Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) runs against Florida during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game in Atlanta. Smith has been named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
- The 2020 Heisman Trophy ceremony takes place virtually on Tuesday, January 5th at 7:00 PM EST
- Alabama WR DeVonta Smith is heavily favored to win the prestigious trophy
- See the updated Heisman odds and betting analysis ahead of the ceremony
Odds suggest that the 2020 Heisman Trophy is DeVonta Smith’s to lose. The Alabama wide receiver is a massive -1000 favorite heading into the virtual ceremony on Tuesday, January 5th (7:00 PM EST).
Smith was a huge underdog in the race for the majority of the season, but an unfortunate team injury opened the door for the senior to become the first receiver to win the award since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991.
Is Smith really a shoo-in to win the trophy like the updated odds suggest?
2020 Heisman Trophy Odds
|DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)||-1000|
|Mac Jones (QB, Alabama)||+550|
|Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)||+1000|
|Kyle Trask (QB, Florida)||+5000|
Odds as of Jan. 5 at DraftKings.
Smith’s Remarkable Heisman Journey
DeVonta Smith may be the prohibitive betting favorite heading into the 2020 Heisman ceremony, but it certainly wasn’t that way for most of the season. The Alabama wide receiver was a +5000 longshot for the majority of the year and only seriously started to gain traction in the race after a monstrous showing against LSU in Week 14.
DEVONTA SMITH IS RIDICULOUS pic.twitter.com/NhCkPJAccB
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 6, 2020
One of the reasons oddsmakers viewed Smith as such a longshot by was due to the track record of this trophy. Quarterbacks have taken home nine of the last 10 Heismans, and no receiver has won the award since Michigan’s Desmond Howard accomplished the feat back in 1991.
Despite the track record of the award, Smith has more than proven he’s more than deserving of the trophy. Ever since Jaylen Waddle went down with injury in October, Smith has stepped up and been the MVP of this Alabama powerhouse. The senior leads the nation with a whopping 1,641 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in 12 games.
Mac Jones Provides Stiffest Competition
Smith’s toughest competition for the trophy comes in the form of a teammate. Alabama QB Mac Jones is listed at +550 heading into the ceremony after a terrific season that saw him set an NCAAF record with a 95.8 QBR.
“That’s a Rat Poison question”
Mac Jones responds to a question about the Heisman Trophy ceremony after Alabama’s Rose Bowl win. pic.twitter.com/zwbLbAvTI6
— Patrick Greenfield (@PCGreenfield) January 2, 2021
Unlike Smith, Jones was actually one of the top favorites for the trophy early in the year. He was listed at +500 in the opening 2020 Heisman odds and become a top favorite midway through the year once Justin Fields struggled and Trevor Lawrence tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s hard to blame oddsmakers for being big on Jones from the get-go. Being the starting quarterback on a loaded Alabama team meant Jones had a great chance to end up where he is now. The second-year pivot has had a phenomenal season, throwing for 4,036 yards and 36 touchdowns with four interceptions.
It’s Smith’s Heisman To Lose
The Heisman is technically awarded to the “most outstanding player in the country”, and that’s why all signs are pointing to Smith being the first receiver in over 30 years to win college football’s most prestigious trophy. From an incredible one-handed catch against LSU to an insane punt return against Arkansas, Smith is truly the most outstanding player in the country.
First career punt return TD for DeVonta Smith 👀
What can’t this guy do?! pic.twitter.com/W0cAYEtJBA
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 12, 2020
While history isn’t on Smith’s side, this 2020 season has been unlike one we’ve ever seen before. It would only make sense for this to be the year that voters prove the trophy hasn’t become a quarterback award and it will actually go to the player who is most deserving.
Jones had an exceptional season, but he didn’t have the “Heisman moments” to win over voters who may have been on the fence. There will also be those who discredit him due to the talent around him. Smith has caught over half of Jones’ TD passes this season.
The Associated Press’ college football player of the year voting is a good preview of how the Heisman voting could go. Smith finished first with 26 first-place votes and 114 points, while Jones was second with nine first-place votes and 67 points. I expect a closer finish in the Heisman voting, but Smith should have this in the bag.
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. His work has been published by outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports.