National Signing Day for college football is now behind us and schools will open their spring camps soon. Therefore, it is not too soon to consider who will win the 2017 Heisman Trophy as sportsbooks have already released their odds.
Only one college football player has repeated as the Heisman Trophy winner and that was Archie Griffin. The former star with the Ohio State Buckeyes won the award in 1974 and 1975.
Last season’s winner, Lamar Jackson the dual-threat quarterback from Louisville returns for his junior year and currently sportsbooks have him as the third favorite at +600 to win the award.
Two players are tied at +500 with the shortest odds on most sportsbooks. Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield and USC signal caller Sam Darnold are the early front runners for sportsbooks.
Mayfield received an extra year of college eligibility last summer from the NCAA. He has been a Heisman finalist twice, finishing fourth in 2015 and third in 2016.
Darnold started his 2016 season with USC on the bench. However, he took the reins early and led his Trojans on a winning streak of 9 games to end the season.
Included in that streak was a shootout 52-49 win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl. In that game, Darnold threw for 453 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Jackson ran away with the 2016 Heisman award receiving 2,144 votes to 1,524 for second place Deshaun Watson from Clemson. Jackson’s numbers were impressive as he accounted for 51 touchdowns either passing or rushing.
However, the Cardinals lost three straight to end the season and Jackson struggled during each loss, hence he is not the leading candidate to repeat as the Heisman winner.
Sportsbooks have not been known for correctly favoring Heisman Trophy winners during the preseason. Last year in February the top three favorites were Watson at +500, LSU running back Leonard Fournette at +600 and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey at +600. At that time, Jackson was far off the radar at +10000.
All of the players who have been give odds for the Heisman Trophy by sportsbooks are currently playing for schools in the Power 5 Conferences – Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and ACC.