The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding player in college football each year. Before the start of each season, oddsmakers set the odds for those players who are most likely to win the award. Recently, being listed as the favorite in the preseason has been all but a guarantee not to win the Heisman (see our table at the bottom of the page for past results).
Just two of the last nine Heisman winners have been running backs, however, 2018 features are pair of backs in Stanford’s Bryce Love and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor that are the odds-on favorites to be voted the best player in college football. If history is any indication, however, a quarterback from this list, or perhaps from outside of it, will emerge as a contender before the season has concluded.
The first column shows any movement in the odds since our last update. The last column, titled “Hesiman” represents the implied odds each player has to win the award at the given odds.
|JK Dobbins||SO||RB||Ohio State||+2100||-350||3.67%|
|Trace McSorley||JR||QB||Penn State||+2500||-500||3.10%|
|Will Grier||SR||QB||West Virginia||+2500||-600||3.10%|
|Cam Akers||SO||RB||Florida State||+2500||None||3.10%|
|Dwayne Haskins||SO||QB||Ohio State||+3500||-500||2.24%|
|Deondre Francois||SR||QB||Florida State||+3500||-500||2.24%|
|Brandon Wimbush||SR||QB||Notre Dame||+3500||None||2.24%|
|Nick Fitzgerald||SR||QB||Mississippi State||+4000||None||1.97%|
|Justice Hill||JR||RB||Oklahoma State||+8000||None||1.00%|
|Nick Bosa||JR||DE||Ohio State||+8000||None||1.00%|
|N’Keal Harry||JR||WR||Arizona State||+8000||None||1.00%|
|Ryan Finley||SR||QB||NC State||+10000||None||0.80%|
|David Sills||SR||WR||West Virginia||+15000||None||0.53%|
If you are thinking about placing a wager on a player to win the Heisman, you may want to consider picking someone other than the favorite. Since we started archiving these odds in 2009, no favorite to win prior to the season has ended up taking home the award. In fact, many of the players who ended up winning were not listed with odds to win in the preseason, we’ve marked those players with an asterisk (*).
Perhaps most notably, Johnny Manziel in 2012 wasn’t even available to bet in futures markets until the eight week of the season. At that time he had the sixth-best odds on the board at +1200, with Geno Smith listed as the favorite at -250 (Braxton Miller +500, Collin Klein +700, Matt Barkley +800, and DeAnthony Thomas +800 were all listed ahead of him as well).
Given the past results, you’re better off taking a player in the +2000 range than hoping the preseason favorite pays off.
|2017||Baker Mayfield||+1000||Sam Darnold||+500|
|2016||Lamar Jackson||+10000||DeShaun Watson||+500|
|2015||Derrick Henry||+2500||Trevone Boykin||+625|
|2014||Marcus Mariota||+425||Jameis Winston||+240|
|2013||Jameis Winston*||+600||Braxton Miller/Johnny Manziel||+350|
|2012||Johnny Manziel*||+1200||Matt Barkley||+300|
|2011||Robert Griffin III||+2800||Andrew Luck||+325|
|2010||Cam Newton*||+2000||Mark Ingram||+400|
|2009||Mark Ingram*||+3300||Tim Tebow||+225|