2016 Heisman Trophy odds: Everyone is playing catch up to Deshaun Watson

2015 finalists Deshaun Watson and Christian McCaffrey will lead the Heisman hype train in 2016. (USATSI)

After leading Clemson to the College Football Playoff National Championship and falling just short against Alabama, quarterback Deshaun Watson is the certified star that will lead all national discussions previewing the 2016 season. 

The reigning ACC Player of the Year and 2015 Heisman Trophy finalist is the current betting favorite to the win the stiff-arm trophy in 2016, listed by the Westgate Las Vegas, with 5/1 odds. He's followed by the same names we saw on this list in January, LSU's Leonard Fournette (6/1) and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey (7/1). 

Deshaun Watson (Clemson QB): 5/1

Leonard Fournette (LSU RB): 6/1

Christian McCaffrey (Stanford RB): 7/1

Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma QB): 10/1 

Dalvin Cook (Florida State RB): 10/1

Chad Kelly (Ole Miss QB): 12/1

J.T. Barrett (Ohio State QB): 12/1

Nick Chubb (Georgia RB): 12/1

Seth Russell (Baylor QB): 12/1

Josh Rosen (UCLA QB): 15/1

Bo Scarborough (Alabama RB): 20/1 

Royce Freeman (Oregon RB): 20/1

Samaje Perine (Oklahoma RB): 20/1

If things go like they did last season, being the early favorite might not be the best thing. 

In January 2015, the first seven names listed at the top of the first Heisman Trophy odds board were Ezekiel ElliottDak Prescott, Leonard Fournette, Trevone BoykinCody Kessler, Nick Chubb and Paul Perkins. None of those players finished the year as a Heisman finalist or even in the top five of the balloting -- Fournette (sixth place), Elliott (eighth) and Boykin (10th) all finished in the top 10 but well below the cut line for a trip to New York City.

Now clearly we've got a little bit of a different situation with Watson and McCaffrey, two finalists from 2015 returning for their junior season, but the wild expectations placed on these early favorites can sometimes limit our ability to clearly see their success on the field. Leonard Fournette led the country in rushing yards per game (160.75) and recording 22 rushing touchdowns but after getting bottled up by one of the nastiest defensive fronts in modern Alabama history his Heisman buzz faded with the betting public and the Heisman electorate.

Was Fournette's season any less productive because of one game against the Tide? No. But it was apparently less impressive since it was part of Fournette, and LSU, falling short of those preseason expectations. 

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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