J.J. McCarthy noses ahead as Heisman Trophy favorite

Field Level Media

October 23, 2023 at 5:25 pm.

Michael Penix Jr.’s perch atop the Heisman Trophy favorites was shortlived — for now, at least.

As we’ve seen in this year’s Heisman Trophy race, the picture can change dramatically from week to week.

Penix emerged as the new favorite following Washington’s win over Oregon on Oct. 14. The Huskies remained undefeated on Saturday, albeit in ugly fashion, in a 17-5 win over one-win Arizona State in which Penix threw two interceptions and no touchdowns.

Earlier in the day, Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw four touchdowns in the Wolverines’ 49-0 dismantling of rival Michigan State.

That was enough to elevate McCarthy to Heisman favorite status at most sportsbooks. McCarthy is +240, ahead of Penix (+320) and LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (+340) at DraftKings. That also includes at BetMGM, where he is now +240 ahead of Penix at +300. Penix does remain third at the book, having been backed by 11.2 percent of the money wagered on the Heisman winner.

It has been a steady rise for McCarthy, who opened as a +2500 longshot and has still drawn just 6.0 percent of the money. However, he has continued to climb throughout the season in which McCarthy has thrown for 18 touchdowns against three interceptions while several other marquee stars have tumbled.

That includes reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, whose quest to join Archie Griffin as the only two-time winners hit a wall with Southern Cal’s consecutive losses to Notre Dame and Utah. Williams, who opened as the +500 favorite to repeat, is now +10000 — tied for 10th at the book.

Williams remains BetMGM’s third biggest liability, following Colorado teammates Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter, whose Heisman stocks have plummeted amid the Buffaloes’ three losses over their past four games. Sanders is now +25000 while Hunter was removed from the board after missing multiple games due to injury.

Others who remain firmly in the Heisman picture included Daniels (+375), Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis (+800) and Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel (+1200). The top non-quarterback is currently Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who is being offered at +2000 along with Oregon quarterback Bo Nix.

Also off the board this week is Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers, who is expected to miss multiple weeks with a shoulder injury.

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