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Heisman Futures: What Does A RB Need To Do To Win?

When you’re talking about the Heisman Trophy race, you need to always start with the quarterbacks. After all, a signal-caller has won the illustrious award in 14 of the past 17 seasons. However, those three non-quarterback Heisman winners have all been running backs (yes, I’m including Reggie Bush’s 2005 win that has since been revoked).

What exactly does a running back need to do in the upcoming 2017 season to put himself in contention for the Heisman? First, we need to look at the historical precedent for award winners from the position.

Since 2000, the three running backs to win the Heisman have been Reggie Bush (2005), Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015). Looking at their respective Heisman-winning seasons, you can see that they needed to put up some ridiculous numbers. 

Averages Of Last 3 Heisman-Winning Running Backs
PlayerCarriesRushing YardsYPCRush TDs
Derrick Henry (2015)39522195.628
Mark Ingram (2009)27116586.117
Reggie Bush (2005)20017408.716
Average288.71872.36.820.3

Those are some impressive numbers — and that’s not even including Bush’s receiving or returning stats that played a big factor as well. Just last season, only two running backs topped the above benchmark in rushing yards, seven in carries, two in yards per carry (minimum 200 rushing attempts) and four in touchdowns. Hell, only two players even came close to coming anywhere near those numbers (Brian Hill, Anthony Wales). And those two players accomplished their success at much smaller programs than are necessary to get real Heisman looks.

Because it’s not just enough to accumulate gaudy stats, a player also needs to play against top-tier competition and defenses preferably stacked with future NFL talent.

The best odds for any running back to win the Heisman belong to Bo Scarbrough (+1200). Scarbrough was a non-factor for most of the last season but the then-sophomore turned on his game near the end. In the Alabama back’s final four games, he rushed for 454 yards on just 63 carries while notching six touchdowns. Those numbers are impressive but Scarbrough will need to play better for an entire season to meet the above-mentioned criteria. However, he does have the luxury of playing in Tuscaloosa just like the past two Heisman-winning running backs.

Maybe the easiest player to predict is Saquon Barkley (+1400). The Penn State back played the entire 2016 season as the featured back while tallying 272 carries, 1496 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns as a sophomore. You can expect him to only get better as he ages plus the Nittany Lions also have a stud quarterback who prevents opposing offenses from stacking the box.

The running back I personally believe the most capable in terms of pure ability is Derrius Guice (+1400) of LSU. Guice wasn’t expected to make a massive impact for the Tigers last season but injuries to Leonard Fournette forced him into the lineup and he was exceptional. Guice rushed for at least 16 carries in eight games last season and averaged 161.9 rushing yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game. If you extrapolate those numbers to a full season, then Guice would have racked up 1943 yards and 22.8 touchdowns on the ground.

All these numbers don’t mean much if you look at one factor that is out of the player's hands. The past two running backs to win the Heisman (Henry, Ingram) saw their biggest competition come from other backs (Christian McCaffrey, Toby Gerhart). Both 2015 and 2009 were somewhat down years for quarterbacks and so voters turned toward the backfield. Can we expect quarterbacks like Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, JT Barrett and Jake Browning to all struggle next season? It seems unlikely.

There are plenty of talented runners who are capable of winning the Heisman in 2017. The biggest question is: can they stave off a potentially loaded field of quarterback contenders?  Either way, this should be another massive year for running backs.

