We go into each college football season trying to figure out what teams are title contenders. We also like to predict which players will be in the running for the Heisman Trophy. Trying to figure out which player is going to emerge is no easy task.
The obvious thing we do is focus on the top players coming back. Especially those who received attention for the award the previous season. While it makes sense, these players typically don’t end up winning. Why? The expectations are going to be even higher now that we have seen them play. More times than not, it’s the player who comes out of nowhere that steals our attention.
We also like to look for players in elite programs who will be taking on a bigger role due to a player departing. For example, whoever is the starting running back for Alabama is going to get attention. It doesn’t matter if it’s a player coming back or freshmen who has never seen the field.
Why do we focus on elite programs? That’s because there is a bias here when it comes to the voting. Players who put up big numbers on bad teams don’t get near the love as a players with similar or worse numbers on a national contender. Even if the player on the crap team is the best player in the country, chances are he won’t win.
Even when we know what players to lock in on, we just never really know. The unpredictability is what makes this award so great.
2017 Heisman Favorite, Front Runners & Latest Candidates to Win Trophy
The Heisman is such a big deal that Vegas releases futures on who will win. This section is focused on the betting side of things. Odds are released shortly after the title game from the previous year. We continue to update the odds all through the offseason and each week of the regular-season. Each time we update the page, we create a checkpoint to reference what the odds where at that time.
How the Betting Works
Oddsmakers put together a list of their top candidates in the offseason. They then place a betting line on each player. Note that the list of players to bet is limited early. Players will be added and removed over the course of the year.
For the purpose of this article we will look at the lines in money line format. Basically if a team is listed at +500. That means you can bet $100 to cash $500. Same thing as odds of 5 to 1. If a team is heavily favored, they will be with “-” in front of their odds instead of a “+” An example would be -250. In this case, you would have to wager $250 just to win $100.
This is considered a future wager, which means you are betting on an outcome that won’t happen for some time. So before you wager, just keep in mind that a portion of your bankroll will be tied up for several months. Also, the oddsmakes will adjust the lines over the course of the season.
Odds on Favorite & Top Front Runners
When it comes to the favorite to win the award in 2017, you might be surprised. Most are going to just assume it’s last year’s winner Lamar Jackson. That’s not the case. Jackson will try to make history. Archie Griffin is the only player to win the award twice.
The front runner is USC quarterback Sam Darnold at +500. Darnold took over the starting job in the middle of last season and led the Trojans on a 2nd half surge.
Jackson and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Maryfield are close behind at +600. The only other players at 10 to 1 or better are both from Alabama. Running back Bo Scarbrough is at +900 and quarterback Jalen Hurts is at +1000.
Quick Look at the Other Candidates
There’s a lot of strong names on the list outside of the Top five. That includes Ohio St’s JT. Barrett who was in the mix early last year. As was Washington’s Jake Browning and Georgia’s Nick Chubb.
Sometimes you can get an idea of what teams Vegas is high on by looking at the odds. I think Penn St is one of those teams. The Nittany Lions surprised last year and are expected to be even better. They are the only school besides Alabama with multiple players listed. Those two being Saquon Barkley (RB) and Trace McSorely (QB).
My Early Heisman Prediction
Over the course of the season, I’m going to give out my prediction on who I think will win the award. I’ll continue to update my prediction at different points of the year.
Jalen Hurts (+1000) – This is the hardest time to make a prediction. There’s players who will be in the running that aren’t even listed. I like to look for value and I think the Hurts gives us just that. He wasn’t to far out of the race last year as a true freshman. He should be greatly improved and we know the Crimson Tide will be in the mix for another championship.
Updated Vegas Betting Odds on Who Will Win Heisman Trophy This Year
|Sam Darnold (USC)||+500||16.67%|
|Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)||+600||14.29%|
|Lamar Jackson (Louisville)||+600||14.29%|
|Bo Scarbrough (Alabama)||+900||10.00%|
|Jalen Hurts (Alabama)||+1000||9.09%|
|Trace McSorley (Penn State)||+1200||7.69%|
|JT Barrett (Ohio State)||+1200||7.69%|
|Saquon Barkley (Penn State)||+1200||7.69%|
|Jake Browning (Washington)||+1200||7.69%|
|Josh Rosen (UCLA)||+1400||6.67%|
|Deondre Francois (FSU)||+1400||6.67%|
|Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State)||+1400||6.67%|
|Nick Chubb (Georgia)||+1600||5.88%|
|Derrius Grice (LSU)||+1600||5.88%|
|Nick Fitzgerald (Mississippi St)||+2500||3.85%|
|Kamryn Pettway (Auburn)||+2800||3.45%|
|Luke Falk (Washington St)||+3300||2.94%|
|Shane Buechele (Texas)||+3300||2.94%|
More College Football Futures & Odds
It’s no secret that the winner of the Heisman is often the best player on the best team in the country. Before placing any wagers on this future, check out our National Championship Odds.
Looking for more ways to bet on college football before the season starts? You are going to want to check out our regular-season win totals page. Vegas also releases early college football lines on several big games months in advance.
Season already started? Build your bankroll with premium NCAAF picks from one of our expert handicappers. You are also going to want to visit our college football odds section. It’s the perfect place to stay up to date on the latest totals and spreads. Plus, you can shop lines from some of the top sportsbooks in the industry.
Heisman History – Invitees, Standings, Voting Polls & Past Champions
List of Finalists Invited to Heisman Ceremony in 2016
- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
- Deshuan Watson, QB, Clemson
- Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
- Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
Voting Poll Standings Last 5 Years
|1st||Lamar Jackson (Louisville)||Derrick Henry (Alabama)||Marcus Mariota (Oregon)||Jamies Winston (FSU)||Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)|
|2nd||Deshaun Watson (Clemson)||Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)||Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin)||A.J. McCarron (Alabama)||Manti Te’o (Notre Dame)|
|3rd||Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)||Deshaun Watson (Clemson)||Amari Cooper (Alabama)||Jordan Lynch (Northern Illinois)||Collin Klein (Kansas State)|
|4th||Dede WestBrook (Oklahoma)||Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)||Trevone Boykin (TCU)||Andre Williams (Boston College)||Marqise Lee (USC)|
|5th||Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)||Keenan Reynolds (Navy)||J.T. Barrett (Ohio State)||Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)||Braxton Miller (Ohio St)|
Every Player Who has Won the Heisman Award
|2013||Jameis Winston||Florida State|
|2012||Johnny Manziel||Texas A&M|
|2011||Robert Griffin III||Baylor|
|2006||Troy Smith||Ohio State|
|2000||Chris Weinke||Florida State|
|1995||Eddie George||Ohio State|
|1993||Charlie Ward||Florida State|
|1992||Gino Torretta||Miami (FL)|
|1988||Barry Sanders||Oklahoma State|
|1987||Tim Brown||Notre Dame|
|1986||Vinny Testaverde||Miami (FL)|
|1984||Doug Flutie||Boston College|
|1980||George Rogers||South Carolina|
|1975||Archie Griffin||Ohio State|
|1974||Archie Griffin||Ohio State|
|1973||John Cappelletti||Penn State|
|1964||John Huarte||Notre Dame|
|1962||Terry Baker||Oregon State|
|1957||John David Crow||Texas A&M|
|1956||Paul Hornung||Notre Dame|
|1955||Howard Cassady||Ohio State|
|1953||John Lattner||Notre Dame|
|1950||Vic Janowicz||Ohio State|
|1949||Leon Hart||Notre Dame|
|1947||John Lujack||Notre Dame|
|1944||Les Horvath||Ohio State|
|1943||Angelo Bertelli||Notre Dame|