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Heisman Watch: Ohio State's C.J. Stroud now betting favorite ahead of Alabama's Bryce Young

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For the rest of the college football season, Yahoo Sports will highlight the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy on a weekly basis. All odds are via BetMGM.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is now the betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy.

Last week, Stroud had crept up to the No. 2 spot on the Heisman Trophy odds board at BetMGM thanks to an excellent performance against Purdue. He was even better over the weekend against No. 7 Michigan State.

Stroud completed 32-of-35 throws for 432 yards and six touchdowns in OSU’s 56-7 victory over the Spartans. Following the victory, Stroud surged past Alabama quarterback Bryce Young to the top of the Heisman odds board.

Stroud is now listed at -200, a significant move from +225 at this time last week. Young had his own stellar performance on Saturday, and is now listed at +150, a slight jump from +175. Those two have separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the eyes of the oddsmakers.

Stroud’s performance against Michigan State helped put the Buckeyes a step closer to the College Football Playoff. And he will have another chance to help his Heisman case on Saturday when Ohio State travels to Ann Arbor to face No. 6 Michigan.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud plays against Michigan State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud plays against Michigan State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

The Big Ten East division is on the line in that game and Stroud will have the chance to go up against a top 10 defense. If the Buckeyes win, they will head to the Big Ten title game — a game that would almost certainly lock up a playoff spot for OSU.

If Stroud continues to play at a high level on these big stages, it’s going to be hard for Heisman voters to ignore. But Young will have chances to make his own case.

Coming off a program-record 559 yards in last weekend’s 42-35 win over Arkansas, Young will get his first taste of the Iron Bowl on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. A win there keeps Alabama’s CFP hopes alive and well headed into a showdown with No. 1 Georgia in the SEC title.

If Young, as a redshirt freshman, can lead the Tide to an SEC championship and CFP berth with a win over mighty Georgia and its historic defense, it could be the kind of Heisman moment that gets talked about for years.

(Below are the current betting favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. Odds courtesy of BetMGM.)

Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud (-200)

Stroud is peaking at the right time. Over the past two weeks, Stroud has completed 63 of his 73 passing attempts (86.3%) for 793 yards and 11 touchdowns without an interception. Pretty good, right? For the year, the redshirt freshman is up to 3,468 yards and 36 touchdowns with just five interceptions with a completion percentage of 71.1. He ranks in the top 10 nationally in yards (8th), yards per attempt (4th), completion percentage (8th), touchdowns (4th), passer rating (2nd) and passing yards per game (6th).

Alabama QB Bryce Young (+150)

Young set Alabama’s single-game passing record on Saturday when he threw for 559 yards in the win over Arkansas. That record had stood since 1969. Additionally, Young is now holding the No. 2 spot in SEC history behind only Mississippi State’s K.J. Costello, who threw for 623 yards against LSU last year. Young, who also had five touchdown passes in the win, is up to 3,854 yards and 38 touchdowns with a 71.7 completion rate on the season. Like Stroud, he also ranks in the top 10 nationally in yards (6th), yards per attempt (6th), completion percentage (6th), touchdowns (2nd), passer rating (3rd) and passing yards per game (7th).

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws against Arkansas during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws against Arkansas during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Ole Miss QB Matt Corral (+1600)

On the heels of a big win over Texas A&M and with the Egg Bowl looming, Ole Miss cruised to a 31-17 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. In the win, Matt Corral had another good game. He threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns to help the Rebels improve to 9-2 on the year. Corral has been really good all year. He’s thrown for 3,100 yards and 19 touchdowns and has also rushed for 552 yards and 10 scores. He may not win the Heisman, but he’s had the kind of season that warrants discussion for a trip to New York City for the ceremony.

Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III (+2200)

On the other side of that Ohio State performance on Saturday was Michigan State. Not only was the defense torched by the Buckeyes, but the MSU offense was largely bottled up as well. Kenneth Walker had rushed for 100-plus yards in seven of MSU’s 10 games entering Saturday. That included 143 yards and two touchdowns against Maryland. But Walker also tweaked an ankle in that game and he was limited to just 25 yards on six carries against the Buckeyes. Despite that performance, Walker is only 18 yards behind Central Michigan’s Lew Nichols for the national rushing lead. Walker has 1,498 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year.

Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett (+4000)

Kenny Pickett led Pittsburgh to the ACC Coastal title on Saturday with a 48-38 win over Virginia. Pickett threw for 340 yards and four touchdowns in the win and now has eight 300-yard performances on the year. Already with 3,857 yards and 36 touchdowns under his belt, Pickett has next week’s regular season finale at Syracuse and the ACC title game left to impress voters. And if he can lead the Panthers to their first-ever ACC title, it will be hard for voters to leave Pickett off of their ballots.

Others on the radar

  • Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder (+5000)

  • Georgia DL Jordan Davis (+8000)

  • Alabama LB Will Anderson (+8000)

  • Ohio State RB TreVeyon Henderson (+10000)

  • Alabama RB Brian Robinson (+10000)

  • Alabama WR Jameson Williams (+10000)

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