2017 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Sam Darnold (QB USC)+250
Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma)+700
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)+800
JT Barrett (QB Ohio State)+800
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+900
Bo Scarbrough (RB Alabama)+1200
Saquon Barkley (RB Penn State)+1400
Deondre Francois (QB Florida State)+1400
Derrius Guice (RB LSU)+1400
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+1600
Nick Chubb (RB Georgia)+1600
Mason Rudolph (QB Oklahoma State)+2000
Josh Rosen (QB UCLA)+2000
Trace McSorley (QB Penn State)+2500
Nick Fitzgerald (QB Mississippi State)+3300
Kamryn Pettway (RB Auburn)+3300
Luke Falk (QB Washington State)+3300
Shane Buechele (QB Texas)+3300
Cam Akers (RB Florida State)+4000

Odds as of May 23 at Bovada

Archived Articles

Sam Darnold is the apple of every college football fan’s eye right now. During his freshman season at USC, Darnold stepped into the starting role and led the Trojans to a nine-game winning streak to close out the season. The Capistrano Beach native showed composure beyond his years and athleticism USC fans have not seen in a long time.

After opening him as a co-favorite to win the Heisman next season, action has seen books shift the youngster to the sole +250 favorite. Recent history suggests that being the early favorite may be more of a hindrance than an advantage, but I digress.

Looking at recent statistical history, what exactly does Sam Darnold need to achieve in order to claim the Heisman next year?

Of the past 10 winners of the Heisman, eight were quarterbacks. The majority of those quarterbacks were dual threats, which we define as including rushing for 700-plus yards. Darnold is athletic, but he’s not going to post the types of rushing numbers we have seen from Lamar Jackson or Cam Newton.

Ultimately, we have two prime examples of quarterbacks that we can roughly emulate a Darnold Heisman-winning season after. That is Jameis Winston in 2013 and Sam Bradford in 2008.

Averages Of Bradford and Winston Heisman Seasons
PlayerCompletion %Passing YardsPassing TDINTs
Sam Bradford67.94720508
Jameis Winston66.940574010
Average67.44388.5459

Those are some lofty numbers to achieve, but Darnold has already proven that he can play the bulk of a season and post a completion percentage in that range (67.2 percent during his freshman year). If you take Darnold’s averages and extrapolate for the three games he didn’t start last season, he would have thrown for 3977 yards, 38 touchdowns and 10.4 interceptions. Those are close to the average Bradford and Winston accumulated across their Heisman-winning seasons.

However, Darnold will be playing next season without his top two receivers from last year, as JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers have moved on from the program. Smith-Schuster and Rogers accounted for 41.4 percent of Darnold’s completions and 44 percent of his passing yards last season. That leaves two massive holes for Darnold to fill with other receivers. Deontay Burnett will likely see plenty of catches but saw the bulk of his numbers in the shootout of a Rose Bowl game.

USC had one of the best recruiting classes in the country, but the bulk of those signees came on the defensive side of the ball. Keep an eye on Darnold’s rapport with recruit Joseph Lewis, as the physical and consistent receiver was absolutely dominant in high school. Lewis flashed all the ability to be a top-flight receiver and if he steps up early, Darnold will have a quality corps of catchers to throw to.

Darnold has all the skills and ability in the world. He is legitimately the best quarterback the Trojans have had since Mark Sanchez. As long as he can overcome added pressure and he can help his receivers grow, Darnold could very well hoist the Heisman next season.

2017 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Sam Darnold (QB USC)+250
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)+800
JT Barrett (QB Ohio State)+800
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+900
Bo Scarbrough (RB Alabama)+1200
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+1200
Saquon Barkley (RB Penn State)+1400
Deondre Francois (QB Florida State)+1400
Derrius Guice (RB LSU)+1400
Mason Rudolph (QB Oklahoma State)+1400
Nick Chubb (RB Georgia)+1400
Josh Rosen (QB UCLA)+1800
Trace McSorley (QB Penn State)+2500
Nick Fitzgerald (QB Mississippi State)+3300
Kamryn Pettway (RB Auburn)+3300
Luke Falk (QB Washington State)+3300
Shane Buechele (QB Texas)+3300
Cam Akers (RB Florida State)+3300

Odds as of May 14 at Bovada

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Sure, the college football season just ended. And yes, it’s more than six months until next season. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start talking about Heisman favorites for 2017.

Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield had opened as a slight +550 favorite according to online book Bovada. This should not be much of a shock, as the former walk-on finished fourth in Heisman voting in 2015 and then third in 2016. Mayfield had a spectacular season last year, as the then-junior led the nation in passing efficiency, completion percentage and yards per pass attempt while posting a 40-8 TD-to-INT ratio. If Mayfield can put up comparable numbers without Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine and Dede Westbrook next season, he should be seriously considered for the Heisman.

Many people have fallen in love with USC quarterback Sam Darnold (+500) after the freshman threw for a ridiculous 453 yards and five touchdowns in the Rose Bowl. Darnold had a phenomenal year despite not starting until the fourth week and a full offseason of being ‘the guy’ and soaking up the playbook could mean he is even more dangerous next season.

If there is one player who is getting overlooked, it is Derrius Guice of LSU. Though many weren’t expecting much from Guice last season behind Leonard Fournette, injuries thrust him into the lineup and all he did was impress. In games when Guice rushed the ball at least 16 times, he averaged 161.9 rushing yards and nearly two touchdowns. Now full-time coach Ed Orgeron will continue to pound the rock behind a largely returning offensive line, so expect Guice to put up some absurd numbers next season.

2017 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma)+500
Sam Darnold (QB USC)+500
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)+600
JT Barrett (QB Ohio State)+1000
Saquon Barkley (RB Penn State)+1000
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+1000
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+1200
Trace McSorley (QB Penn State)+1200
Bo Scarbrough (RB Alabama)+1200
Deondre Francois (QB Florida State)+1200
Josh Rosen (QB UCLA)+1400
Mason Rudolph (QB Oklahoma State)+1400
Derrius Guice (RB LSU)+1600
Nick Fitzgerald (QB Mississippi State)+2500
Nick Chubb (RB Georgia)+2500
Kamryn Pettway (RB Auburn)+2800
Luke Falk (QB Washington State)+3300
Shane Buechele (QB Texas)+3300

Odds as of February 7 at Bovada

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Lamar Jackson has been the Heisman fave since the beginning of October. Most people have seen it as a foregone conclusion, barring an injury, that the Louisville quarterback will run away with the Heisman.

It’s really hard to disagree with Jackson being a massive -4000 favorite to win the Heisman considering what he did this season. Jackson accounted for 51 touchdowns, which means that he outscored 37 FBS schools himself. The sophomore’s 3390 passing yards rank him 12th in the nation while his 1538 yards on the ground are the eighth-most.

Jackson did struggle to close out the season, as the signal-caller went 36-for-68 with three touchdowns and three interceptions in the final two games. Those underwhelming performances led to Louisville losing both games, which ultimately dashed any playoff hopes for the team.

The only two things that may be playing against Jackson, and trust me when I say I’m stretching a bit, is recency bias and the non-playoff appearance. The only reason Louisville ever had a hope of making the playoffs or a New Year’s Six bowl was Jackson. When he struggled, the team fell apart. Though the College Football Playoff has only been around for two years, both Heisman winners led their teams to the final four.

If postseason football is a major factor, the only plausible alternative to Jackson is Deshaun Watson. Clemson is in the college playoffs for the second year in a row thanks to the quarterback’s play on offense. And though many seem to think Watson has fallen off since last season, he has actually performed better in the passing game. He was hampered on the ground due to an ineffective running back situation at the beginning of the season. However, Watson leads all FBS quarterbacks in total yards and touchdowns since November 1.

The rest of the field is good, but the Heisman class is ultimately underwhelming.

Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook became the first teammates to be nominated for the Heisman since Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart both made the cut back in 2004. Mayfield is on the verge of a record-setting season in terms of efficiency, as the gunslinger leads all FBS quarterbacks in completion percentage and yards per attempt. Westbrook started the season slowly, but accounted for 1311 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in nine conference games.

