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).
This season the early odds show a two-horse race with Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence leading the pack. Both QBs are coming off of stellar seasons, though many think Lawrence was a little disappointing in his sophomore season. Both players put up big numbers and both of their teams are likely to be in the College Football Playoffs conversation.
As has become the norm, quarterbacks dominate this list with all five of the top contenders playing from the signal-caller position. There are two running backs in the top ten, however, running backs and wide receivers have all but disappeared from the Heisman conversation. 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||JR||QB||Ohio State||+450||New||13.07%|
|Ian Book||SR||QB||Notre Dame||+2000||New||3.42%|
|Sam Howell||SO||QB||North Carolina||+2500||New||2.76%|
|Lynn Bowden Jr.||SR||WR||Kentucky||+3300||New||2.11%|
|Spencer Sanders||SO||QB||Oklahoma State||+3300||New||2.11%|
|Sean Clifford||JR||QB||Penn State||+4000||New||1.75%|
|Brock Purdy||JR||QB||Iowa State||+5000||New||1.41%|
|Derek Stingley Jr||SO||CB/WR||LSU||+5000||New||1.41%|
|Hamilcar Rashed Jr.||SR||OLB||Oregon State||+5000||New||1.41%|
|Journey Brown||JR||RB||Penn State||+5000||New||1.41%|
|Michael Penix Jr.||SO||QB||Indiana||+6600||New||1.07%|
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 eighth 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||Joe Burrow||+5000||Trevor Lawrence||+300|
|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|