the best defensive player in the country, which isn't new for an LSU program that has seen Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Derek Stingley Jr. walk through its facility. Mathieu finished fifth in Heisman voting in 2011.

LSU is ninth on both Action Network's Preseason College Football Betting Power Ratings and Phil Steele's Preseason Top 25. However, it's tied for the fourth-best odds to win the national title at +1000 at FanDuel.

The Tigers will have a few notable games to help both their CFP chances and Perkins' Heisman candidacy. They kick off the season in Orlando against Florida State in what should be a preseason Top 10 matchup. They'll then face bitter rival Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 4. Should LSU beat Alabama and/or win the SEC West, it will likely face Georgia in the SEC Championship.

If Perkins can replicate or surpass last year's Arkansas performance against Alabama or Georgia and LSU wins those games, he could find himself on the short list of candidates to win the Heisman.

For the season, he'll likely need a stat line in the neighborhood of 15 sacks, five forced fumbles and a couple of interceptions. At the very least, you may have a nice cash-out offer if he's in contention in November.

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