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).
As of now the top three contenders are all QBs: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, and [now] Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. Lawrence had a spectacular performance in the championship game, which explains him being the favorite this year, but it is worth nothing that the favorites very rarely end up winning the award. Almost everyone on the list is a QB with just three running backs and two wide receivers having odds posted right now.
Running backs and wide receivers have all but disappeared from the Heisman conversation, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a casual college football fan that could name the best running back or wide receiver in the country. In any case, the table below shows the odds on the remaining contenders for this year’s best player in college football from BetOnline.
The Change 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 market odds.
|Justin Fields||SO||QB||Ohio State||+1200||New||5.47%|
|Ian Book||SR||QB||Notre Dame||+1600||New||4.18%|
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.
|2018||Kyler Murray||+2000||Bryce Love||+500|
|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|