Heisman Trophy Odds and Favorites: Making the Case for Caleb Williams and Max Duggan

Despite both tasting defeat, the odds are that Max Duggan or Caleb Williams will win the Heisman Trophy, and you can make a case for both quarterbacks.

The closest Heisman Trophy race in recent seasons came down to Championship Weekend, with two gritty, determined performances from the leading protagonists. Will it be Caleb Williams or Max Duggan lifting the award in New York on Saturday? Let’s check out the latest Heisman Trophy betting odds for the final time this season.

Heisman Trophy Odds Heading Into Week 15 of College Football

Perseverance. Diligence. The pursuit of excellence with integrity.

Yes, the Heisman Trophy is the award for the most outstanding player in college football. However, when trying to decide who is deserving of the highest individual accolade in the sport and deciphering the odds ahead of the ceremony in New York, you have to understand the mantra of the Heisman Trophy Trust.

The case for Max Duggan

Perseverance. Diligence. The pursuit of excellence with integrity.

If you sat down to watch the Big 12 Championship on Saturday afternoon, you will have been left with no doubt that TCU quarterback Max Duggan is the living, breathing, battling, and epitome of the Heisman Trophy mantra. Duggan has helped engineer one of the most unlikely storylines of the season. In front of a national audience, he produced one of the most sensational performances of the year.

Duggan has battled the odds all year in his quest to deliver a Big 12 Championship and national recognition to the program and, as a by-product, earn a spot as a Heisman Trophy finalist. That battle, that fight, manifested itself as a series of “Heisman moments” in AT&T Stadium with the eyes of college football upon him.

Down 28-20 late in the fourth quarter, bloodied and exhausted from battle, Duggan produced several huge plays. Strapping the team on his back, the TCU quarterback opened the drive with a 15-yard run. After two pass plays resulted in a loss of five yards, another 13-yard scamper left the Horned Frogs staring defeat in the face with a 4th-and-2 inside their own territory with less than four minutes remaining in the game.

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After seeing a pass to Jordan Hudson that set TCU up deep in the red zone ruled out for pass interference, Duggan produced the highlight play of the game. Breaking free on 2nd-and-20, the Horned Frogs QB sprinted as fast as his legs would carry him down the sideline for a 40-yard gain. Barely breathing, barely able to walk, Duggan finished the drive with an eight-yard run and two-point conversion to tie it up.

Although the Horned Frogs came up short of the title in overtime, results certainly haven’t been an issue for Duggan as he seeks to overcome the odds and become TCU’s first Heisman Trophy winner since Davey O’Brien. Throwing for 3,321 yards and 30 touchdowns, he’s been the key component of the program’s undefeated regular season despite starting the year as the backup to Chandler Morris.

Duggan has battled heart surgery, a follow-up emergency surgery, and foot injuries since the beginning of the 2020 season. While that alone shouldn’t factor into his bid for the 2022 Heisman Trophy, it helps further piece together a picture that demonstrates the toughness, drive, and desire that has embodied his play in this most remarkable of seasons for TCU.

Duggan could have made excuses for the defeat. Holding and pass interference penalties halted TCU’s progress. A questionable spot of the ball in overtime led to two failed attempts to get into the end zone.

Visibly distressed, bordering on inconsolable in the aftermath, Duggan had an armory of excuses yet shouldered the blame himself — the epitome of the pursuit of excellence with integrity.

The case for Caleb Williams

With odds of -2200 as per FanDuel Sportsbook, USC quarterback Caleb Williams finished the season as the Heisman Trophy finalist. Although he had to watch his odds lessen slightly as the weekend progressed, the former Oklahoma quarterback has a stellar chance of becoming the latest Lincoln Riley-coached QB to land the award for the most outstanding CFB player.

Williams has made the unbelievable a routine element of his Heisman Trophy résumé this season. There isn’t a quarterback in the entire country who possesses his elite athletic ability combined with awe-inspiring arm talent. The result has been insane play and after insane play, especially down the stretch run of the season.

From eye of the needle throws into tight windows, through downfield bombs placed with accuracy, to the Houdini-esque acts of escapology and pocket manipulation, Williams’ highlight reel from this season is worthy of a Broadway show, let alone the small film clip that will accompany him to the presentation ceremony in New York this Saturday.

Williams’ 4,075 passing yards and 47 touchdowns are statistical evidence of his success this season. But it’s the way that he’s been able to effortlessly embarrass opposing defenses that is his legacy as it pertains to college football’s top accolade.

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Despite the defeat to Utah — the second defeat of the season to the back-to-back Pac-12 champions — those plays that have come to define Williams’ ascension to the head of the Heisman Trophy odds race were there in abundance.

A 50-yard toss to Tahj Washington helped the Trojans open the scoring on their first drive. On the second drive, Williams’ 59-yard run was the perfect demonstration of what he brings to the field as a dynamic dual-threat quarterback.

Williams ended the night with three touchdowns and 363 yards, but as often has been the case this season, USC’s defense wasn’t up to the task.

Carrying a leg injury, Williams simply wasn’t able to conjure up the same magic to overcome the defensive shortcomings. The fact that he tried to fight on demonstrates the perseverance that epitomizes the Heisman Trophy mantra.

He might have come up short of delivering a long-awaited Pac-12 return to the College Football Playoff, but Williams won’t come up short of being a Heisman Trophy finalist. Furthermore, he stands a very good chance of bringing the award home to Southern California for the first time since 2005.

Current Heisman Trophy Odds

  • Caleb Williams, QB, USC -2200
  • Max Duggan, QB, TCU +2000
  • Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia +3000
  • C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State +5000
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