Heisman watch: How finalists' odds stack up ahead of Saturday's trophy ceremony

The Heisman Trophy is one of the most recognizable and prestigious trophies in sports.
The Heisman Trophy is one of the most recognizable and prestigious trophies in sports.

Dozens of practices, three and a half months of games, and countless hours of film study have all led to four college football stars vying for the sport's highest individual award: the Heisman Trophy.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, Oregon quarterback Bo Nix, Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. will all head to New York City for the Heisman Trophy Ceremony Saturday night.

Those four have been high up the Heisman odds for much of the season. Penix Jr., Nix, and Daniels all led the Heisman rankings at some point in 2023, with Harrison Jr. making his way into the top four before rivalry week.

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Heisman voting closed Monday night for the 928 votes and the Heisman odds closed in most sportsbooks after that. Here's how the Heisman odds looked at closing Monday ahead of Saturday night's Heisman Trophy ceremony, per odds information provided by BetMGM:

1. Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU (-1400)

Daniels completed an all-time season in 2023. The Tigers' quarterback has an FBS-best 4,946 yards through LSU's 12 games. That raw total is good enough for 31st all-time in college football history. But only three players have had more yards than Daniels in 12 or fewer games:

  • BYU quarterback Ty Detmer (5,022 yards in 12 games in 1990)

  • Houston quarterback David Klingler (5,221 yards in 11 games in 1990)

  • Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5,337 yards in 12 games in 2016)

If you look at per-game yardage totals, Daniels is 11th all-time at 412.2 total yards.

He's the quarterback of the most productive offense in the country. He finished the regular season with 50 total touchdowns, a 208 passer rating, and 8.4 yards per rushing attempt, all the top marks in the FBS despite not playing in a conference championship game.

No. 13 LSU didn't have the same team success as the others represented in the top four. But it's undeniable that Daniels has had an outstanding 2023 season.

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2. Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington (+900)

Penix Jr. led the Heisman odds for much of the season thanks to a high-flying Huskies offense that came out of the gate strong. He had at least 300 yards passing in each of No. 2 Washington's first six games and threw at least four touchdowns in four of those six matchups.

His production tailed off in the second half of the season, though, and he slipped behind in the Heisman rankings. Through the first six games of the season, he averaged 383.5 passing yards and just over three touchdowns per game; those averages dropped to 266.3 and two over the last six games of the regular season.

But Penix Jr. and Washington came up big as underdogs in the Pac-12 championship game against Oregon. The fifth-year quarterback had another 300-yard game and the Huskies took care of business. That decisive victory guaranteed a spot in the College Football Playoff, and the Huskies will play No. 4 Texas in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 1.

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3. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon (+2200)

Nix was the Heisman odds favorite ahead of the Pac-12 title game and looked poised to take it with a win over Washington. But No. 8 Oregon couldn't pull through and will play in the Fiesta Bowl against No. 20 Liberty.

Daniels has put up incredible numbers in 2023 but Nix has been right there with him for most of the season. He finished the 2023 regular season leading the FBS in completion percentage (77.2), tied for first in passing touchdowns (40), and second in passer rating (186.2) and passing yards (4,145).

Oregon finished the season right behind LSU in total offense and points scored per game. The Ducks likely fell one game short of making Nix the second Heisman Trophy winner in program history.

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4. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State (+20000)

Harrison Jr.'s the only player among the Heisman candidates to not lead the odds in 2023. The Ohio State receiver saw a big bump in odds after an incredible performance against Michigan State − seven catches, 149 yards, and two touchdowns plus a 19-yard rushing touchdown − but the No. 6 Buckeyes couldn't get past Michigan in rivalry week.

He finished ninth in the FBS in receiving yards (1,211) and tied for second in receiving touchdowns (14). Harrison Jr. couldn't match the likes of LSU wideouts Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. in those categories, respectively. This nomination is more of a nod to his impact on the game and how opposing defenses played the Buckeyes.

His odds reflect the low likelihood he'll be the fifth wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy ever and the first to win since DeVonta Smith in 2020 but he's rightfully in New York as a Heisman candidate.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2023 Heisman Trophy contenders: How finalists stack up before ceremony