Heisman Repeat In 2017? Sportsbooks Not Yet Leaning That Way
College football’s National Signing Day has come and gone, and schools around the country will start opening their spring camps – Duke already has. Thus it’s never too soon to think about the new season and already the sportsbooks have released 2017 Heisman Trophy odds.
Just one player has won the Heisman twice: Ohio State running back Archie Griffin in 1974-75.
The 2016 Heisman winner was Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the first-ever winner from that school. Jackson is back for his junior season but is the +600 second-favorite. The leaders at +500 are Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Southern Cal QB Sam Darnold.
Last summer, Mayfield was granted a special extra year of eligibility by the Big 12 for 2017 – the conference originally decided not to, only to change course one day later during the Big 12 spring meetings. Big 12 faculty representatives voted to the change the rule on transfers within the conference involving walk-ons like Mayfield. Mayfield lost a year of eligibility when he sat out the 2014 season after transferring to Oklahoma from Texas Tech, where Mayfield played in 2013 as a freshman walk-on. Mayfield is a two-time Heisman finalist, finishing third in 2016 and fourth in ’15.
Darnold opened the 2016 season on USC’s bench but took over early in the season and led the Trojans to a nine-game winning streak to close the season. That included a 52-49 Rose Bowl win over Penn State in which Darnold passed for 453 yards and five touchdowns.
Jackson was the runaway winner for the 2016 Heisman with 2,144 votes; Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was second at 1,524. Jackson finished the season throwing for 3,543 yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for 1,571 yards and 21 scores. It was a historic season, so why isn’t Jackson favored? The Cardinals closed the year on a three-game losing streak and Jackson struggled in each.
The books haven’t been great at correctly favoring the Heisman Trophy winner entering the season. The favorites at this point last year were Clemson’s Watson (+500), LSU’s Leonard Fournette (+600) and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (+600). Jackson was way down at +10000.
There are no players from non-Power 5 Conference schools given Heisman odds for 2017 currently.
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