Jabrill Peppers played every single position in Michigan’s defensive back seven and also had game-altering plays on offense and special teams. Ultimately, voters may have a hard time quantifying Peppers’ impact on paper, which means Charles Woodson is likely to remain the only defensive player to ever win the Heisman.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-4000
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+1000
Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma)+3300
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+5000
Dede Westbrook (WR Oklahoma)N/A

Odds as of December 6 at BetOnline

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The engravers have likely already started carving Lamar Jackson’s name for the Heisman. The Louisville quarterback has accounted for a combined 4232 yards and 46 touchdowns this season. Jackson’s 27 passing touchdowns are tied for the ninth-most in the nation while his 19 rushing touchdowns pace the country.

Jackson entered the season at +5000 to win the Heisman but now finds himself as a ridiculous -5000.

A distant second place according to the odds is Jabrill Peppers. The Michigan jack of all trades has registered 54 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss and three sacks on defense. Peppers has also tallied 161 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while averaging 17.3 yards per punt return and 24.8 per kick return.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-5000
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+1200
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+1600
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+2500
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+4000

Odds as of November 14 at Bovada

-------------------------------

Barring a miracle of biblical proportions, Lamar Jackson is going to win the Heisman. There was a brief period when there was the delusion that someone could catch him, but that’s gone. The Louisville quarterback accounted for seven touchdowns last week against Boston College, which brings his season total to 45.

Jackson is a massive -2000 to win the Heisman Trophy, as books have now accepted his win as an inevitability. Louisville’s remaining schedule is fairly easy, but all the remaining teams do have a winning record. If Jackson remains unhurt and continues to put up gaudy numbers in those games, it’s hard to imagine him losing.

The next closest players to Jackson are Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers. Watson has put up better numbers through the air this season compared with last year, when he finished third in the Heisman voting. Peppers undoubtedly should get votes and is likely the most deserving defensive player since Charles Woodson won the Heisman in 1997.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-2000
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+1200
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+1200
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+1400
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+5000

Odds as of November 7 at Bovada

-------------------------------

Jabrill Peppers is good at pretty much everything. And if for some reason you didn’t know that, you caught a glimpse of it this weekend when Michigan took on Michigan State. Peppers lined up at linebacker, cornerback, safety, quarterback, running back, wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner in one of the most prolific all-around outings in college football history.

Peppers ended the game with seven tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack, a rushing touchdown and a score for a two-point convert. This ridiculous performance has caused books to take his Heisman candidacy more seriously, as the jack of all trades went from +750 to +450.

Of course, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson remains a massive -300 favorite to win the Heisman. Once again, Jackson accounted for over 400 yards of offense and four touchdowns in a narrow 32-25 victory over Virginia. The game also gave Jackson another "Heisman moment" for voters, as the quarterback threw the game-winning touchdown with just 13 seconds remaining.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-300
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+450
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+450
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+2000
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+3300
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+3300
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State)+5000

Odds as of November 1 at Bovada

-------------------------------

You can only dance around this subject for so long, but barring a freak injury or divine intervention, Lamar Jackson is likely going to win the Heisman Trophy. The quarterback broke Louisville’s school record for touchdowns in a season and still has at least another six games to play.

Jackson’s 34 touchdowns are more than 56 FBS schools while his 3069 yards of offense is more than 71 schools. Long and short, Lamar Jackson is absurd. He is currently -300 to win the Heisman with the next-closest competitors coming in at +750.

One of those players at +750 is Deshaun Watson of Clemson. The quarterback has accumulated more passing yards and passing touchdowns through the first seven games of this season than he had at the same point last year and Clemson is still undefeated.

Clemson and Louisville have already gone head-to-head once this season, something that may loom large in Heisman voters’ minds. In that game, Jackson accounted for 457 yards of offense with three touchdowns and one turnover. Watson tallied 397 yards of offense with five passing touchdowns and three picks. The Tigers ultimately won that game 42-36.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-300
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+750
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+750
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+1000
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+1200
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+2200
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State)+3400

Odds as of October 25 at Bovada

-------------------------------

Lamar Jackson remains the odd-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy and with good reason. But what happens if the Louisville quarterback starts to slow or gets injured? Then the Heisman race starts to become a lot muddier.

The overlooked factor could be Jake Browning. The quarterback has completed 72.2 percent of his passes while throwing for 23 touchdowns and just two interceptions. If the Washington signal-caller continues on the same pace – something that looks very realistic given the Huskies’ schedule – then he will end the season with nearly 3000 yards and 48 touchdowns, which wouldn’t include any bowl games.

The past two quarterbacks to win the Heisman who were pocket passers – with no real added threat of running – were Sam Bradford and Jameis Winston. Those two quarterbacks averaged 4388.5 passing yards and 45 touchdowns with nine interceptions. Browning is on pace to throw for more touchdowns and fewer interceptions, but is yardage going to be an issue? I doubt it, as efficiency and winning mean more to Heisman voters.

Also keep in mind that the Huskies could very well go undefeated and find themselves in the playoffs. If Washington can make the playoffs and even the finals, Browning could still be a strong Heisman contender even if his numbers suffer a slight hit.

Again, Jackson is rightfully sitting in the driver’s seat for the Heisman at the moment. The Louisville quarterback has accounted for 2638 yards and 30 touchdowns through six games.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-190
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+375
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+750
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+900
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+1000
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+1600
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State)+3300
Greg Ward Jr. (QB Houston)+3300
Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford)+5000

Odds as of October 18 at Bovada

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The only primarily defensive player in college football history to win the Heisman was Charles Woodson in 1997. I say “primarily defensive” because Woodson was listed as a cornerback but he also returned punts and kicks while also playing some receiver. It took nearly two decades, but we have a player with similar versatility.

That player is Jabrill Peppers of Michigan – the same school Woodson played at during his collegiate career. Though quarterbacks tend to get favoritism when it comes to the Heisman, Peppers has put up numbers that are undeniably historic.

Through the first six games of the season, Peppers is averaging 17.8 yards per punt return and 19.6 yards per carry. Woodson averaged a much smaller 8.6 yards per punt return and 21 yards per reception – Peppers has been used as a rusher and not a receiver while Woodson was the reverse.

If Peppers is to continue the rest of the season at his same pace, he will put up a ridiculous 498 punt return yards, 190 kickoff return yards, 196 rushing yards with six touchdowns. Those numbers are all complementary to his defensive numbers.

Peppers is a jack of all trades for the Wolverines, as he is capable of playing linebacker, safety or cornerback in certain situations. Aside from just being the heart and soul of one of the best defenses in the world, Peppers is on pace to record 76 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles.

When you look at it from a purely statistical point of view, Peppers should put up a better season than Woodson’s Heisman campaign – though he will be far behind in the interception department.

Can Peppers honestly overcome the stellar season of Lamar Jackson? Not if the Louisville quarterback continues at his same pace, but we’ve seen players explode to open the season in the past before settling into mediocrity in the second half. Not to say Jackson will, but it’s not out of the question.

Michigan will likely need to make the playoffs and Peppers will probably need a memorable big play – the Heisman voters love that – but both of those things are very realistic possibilities. 

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-190
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+300
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+750
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+900
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State)+2500
Greg Ward Jr. (QB Houston)+2800
Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford)+3300
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+7500

Odds as of October 11 at Bovada

-------------------------------

The top two Heisman contenders faced off this past week and though Lamar Jackson put on his usual offensive show, it was Clemson and Deshaun Watson that made the big impact. Watson accounted for 397 offensive yards and five touchdowns while leading the Tigers to a 42-36 victory over the Cardinals.

After that performance, Watson watched his odds to hoist the Heisman jump from +900 to +500. Though the junior is still second behind Jackson, a victory in a head-to-head matchup can mean quite a bit to Heisman voters.

