Nearly two weeks before bowl season had concluded, oddsmakers were already looking forward to the following season. Paddy Power, a prominent sportsbook based in the United Kingdom, posted Heisman odds for the 2016 college football season. This development was somewhat perplexing given that many top candidates — including the reigning Heisman winner Derrick Henry — were expected to declare for the NFL Draft.
Roughly three weeks later, Bovada posted their own Heisman odds and there were several discrepancies. As expected, Henry declared for the NFL Draft and was removed from the list of Heisman hopefuls. Largely based on a strong performance in the national championship game, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson jumped from +800 to +450 to become the undisputed front-runner.
On September 9th, the market-setting Bookmaker.eu posted Heisman odds with $5,000 limits — significantly higher than any other offshore sportsbook. They initially listed Deshaun Watson (+301) as the favorite, but within one week he had been replaced by Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. The following week, a new front-runner emerged.
After tallying over 350 total yards and five touchdowns in a blowout victory over Florida State, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson saw his odds of winning the Heisman Trophy skyrocket. Although it seems like an overreaction at this point in the season, Jackson is currently +120 to win the Heisman at 5Dimes.
The table below compares the Heisman odds at 5Dimes, Bookmaker, Bovada and Paddy Power. It will be updated as more information becomes available.
|Player||Position||School||5Dimes (9/20)||CRIS (9/14)||CRIS (9/9)||Bovada (9/7)||5Dimes (8/29)||5Dimes (6/8)||Bovada (5/27)||Bovada (1/21)||Paddy Power (12/29)|
|JT Barrett||QB||Ohio State||+850||+627||+685||+550||+1400||+1500||+1000||+1000||+1400|
|Greg Ward Jr.||QB||Houston||+3300||+1410||+3000||+1000||+6000||+5000||N/A||N/A||+4000|
|Dalvin Cook||RB||Florida State||+3500||+1311||+1300||+800||+1200||+1400||+1200||+1200||+1200|
|Deondre Francois||QB||Florida State||+4000||+1309||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Patrick Mahomes||QB||Texas Tech||+5500||N/A||N/A||+2500||+4000||+3300||+3300||N/A||N/A|
|Brad Kaaya||QB||Miami Florida||+6500||N/A||N/A||+4000||+5000||+4000||+3300||+3300||+2500|
|Luke Falk||QB||Washington State||+6600||N/A||N/A||N/A||+5000||+4000||N/A||N/A||+2500|
|DeShone Kizer||QB||Notre Dame||+6600||+2531||+1750||+4000||+3300||+2800||N/A||N/A||+2000|
|Christian Kirk||WR||Texas A&M||+8000||N/A||N/A||N/A||+12500||+8000||N/A||N/A||+3300|
|Elijah Hood||RB||North Carolina||+8000||N/A||N/A||N/A||+6500||+5500||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Mason Rudolph||QB||Oklahoma State||+10000||N/A||N/A||N/A||+6000||+5000||N/A||N/A||+2500|
|Saquon Barkley||RB||Penn State||+10000||N/A||N/A||+6600||+6600||+7000||N/A||N/A||+4000|
|Donnel Pumphrey||RB||San Diego State||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+17500||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Chris Warren III||RB||Texas||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+13000||+10000||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|James Washington||WR||Oklahoma State||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+17500||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Chris Godwin||WR||Penn State||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+17500||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Myles Garrett||DE||Texas A&M||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+12500||+8000||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Brett Rypien||QB||Boise State||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+17500||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Malik Zaire||QB||Notre Dame||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+3500||+3500||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Justin Thomas||QB||Georgia Tech||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+15000||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
It’s interesting to note that the Heisman Trophy is usually awarded to a quarterback or running back with the exception of two tight ends (Larry Kelley, Leon Hart), two wide receivers (Desmond Howard, Tim Brown) and one defensive back (Charles Woodson).
The table below shows the recent winners of this award along with their odds and the first week that they were available as an option.
|2013||Jameis Winston||Florida State||Week 2||+600|
|2012||Johnny Manziel||Texas A&M||Week 8||+1200|
|2011||Robert Griffin III||Baylor||Pre-Season||+2800|
|2010||Cam Newton||Auburn||Week 3||+2000|
|2009||Mark Ingram||Alabama||Week 4||+3300|
Below was written in the preseason
When Paddy Power first posted their odds, I explained that LSU running back Leonard Fournette was being mispriced at +1000. Unfortunately, books quickly adjusted to this oversight, and Fournette is currently +650 at 5Dimes.
I believe that Houston’s Greg Ward Jr. (+6000) is an intriguing long shot candidate, and his odds could skyrocket with a Week 1 victory over Oklahoma. In his junior season, Ward racked up 2,590 passing yards and 1,041 rushing yards with 35 touchdowns versus just 5 interceptions.
The bad news? Almost every past Heisman winner has been from a power conference dating back to 1990 when BYU’s Ty Detmer took home the illustrious award. The good news? Ward wouldn’t be the first Cougar player to win the Heisman, as quarterback Andre Ware narrowly won back in 1989.
If you’re looking for somebody with shorter odds, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook (+1200) is an interesting candidate. Last season Cook ran for 1691 yards and 19 touchdowns, and the Seminoles will return essentially the same offensive line. With a freshman quarterback expected to start, Cook will be relied upon heavily and could potentially rush for over 2,000 yards.
I’m also partial to J.T. Barrett at 14/1. There has been lots of love for Michigan recently, but Ohio State is still the best team in that conference and Barrett should post great numbers as both a passer and rusher. With Ezekiel Elliott gone, Barrett will have ample opportunity to carry the offense.
Who do you think will take home the Heisman Trophy next season? Will another quarterback or running back win the award? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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