Setting Heisman Trophy odds in January can be a difficult task. The public is still oozing with excitement from the bowl season and ready to overreact to what they saw while experts are thrown into the dark for a few months until spring practice gives us more material to chew on for our predictions.
Last January, the first seven names listed at the top of the first Heisman Trophy odds board were Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Leonard Fournette, Trevone Boykin, Cody 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.
The first Heisman Trophy odds for 2016 are a little different in that the group at the top includes two of the 2015 Heisman finalists.
Deshaun Watson is the early leader with 9/2 odds, followed by Fournette and Christian McCaffrey, the runner-up to Derrick Henry, at 5/1. Baker Mayield was fourth place in last year's Heisman voting and is expected to be back in the mix next season as well, sharing 10/1 odds with Ohio State's JT Barrett.
It's always frustrating when the Heisman talk heats up too early, especially because it sets an expectation for these individuals in the midst of a very team-focused season. But maybe 2016 will be more of a slow burn with all of these established stars leading the way.
Check out the full Heisman odds below, via @BovadaLV.
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson) 9/2
Leonard Fournette (RB LSU) 5/1
Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford) 5/1
JT Barrett (QB Ohio State) 10/1
Nick Chubb (RB Georgia) 12/1
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State) 12/1
Chad Kelly (QB Mississippi) 12/1
Samaje Perine (RB Oklahoma) 12/1
Brad Kaaya (QB Miami) 25/1