Jackson Leads Heisman Trophy Odds as CFB Season Nears Midway Point

When online sportsbook Bovada released its list of preseason odds on which college football player would win the Heisman Trophy this season, Louisville’s sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson was nowhere to be found.

That made sense at the time, as Jackson entered his sophomore year following a mediocre 2015 campaign for the Cardinals.

But while preseason Heisman darlings like LSU running back Leonard Fournette (+400 preseason odds), Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (+450), and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (+550) have all seen their odds decrease, Jackson’s electric performances passing and rushing have staked him to a huge advantage in the Heisman hierarchy.

Today, as Week 6 of the college football season draws near, Bovada lists Jackson as the clear and overwhelming favorite to claim the game’s most prominent performance-based prize. As the only player listed with negative odds, at -250, Jackson is well clear of his ACC quarterback rival Watson (+500) – and that’s after Jackson’s Cardinals dropped a tough 42-36 shootout to Watson’s Tigers last week.

Jackson began the season with a bang, scoring an obscene eight touchdowns on the day, with six coming through the air and two more on the ground. To prove that offensive explosion against lightweight Charlotte was no fluke, Jackson singlehandedly destroyed Clemson the next week, putting up 411 passing yards, 199 more carrying the ball, and five more touchdowns to boot.

All told, Jackson has amassed 1,625 yards passing – nearly eclipsing last year’s mark of 1,840 with more than half a season remaining – along with 14 touchdown strikes. As a ball carrier, Jackson has gained 688 yards on 92 attempts, good for a gaudy 7.5 yards per carry rate, while crossing the goal line 14 times more.

To put those numbers into perspective, even if Jackson never threw a pass all year, he’d still lead the nation’s running back class in touchdown carries by a margin of 14 to 9.

Simply put, no player on the planet has performed like Jackson through the first half of the season, making him the consensus favorite to bring home the Heisman.

As for the preseason favorite, Fournette has persevered through an ankle injury that his limited the LSU star to just three games, 67 carries, and 386 yards. Needless to say, the junior has been dropped off the Bovada odds board altogether.

Watson just beat Jackson’s juggernaut last week, and the Clemson junior may be the only player standing in the way of a historic Heisman landslide.

He entered the year at +450 to win, following a third-place finish in the Heisman vote last year, and six weeks later Watson sits at +500 to take the trophy. But while he is close to keeping pace with Jackson’s passing stats (1,302 yards and 14 touchdowns), his ground gains have been decidedly lacking (211 yards and 0 touchdowns).

McCaffrey was the runner-up for the Heisman last year, with an astounding 337 carries for 2,019 yards, but this season his pace has slowed considerably to bring his Bovada odds down to +1200. The Stanford junior has only 91 rushes for 485 yards this year, all but assuring he won’t be able to crack the coveted 2,000-yard plateau for a second straight season.

Take a look below for a full rundown of Bovada’s current Heisman Trophy odds:

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (-250)
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (+500)
JT Barrett, QB, Ohio State (+700)
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (+1200)
Greg Ward Jr., QB, Houston (+1600)
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (+2500)
Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee (+2500)
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina (+3300)
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan (+3300)
Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama (+6600)