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).
There isn’t much of a competition this year as Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa has continued to improve his odds throughout the season. He now has a better than 64% chance to win the award. It’s not very surprising. He is the most visible player on the most dominant team in the nation and the only way he gets knocked from the top spot is if he is injured or Alabama completely collapses late. While an injury isn’t out of the question – he has had knee problems this year – it’s not likely that the Crimson Tide finish this season poorly.
It’s crazy at this point to think that Bryce Love (now unlisted) was the favorite to win the trophy at the start of the year. Running backs 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 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 Bovada.
The Change column shows any movement in the odds since our last update (8/13). The last column, titled “Hesiman” represents the implied odds each player has to win the award at the given market odds.
|Will Grier||SR||QB||West Virginia||+700||+200||9.81%|
|Gardner Minshew||GRAD||QB||Washington State||+5000||-2750||1.54%|
|Dwayne Haskins||SO||QB||Ohio State||+10000||-7600||0.78%|
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|