Jackson had an ‘off’ game against Clemson, which means he accounted for just 457 yards and three touchdowns. Though it is hard to fathom, that was the second-fewest yards and touchdowns he has had in a game this season. And if that is one of his worst outings, it is understandable why Jackson is a huge -250 Heisman favorite.

One player to keep an eye on is Dalvin Cook. Though Florida State has been inconsistent at best offensively, the running back has found his groove. Cook has accounted for 575 offensive yards and five touchdowns in the past two games while averaging 7.1 yards per carry.

The newest player on the Heisman board is Mitch Trubisky. The UNC quarterback has played flawless football this season, as he has thrown for 1711 yards with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-250
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+500
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+700
Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford)+1200
Greg Ward Jr. (QB Houston)+1600
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State)+2500
Joshua Dobbs (QB Tennessee)+2500
Mitch Trubisky (QB UNC)+3300
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+3300
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+6600

Odds as of October 4 at Bovada

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After the first quarter of Louisville vs Marshall, Lamar Jackson had only scored one touchdown and people started to think maybe he would slow down. He didn’t.

Jackson accounted for seven touchdowns in that game against Marshall, bringing his season total to 25. Those 150 points scored are more than 96 schools, including Notre Dame, Clemson and Florida. The Louisville quarterback is ninth in the nation in passing yards and fifth in rushing yards.

Needless to say, Jackson has cemented himself as a huge favorite to win the Heisman. Jackson is currently listed at -250, which is down from -200 the week before and +5000 to open the season.

There were no new additions to the oddsboard for the Heisman and no player made positive movement thanks to Jackson’s stellar play. In fact, seven of the remaining players on the board saw their odds plummet.

Players falling off the board this week were Nick Chubb, DeShone Kizer, Brad Kaaya and Damien Harris.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-250
Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford)+700
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+700
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+900
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+1600
Donnel Pumphrey (RB San Diego State)+2500
Greg Ward Jr. (QB Houston)+2800
Leonard Fournette (RB LSU)+3300
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State)+3300
Patrick Mahomes (QB Texas Tech)+3300
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+4000
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+10000

Odds as of September 26 at Bovada

-------------------------------

It’s Lamar Jackson’s world and we are just living in it. Through three weeks of play, the Louisville quarterback has already recorded 1377 yards and 18 touchdowns. Jackson has recorded more yards than 91 D-1 schools and scored more points than 89.

Jackson now finds himself as the massive -200 favorite to win the Heisman this season – compared to the +5000 line he opened the season at.

Close behind Jackson – relatively speaking – is Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (+550). The running back has already amassed 470 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns through just two games. McCaffrey has been the only threat in Stanford’s offense, as he has accounted for 59.7 percent of Cardinal offensive yardage.

Two new players find themselves listed for the Heisman, as Washington’s Jake Browning (+4000) and San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey (+2500) continue to put up ridiculous numbers. Browning has completed 71.6 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and just one interception through three games. Pumphrey has been one of the best running backs in the country, as he has already amassed 599 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

Eight players fell off the oddsboard this week, including Baker Mayfield, Chad Kelly and Deondre Francois.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)-200
Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford)+550
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+600
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+800
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+1600
Greg Ward Jr. (QB Houston)+1600
Leonard Fournette (RB LSU)+2000
Donnel Pumphrey (RB San Diego State)+2500
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State)+3300
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+3300
Nick Chubb (RB Georgia)+3300
Patrick Mahomes (QB Texas Tech)+3300
Jake Browning (QB Washington)+4000
Damien Harris (RB Alabama)+5000
DeShone Kizer (QB Notre Dame)+5000
Brad Kaaya (QB Miami)+5000

Odds as of September 20 at Bovada

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The Heisman Trophy has gone to a quarterback in 13 of the past 16 seasons, so it should not be a surprise that the Heisman futures are crowded with talented quarterbacks.

