Following Saturday night’s overtime win over Alabama, LSU is in the college football national title hunt.
Time will tell whether the Tigers’ 32-31 victory goes down as one of the best of all time between these two programs, but it was certainly the best game of the weekend, even if Georgia fans might beg to differ. And now, LSU has the eighth shortest odds to be holding the national championship trophy at the end of the year.
Bama, as a 13.5-point favorite, was expected to win comfortably. But from LSU’s early-game pick of Bryce Young in the Tigers’ own end zone, to the gutsy call by Brian Kelly to go for two and the win in overtime, the 2022 installment of this rivalry vastly exceeded expectations.
With two conference games remaining on their schedule – LSU takes on Arkansas next weekend, and hosts Texas A&M in the season finale on Nov. 26 – the Tigers have a clear path to a first-place finish in the division. Their odds to win the SEC, make the College Football Playoff and win the CFP are also all infinitely shorter than they were prior to this weekend.
Oddsmakers currently only offer futures bets to win the national championship (but not to win conferences or divisions). FiveThirtyEight, however, gives Brian Kelly’s team a 24% chance to win the SEC, a 15% chance to land a spot in the CFP, and a 3% chance to win the national title.
LSU’s national title odds range from +3300 (BetRivers) to +5000 (FanDuel)
Below are the Tigers’ current odds to win the national championship on January 9 in L.A.
On DraftKings, BetRivers and FanDuel, LSU has the eighth-shortest odds to win it all. Ironically enough, the team with the next-best odds, per those sportsbooks, is the Crimson Tide. On Caesars, just six teams have shorter odds than LSU.
Has Jayden Daniels entered the Heisman conversation?
Back in August, we asked whether Jayden Daniels might have a shot at a stunning Heisman campaign a la Joe Burrow’s in 2019. His preseason odds to win the trophy were +8000 (80-to-1). The conclusion of that piece was that no, Daniels did not have a shot.
One week into November, however, with his team ranked No. 7 and boasting a 7-2 record, Daniels has worked his way into Heisman contention.
On DraftKings, Daniels is +2000 to win the Heisman, behind the following players:
- Ohio State QB CJ Stroud (+200)
- Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker (+300)
- USC QB Caleb Williams (+650)
- Michigan RB Blake Corum (+750)
- Oregon QB Bo Nix (+800)
- UNC QB Drake Maye (+1200)
- Georgia QB Stetson Bennett (+1600)
LSU and Alabama are in similar positions not only in futures odds to win it all, but in the Heisman futures market as well. Young is right behind Daniels, at +2500, on DraftKings.
BetRivers, on the other hand, offers odds for 13 “contenders,” including three priced at +10000, but does not offer odds for Daniels.
Two other sportsbooks offering Heisman odds — FanDuel and Caesars — list Daniels at +1600.
The case for Daniels as a Heisman contender
Daniels is a good value bet at +1600 – and is even more tempting at +2000 – for a simple reason: his team has a great chance to be 10-2 going into a likely SEC Championship clash with Georgia. LSU will most likely be a double-digit favorite in all three remaining games, as Arkansas is 5-4 (2-3 SEC), UAB is 4-5 and Texas A&M is 3-6 (1-5 SEC).
If there’s one thing holding Daniels back, it’s his relatively pedestrian — but efficient — passing statistics. He has completed 69.8% of his passes for 1,994 yards and 14 touchdowns, and he’s only thrown one interception. The problem is that to win a Heisman, you need to throw for more touchdowns and more than the 221.6 yards per game that Daniels is averaging. Stroud, for example, has thrown for 2,453 yards and 29 touchdowns in nine games.
Daniels’ case is bolstered by his rushing numbers, though. Few quarterbacks on highly ranked teams have more than Daniels’ current total of 619 yards on the ground, and he’s added an impressive 10 rushing TDs. If Daniels manages to finish the regular season with 1,000 yards rushing and more than 30 total touchdowns (passing and rushing), he might just snag a ticket to the Heisman ceremony in New York after all.
AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman