Nothing says college football offseason quite like gambling. Win totals, early point spreads, and Heisman favorites are among the annual summer traditions. Chuck Bednarik Award odds are a new one, however. According to Caesars, Micah Parsons and Yetur Gross-Matos are among the favorites to take home the award for the top defender in the nation.
Other than the field, only two players have better odds than Parsons, with just four having better odds than Gross-Matos.
As a freshman, Parsons started just one game while learning the intricacies of linebacker, but still led the Nittany Lions in tackles over the year. Entering his second season, the former five-star prospect has begun to take an ownership role on Brent Pry's defense, and appears primed for an even bigger breakout this fall.
Gross-Matos is no stranger to sophomore season breakouts himself. In his second year, the former four-star defensive end out of Virginia accounted for 54 tackles, including an astounding 20 TFLs and eight sacks. The spotlight, and attention from opposing offenses will only go up this year as he looks to fulfill the lofty expectations.
A pair of Big Ten defensive ends, Ohio State's Chase Young and Iowa's A.J. Epenesa, are the only two to have better odds than Parsons. Gross-Matos is topped only by those three players, and LSU safety Grant Delpit.
Three Nittany Lions have taken home the award previously. Lavar Arrington won in 1999. Paul Posluszny went back to back in 2005 and 2006, with Dan Connor making it three straight years in 2007.