Updated Heisman Trophy Odds: Florida’s Kyle Trask Opens Door for Alabama’s Jones, Smith
Tim Casey/Collegiate Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Florida’s Kyle Trask, Dan Mullen
The Heisman Trophy has seemingly been Florida quarterback Kyle Trask’s award to lose with COVID-19 limiting games for preseason favorites Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State QB Justin Fields.
For the first time in a month, it looks like Trask might’ve done just that.
With one week left to persuade voters, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is alone at the top of oddsboards as a consensus -200 favorite to win the Heisman, jumping Trask ahead of the SEC Championship game.
But Jones might not be the player Trask has to worry about catching.
DeVonta Smith has been lurking in the betting market for weeks, sitting as long as 66-1 to win the award on November 15. That was following the cancelled game against LSU, but it was the make-up against the Tigers that jolted Smith into the conversation.
He hauled in eight catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns on Dec. 5 to moved from 50-1 to 22-1. And while a Heisman moment usually doesn’t come in a 52-3 win over an unranked team, Smith’s punt return touchdown went viral and led the floodgates opening on the Razorbacks.
Jones didn’t do anything to lose consideration, but there was no special moment to shoot him to the top of the market. He completed 24-of-29 passes for 208 yards and no turnovers. He didn’t throw a touchdown either, which led to more attention on Smith. For an award that can be driven by narrative, though, quarterbacking the nation’s best team is often an automatic qualifier for a seat at the head of the table.
Instead, it was a hiccup by Trask — and more specifically, Florida — that caused a change. Trask wasn’t perfect in against LSU on Saturday; he threw two interceptions, but also had 474 yards and four touchdowns (two rushing). But Florida losing to unranked LSU — a team Jones threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns against in a 55-17 win — put a dent in Trask’s chances.
Trask’s numbers are still worthy. Once a 50-1 longshot, Trask led the nation with 3,717 yards and 40 touchdowns. He threw just five interceptions, but it’s poor timing to throw two your second-to-last game.
Those numbers are better across the board than Jones, who threw for 3,321 yards and 27 touchdowns, both ranking top five in the nation. His 96.0 QBR tops everyone in the country, including Trask’s 90.3 rating.
But the individual award often comes down to team play.
The Gators have two losses with a third on deck against No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Florida opened as a 13.5-point dog on lookahead lines, but that number’s risen to 17.5 at time of publish. Trask has the chance at his Heisman moment, but it’ll take an extraordinary effort by him and his team. Only one of those things he can control.
In a 7 PM primetime window with the college football world watching, it may come down to who is more impressive on Saturday between Jones and Smith.
If Jones puts up numbers, a majority of them are likely to go to Smith, who has more than half of Jones’ touchdowns with 15. Add that to 1,327 yards on 83 receptions, a rushing touchdown and a punt return touchdown and Smith checks a lot of boxes for an upset over a quarterback.
Recency bias? You’d think, with 771 yards and 11 touchdowns in his last five games. But Smith also performed in what could be considered Alabama’s biggest win of the year in October. He caught 11 balls for 167 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-24 win over then-No. 3 Georgia.
Then again, how much value is still there? Smith is down to +200 at DraftKings, +250 at PointsBet and +500 at FanDuel. A receiver hasn’t won the award since Desmond Howard in 1991. Smith wasn’t even born until 1998.
Here we are with one game left featuring a showdown of Heisman contenders all in one place. Trask has the best stats. Jones plays the most important position for the best team. Smith may be the best player in the country.
Put yourself in a Heisman voter’s shoes and take your pick.