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  • The Heisman Trophy is college football’s most prestigious individual award.
  • It’s also very hard to predict who will win.
  • We’re tracking the odds on the favorites, from last year’s title game right up to award week. 

Every college football season, we track the favorites for college football’s most prestigious award, the Heisman Trophy, by averaging out the futures odds available at major online sportsbooks.

Predicting who will win is a difficult exercise, especially in the preseason. In 2018, eventual winner Kyler Murray wasn’t even on the board at the outset, and he was a +2300 longshot when he first popped up in late July. Fellow finalist Dwayne Haskins started out at +3500.

Heisman Trophy Favorites

  • [Oct. 15] Another prolific week from Burrow (+32) against Florida has moved him ahead of Hurts (+370) into second.
  • [Oct. 8] Even though Jalen Hurts (+330) continues to put up huge numbers and Joe Burrow (+380) does likewise, Tua’s odds are now shorter than even money (-110).
  • [Sep. 30] Tua Tagovailoa, who was already the favorite, saw his odds get much shorter after a huge Week 5, going from +250 to +120.
  • [Sep. 24] This has turned into a thrilling three-horse race between Tagovailoa (+250), Burrow (+310), and Hurts (+350).
  • [Sep. 17] Trevor Lawrence is dropping out of contention. His current +570 odds are more than twice as long as they were in mid-August (+250).
  • [Sep. 12] Scratch what I just wrote about Burrow; bettors kept hammering him mid-week and he’s now +1200 on average, fourth-best in the nation.
  • [Sep. 9] If you bet on Joe Burrow before the season, you got your money in at the right time. The LSU pivot has gone from +15000 to +1800 since the odds first opened.
  • [Sep. 3] The odds moved significantly after Week 1, as expected. Some of the biggest risers were LSU QB Joe Burrow (+5200 to +3700), Clemson RB Travis Etienne (+2300 to +1900), and of course Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts (+900 to +700).
  • [Aug. 19] Almost every RB and WR saw his odds drop, most notably, Clemons WR Tee Higgins went from +3500 to +6300.
  • [Aug. 8] Ian Book is getting a lot of love, at least at some sites. He moved all the way up to +1600 at Bovada.
  • [Jul. 18] Texas QB Sam Ehlinger has entered the top ten for the first time this year, now at +1700.
  • [Jul. 3] Incoming Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts has consolidated his status as the third-favorite, moving from +790 to +690 as of early July.
  • [February] Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa are the early favorites. Not coincidentally, they are the two QBs who met in last year’s CFP title game. Like all sportsbooks, Bovada has Lawrence and Tagovailoa well ahead of the pack, with incoming  Georgia transfer Justin Fields (Ohio State) a distant third.

Heisman Trophy Odds at Bovada

Player Odds at Bovada (Oct. 15)
Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama) +115
 Joe Burrow (QB, LSU) +300
Jalen Hurts (QB, Oklahoma) +300
Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State) +900
Jake Fromm (QB, Georgia) Jonathan Taylor (RB, Wisconsin) +1200
Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama) +6000
Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon) +6000
JK Dobbins (RB, Ohio State) +4000

Who Usually Wins the Heisman Trophy?

Lately, quarterbacks.

Here’s the list of Heisman Trophy winners by position, going back to the turn of the millenium. Only three non-QBs are on the list (and they’re all RBs). If you want to win this award, you better have the ball in your hands a lot.

Heisman Trophy Winners Since 2000

Year Player Position
2018 Kyler Murray Quarterback
2017 Baker Mayfield Quarterback
2016 Lamar Jackson Quarterback
2015 Derrick Henry Running back
2014 Marcus Mariota Quarterback
2013 Jameis Winston Quarterback
2012 Johnny Manziel Quarterback
2011 Robert Griffin III Quarterback
2010 Cam Newton Quarterback
2009 Mark Ingram Jr Running back
2008 Sam Bradford Quarterback
2007 Tim Tebow Quarterback
2006 Troy Smith Quarterback
2005 Reggie Bush Running back
2004 Matt Leinart Quarterback
2003 Jason White Quarterback
2002 Carson Palmer Quarterback
2001 Eric Crouch Quarterback
2000 Chris Weinke Quarterback

For those of you playing along at home, that’s 15 QBs and 3 running backs.

The last Heisman to go to a different position was Charles Woodson’s 1997 win. Before that, it was Desmond Howard in 1991, then Johnny Rodgers (who was kind of a running back) in 1972, and then Notre Dame end Leon Hart in 1949.

Position Number of Heisman Trophies since 2000
Quarterback 16
Running back 3
All others 0

Heisman Trophy Favorites by Position

As you can see, the “Quarterbacks” tab is far more populated than the rest. No defensive players are even on the board at this stage.

Heisman Trophy Favorites by Conference

The SEC and Big Ten dominate the top candidates for 2019, yet again. This is not new.

But while the SEC has actually followed through with their Heisman Trophy candidates lately, the Big Ten has only produced two winners since 2000 and none since 2006 (Troy Smith, Ohio State).

Conference Heisman Trophies since 2000
SEC 5
Big 12 5
Pac-12 4
ACC 3
Big Ten 2

Archived Heisman Trophy Odds: 2018