Bovada has released odds for the 2017 Heisman Trophy, and though we are more than 10 months from voters casting their ballots, it's never too early to start looking at the race for the most prestigious individual award in college football.
Here's the list of Heisman favorites, according to Bovada.
|JT Barrett||Ohio State||6/1|
|Saquon Barkley||Penn State||10/1|
|Trace McSorely||Penn State||10/1|
|Deondre Francois||Florida State||12/1|
|Mason Rudolph||Oklahoma State||12/1|
|Nick Fitzgerald||Mississippi State||22/1|
|Luke Falk||Washington State||35/1|
A breakdown on the biggest names, plus some value and sleeper picks, as we sit here in late January.
The front-runner: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (Odds: 11/2)
Mayfield's Heisman candidacy will be entirely dependent on his production, and while an additional year to master Lincoln Riley's offense should lead to big numbers, it's hard to imagine matching his output from 2016 with Dede Westbrook, Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine all gone from the offense.
Star Power for the Traditional Powers: JT Barrett, Ohio State (6/1), Sam Darnold, USC (9/1)
Their Heisman chances lie almost totally with their team's success. As long as Ohio State and USC are competing for the College Football Playoff, their star quarterbacks will be in the thick of the Heisman Trophy discussion.
The defending champ: Lamar Jackson (7/1)
Jackson's odds are strong for betting reasons, but the smart money is make your wager anywhere else on the board. No one since Archie Griffin has won back-to-back Heisman Trophies and given the intense media scrutiny on the award and restless habits of the Heisman electorate, it's hard to imagine anyone will.
Because it's so early in the game, none of these are good value picks. Unless you feel 100 percent confident in USC, Ohio State or Oklahoma making it to the College Football Playoff, you should look elsewhere for better payout.
Super sophomores: Deondre Francois, Florida State (12/1); Jalen Hurts, Alabama (12/1)
If you think a Lamar-like leap is capable from either of these quarterbacks in year two, then here is your real value. Francois and Hurts will go head-to-head in the first game of the season and then each head to conference play quarterbacking a title favorite. Both players have a lot of room for improvement from their freshman campaigns, but in terms of Heisman odds, you are getting a JT Barrett-like candidacy at a much better price.
Deep sleeper: Shane Buechele, Texas (35/1)
Here's your lottery ticket pick. Buechele might not need to lead Texas to the College Football Playoff to win the Heisman Trophy since the Longhorns aren't on anyones short list to win the title in 2017. But a statistically great season at a traditional power is a fast track to Heisman contention, particularly if its paired with Texas' return to Top 25, 10-win status. Tom Herman helped Greg Ward Jr. become a top-billed star in college football and there's a good chance Buechele will have that same Herman bump in 2017.