Generally, futures bets are slanted heavily in favor of sports books looking to capitalize on your love for your favorite team or player. (Florida to win the national championship in 2015? Why not? We just hired Jim McElwain. Put me down for $100. What will it hurt?)

Usually there aren’t many good bets, but we’ve identified a few Heisman futures odds that could be attractive.

A good rule to follow: Barring a minor miracle, a quarterback on a very good team will win the award. Quarterbacks have won 14 of the last 15 Heisman Trophies, with Alabama running back Mark Ingram Jr. the lone exception in 2009. (The Tide went 13-0, winning its first national championship in 17 years. Ingram played well, but there was a dearth of options at quarterback. Texas QB Colt McCoy finished a close third.)

It also doesn’t hurt if you’re athletic and can run a little (Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel).

TCU’s Trevone Boykin and whomever wins the job at Ohio State are strong candidates, as they should put up huge offensive numbers on potential College Football Playoff teams.

But with any bet, it’s all about value — recognizing an undervalued asset or avoiding something or someone inflated within the marketplace. As of early February, here are some good and bad value bets based on the Bovada Heisman Trophy odds.

Keep in mind this isn’t a list of who is most likely to win the Heisman Trophy, but rather a guide to which players may have good or bad betting value based on the current odds.

Only one player will win the Heisman, so most of these bets are losers.


  • Wisconsin RB Corey Clement (33/1). Melvin Gordon, the Badgers’ running back in 2014, was one of three Heisman finalists. A coaching change won’t change much as far as the offense is concerned. Clement will be the new standout. He’s averaged 7.0 yards per carry for his career, has better hands than Gordon did and could lead the Big Ten in rushing.
  • Alabama QB Jacob Coker (not listed). OK, so there’s no “value” here because there’s no odds. The Crimson Tide should be the SEC West favorite next season, automatically making them a national contender. A quarterback within a Lane Kiffin offense on a potential national championship team is in the Heisman conversation by default. If Coker wins the job, he’s got a chance to be in the conversation. Expect odds on him to emerge before the season kicks off.
  • Clemson QB Deshaun Watson (20/1). The Tigers are loaded with young talent on offense as much as any team in the country. It’s possible Clemson passes up a Jameis Winston-less Florida State team and takes down the ACC next year, and if so, Watson will get a ton of credit.
  • Michigan State QB Connor Cook (20/1). Ohio State is getting a ton of love, and deservedly so. But Michigan State has put together consecutive Top 5 seasons, and the Spartans could be even better than last year, when they only lost to Oregon and the Buckeyes. Cook is a potential first-round pick in the 2016 draft and should finally make a name for himself nationally.


  • Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson (16/1). Don’t be surprised if Tigers fans are asking “Nick who?” by midseason. Last year was a good reminder in the state of Alabama about overhyping an unproven quarterback (Coker), but Johnson’s situation is different. He’s played in games and is more of a known quantity on the field. With Gus Malzahn’s offensive intelligence, Duke Williams at receiver and Johnson’s inherent ability as a pocket passer, the quarterback has a chance to be a strong Heisman darkhorse. He just needs Auburn to remain in the College Football Playoff hunt.
  • Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell (66/1). Assuming Chad Kelly remains with the Rebels and wins the starting job, Treadwell will have a quarterback capable of getting him the ball, which is a start. Expect him to be the fulcrum of the Ole Miss offense. He’s a long shot to win, but assuming he’s healthy, perhaps he can replicate Amari Cooper’s 2014 and force his way into the conversation.


  • Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott (7/1). The Bulldogs are returning four starters on offense and three on defense. Prescott wasn’t a finalist in 2014 on a team that ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press poll at the time of the voting. It’s difficult to imagine Mississippi State fending off a steep decline as a team, and that’s going to deliver a body blow to Prescott’s Heisman chances.
  • LSU RB Leonard Fournette (7/1). Fournette has a chance to become a transcendent college football player. But that’s not enough to win the Heisman, not unless you’re a quarterback. Wisconsin’s Gordon, by stats, had the second-best season in college football history as a running back and didn’t win the award. Fournette is currently tied for the second-best odds on Bovada, and that’s not good value. At 20/1, it would be about right.
  • Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott (6/1). The Buckeyes claim four of the most touted Heisman candidates, including all three quarterbacks in the running for the starting job (Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett, Braxton Miller). Elliott is the one and only Heisman favorite at present. His value is inflated thanks to a demolition job at the end of the season (more than 200 yards in the Big Ten championship and both College Football Playoff games). Ohio State may not win the Big Ten, but even if they do, expect whomever wins the QB job to get more Heisman votes.