The opening week of college football action is just days away, which means Heisman Trophy award voters are already sizing up candidates for the game’s highest honor.
Last year’s Heisman was hoisted by QB Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma, who went on to become the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The first round of that draft was capped by the Baltimore Ravens’ selection of QB Lamar Jackson, winner of the 2016 Heisman Trophy. And with previous winners RB Derrick Henry (2015), QB Marcus Mariota (2014), and QB Jameis Winston (2013) all starters in the NFL, taking the Heisman home is clearly a precursor to a professional career.
With that in mind, bettors are lining up to back the latest crop of contenders for the Heisman crown, and online sportsbook Bovada has them covered with a full list of futures odds.
RB Bryce Love finished as runner-up in last year’s voting, but he’ll be the favorite at (+700) to claim the 84th annual Heisman this time around.
Love returns for his Senior year with the Cardinal, and he’s coming off a 2,118-yard rushing performance in 2017 that ranked second in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) – all while playing on an injured ankle. And while that wasn’t enough to take the Heisman hardware as a Junior, Love did win the Doak Walker Award to become the nation’s most highly regarded rusher.
QB Sam Darnold was the outright favorite in terms of opening odds ahead of last season, while RB Leonard Fournette held the throne in 2016, but both failed to crack the voters’ top-10 – so bettors may be wary about taking Love this year.
Love will have QB Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama hot on his heels, as the sophomore signal-caller can be backed at a (+750) price.
He began last season as the Crimson Tide’s backup QB, but when an ineffective Jalen Hurts was pulled at halftime of the National Championship Game against Georgia, Tagovailoa entered with his team down 13-0. A quick touchdown toss cut that deficit, and late in the fourth quarter Tagovailoa tied the game with another TD pass. In overtime, with the Tide down 23-20 following a Georgia field goal, Tagovailoa recovered from a 16-yard sack on first down to win the game with his arm one play later.
RB Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin is next up at (+900), and as a freshman Doak Walker Award finalist along with Love and Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, he certainly has the bona fides to make a run at the Heisman. He rushed for 1,977 yards on 299 attempts in 2017, scoring 13 touchdowns on the ground for the Badgers.
From there, the betting board shows four QBs clumped closely together, with Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State at (+1100), followed by Kahlil Tate of Arizona and Will Grier of West Virginia at (+1400), and Jake Fromm of Georgia and Trace McSorley of Penn State at (+1500).
And while a defensive player hasn’t won the Heisman since CB/KR Charles Woodson of Michigan in 1997, a pair of defensive linemen made the Bovada cut.
Ed Oliver of Houston and Nick Bosa of Ohio State are both big longshots at (+12500), but if either puts on a sack show for the ages while their team makes a title run, stranger things have happened in Heisman history.
|Player (Position – School)||Odds to Win 2018 Heisman Trophy|
|Bryce Love (RB – Stanford)||+700|
|Tua Tagovailoa (QB – Alabama)||+750|
|Jonathan Taylor (RB – Wisconsin)||+900|
|Dwayne Haskins (QB – Ohio State)||+1100|
|Kahlil Tate (QB – Arizona)||+1400|
|Will Grier (QB – West Virginia)||+1400|
|Jake Fromm (QB – Georgia)||+1500|
|Trace McSorley (QB – Penn State)||+1500|
|J.K. Dobbins (RB – Ohio State)||+1800|
|Shea Patterson (QB – Michigan)||+2000|
|Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)||+2000|
|Kyler Murray (QB – Oklahoma)||+2200|
|Jarrett Stidham (QB – Auburn)||+2500|
|Jake Browning (QB – Washington)||+2500|
|Cam Akers (RB – Florida State)||+2800|
|Justin Herbert (QB – Oregon)||+3000|
|A.J. Dillon (RB – Boston College)||+3300|
|Sam Ehlinger (QB – Texas)||+3500|
|D’Andre Swift (RB – Georgia)||+4000|
|McKenzie Milton (QB – UCF)||+4000|
|Deondre Francois (QB – Florida)||+4500|
|Drew Lock (QB – Missouri)||+4500|
|Brandon Wimbush (QB – Notre Dame)||+5000|
|Kelly Bryant (QB – Clemson)||+5000|
|Damien Harris (RB – Alabama)||+5500|
|Nick Fitzgerald (QB – Miss. State)||+6000|
|Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson)||+8000|
|Ryan Finley (QB – N.C. State)||+12500|
|Ed Oliver (DL – Houston)||+12500|
|Nick Bosa (DL – Ohio State)||+12500|