In this article we look at the early Heisman Trophy odds based on who is returning so we can help you place your college football picks on what promises to be a memorable battle.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry declared for the NFL Draft and was removed from the list of candidates to win the award, but this year still promises to have one of the greatest Heisman races in history because more superstar talent will return than ever before, headlined by last year's finalists Deshaun Watson and Christian McCaffrey.
The Heisman Trophy is usually awarded to a quarterback or running back, except for tight ends Larry Kelley and Leon Hart, wide receivers Desmond Howard and Tim Brown and defensive back Charles Woodson.
Based on his strong performance in the national championship game, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is the undisputed front runner to win the 20016 Heisman Trophy at +450, followed by running back Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, the runner-up to Derrick Henry and LSU's Leonard Fournette at +500. Baker Mayield, who finished fourth in last year's Heisman voting and is expected to return next season, shares +1000 odds with Ohio State's JT Barrett. Both offer decent betting value for your college football picks.
Watson had an outstanding season that culminated in Clemson reaching the National Championship game. Last year Watson threw for 4,104 yards with 35 touchdowns while adding another 12 rushing touchdowns .
McCaffrey finished the season with 2,019 rushing yards, which broke Toby Gerhart’s school record of 1,871 set in 2009. McCaffrey also extended his FBS season record of all-purpose yards to 3,864, but what might work against his Heisman bid is that four of his offensive line starters have graduated.
Leonard Fournette seemed like a lock to win the Heisman last season, when he averaged 193.1 rushing yards per game with 16 touchdowns over his first seven games, but he slowed down considerably in the second half of the season. He did rush for 212 yards and four touchdowns in LSU's 56-27 win in the Texas Bowl against Texas Tech.
Bovada didn't include Baylor quarterback Seth Russell, who in just seven games had 2,104 yards, 402 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns before suffering a season-ending injury.
Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson) +450
Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford) +500
Leonard Fournette (RB LSU) +500
Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma) +1000
JT Barrett (QB Ohio State) +1000
Chad Kelly (QB Misssissippi) +1200
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State) +1200
Nick Chubb (RB Georgia) +1200
Royce Freeman (RB Oregon) +1400
Samaje Perine (RB Oklahoma) +1400
Calvin Ridley (WR Alabama) +1600
Joshua Dobbs (QB Tennessee) +1600
Josh Rosen (QB UCLA) +2000
Brad Kaaya (QB Miami) +3300