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson has the best odds of any QB after two weeks of play, with the junior sitting at +500. That is a surprisingly high number considering Watson has completed just 52.9 percent of his passes and is averaging 3.6 yards per carry. The first two weeks saw Watson compete against talent he should have easily torched; bettors should be wary.

Next up is Deondre Francois who, despite not being listed on the Heisman odds before Week 2, is +600. The redshirt freshman has completed 69 percent of his passes while posting a QBR of 154.4. It also helps that Francois had a huge part in Florida State’s huge comeback against Ole Miss in Week 1.

Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett comes in after two weeks at +600 as well. Barrett has been the focal point of the Ohio State attack while finding pay dirt nine times with just one turnover so far.

The final quarterback listed at +600 is Lamar Jackson. The Louisville signal-caller has been unstoppable as he has already notched over 1000 yards offensively and 13 touchdowns. Those numbers would make Jackson himself the 30th-ranked offense in the country.

Interestingly enough, the best odds currently belong to running back Christian McCaffrey (+400). Stanford had an early bye week, so McCaffrey has had just one game to impress Heisman voters. The junior accounted for 210 all-purpose yards against Kansas State in Week 1.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford)+400
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+500
Deondre Francois (QB Florida State)+600
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State)+600
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)+600
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State)+1000
Leonard Fournette (RB LSU)+1200
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+1800
Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama)+2500
Nick Chubb (RB Georgia)+2500
Greg Ward Jr. (QB Houston)+2500
Patrick Mahomes (QB Texas Tech)+2500
Damien Harris (RB Alabama)+3300
Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma)+3300
DeShone Kizer (QB Notre Dame)+3300
Saquon Barkley (RB Penn State)+3300
Royce Freeman (RB Oregon)+4000
Calvin Ridley (WR Alabama)+4000
Josh Rosen (QB UCLA)+4000
Chad Kelly (QB Ole Miss)+5000
Brad Kaaya (QB Miami)+5000
Bo Scarbrough (RB Alabama )+5000

Odds as of September 13 at Bovada

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Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey sat near the top of the Heisman futures all offseason but has finally claimed the top spot after Week 1. The versatile running back accounted for 210 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns – both rushes of 35 and 41 yards respectively – against Kansas State.

McCaffrey is currently +400 to win the Heisman at Bovada, but there is not much room separating him from the pack.

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is currently second on the board at +450 despite a tough first outing of the season. Watson completed just 55.9 percent of his passes and averaged a measly 1.9 yards per rush against Auburn in Week 1. Not exactly the types of numbers we saw the QB put up last season, but it wasn’t bad enough to condone a major drop in the odds.

The biggest riser is Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson opened the season at +5000, but a staggering Week 1 performance in which he tallied 405 offensive yards and eight touchdowns in the first half saw his odds skyrocket to +1800.

2016 Heisman Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford)+400
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)+450
JT Barrett (QB Ohio State)+550
Leonard Fournette (RB LSU)+750
Davin Cook (RB Florida State)+800
Nick Chubb (RB Georgia)+1000
Greg Ward Jr. (QB Houston)+1000
Jabrill Peppers (S Michigan)+1800
Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville)+1800
Patrick Mahomes (TB Texas Tech)+2500
Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma)+3300
Chad Kelly (QB Ole Miss)+3300
Royce Freeman (RB Oregon)+4000
Calvin Ridley (WR Alabama)+4000
DeShone Kizer (QB Notre Dame)+4000
Brad Kaaya (QB Miami)+4000
Josh Rosen (QB UCLA)+5000
Joshua Dobbs (QB Tennessee)+5000
Bo Scarbrough (RB Alabama)+5000
Saquon Barkley (RB Penn State)+6600
Samaje Perine (RB Oklahoma)+7500

Odds as of September 7 at Bovada

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