Heisman Trophy odds: Lamar Jackson is overwhelming betting favorite

1:03 | College Football
Heisman Watch: Ranking the finalists
Wednesday December 7th, 2016

Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson was barely on the Heisman Trophy radar before the college football season began, but with the ceremony set for Saturday night in New York City, he's the overwhelming betting favorite at the sportsbooks to take home the award.

Jackson is the -4000 favorite (wager $4000 to win $100) on the updated odds to win the Heisman Trophy with the five finalists for the award having been announced. Joining Jackson as a Heisman Trophy finalist this season are Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook and Michigan linebacker/safety Jabrill Peppers.

College Football
Heisman Watch: Ranking the finalists

Jackson was an afterthought at +5000 on the Heisman Trophy odds at the sportsbooks back in late August, but he inserted himself into the race immediately in Louisville's 70–14 season-opening win over the Charlotte 49ers. Jackson threw six touchdown passes for the Cardinals in that victory and also ran for 119 yards and two more scores for good measure on the day.

The following week against Syracuse, Jackson ran for four more touchdowns with one scoring pass in a 62–28 Louisville victory, and he accounted for five more touchdowns (four on the ground, one through the air) in the Cardinals' 63–20 thumping of the Florida State Seminoles his next time out. By mid-September Jackson's Heisman Trophy odds had improved to +1800, and he rocketed to -250 by early October, and to -2000 by the start of November.

On the season Jackson threw for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,538 yards and 21 touchdowns. Jackson finished eighth among all FBS players in rushing yards, and tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns. He was 11th overall in passing touchdowns.

The only blemish for Jackson this year is Louisville's two-game losing streak against Houston and Kentucky to end the season, which knocked the Cardinals out of playoff contention and forced them to settle for a berth in the Citrus Bowl. Jackson had just one touchdown against Houston, and four touchdowns but three interceptions in the season-ending loss to Kentucky.

JOHNSON: Why Michigan's Peppers deserves to win this year's Heisman

Watson is seen as Jackson's closest competition in the Heisman Trophy race, with the oddsmakers listing him second at +1000 to win the award on Saturday. Watson finished third in Heisman voting last season when he threw for 3,512 yards with 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. This season Watson has thrown for 3,914 yards with 37 touchdowns and 15 picks while leading the Tigers to a second straight berth in the College Football Playoff.

Mayfield then sits farther back at +3300 on the Heisman Trophy odds, with Peppers at +5000 and no line listed for Westbrook. Mayfield has thrown for 3,669 yards and 38 TDs on the season.

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