We are a long, long way away from the start of the college football season - never mind the Heisman ceremony next December in New York. Heisman futures for next year have been posted, though, so that makes this a perfect time to take a ridiculously early look at where the value might be ( odds are from BetOnline ):
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (+500): Mayfield was a Heisman finalist this past year, and he returns by far the best team in the Big 12 - a team loaded up with another very strong recruiting class. He loses his favorite target in fellow Heisman finalist Dede Westbrook, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing - there are plenty of promising targets on the team, and more of the spotlight can be on Mayfield this year. The Week 2 showdown at Ohio State will be tough, but it's also a chance for Mayfield to make a big statement. He's a deserving favorite at this point. Remember, though, that in three of the last five years the favorites were irrelevant - the guy who won the trophy was way off the radar at this point.
Free $60 in Member College Football Picks No Obligation Click Here
Sam Darnold, QB, USC (+500): Darnold is like the perfect storm. He's the QB of a fanbase that is huge and hungry for something positive. He was strong in the part of the season he played, and he had a strong, high-profile bowl performance. There are some personnel changes for him to deal with, but he'll have a whole offseason as the starter, which should help him. He's certainly a contender - but the Trojans won't be able to afford to lose their conference, and it's going to have some real challenges in it again this year.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (+600): Jackson is the defending champion, and he should have a strong team around him again. It's defending that is going to be his undoing, though. First, all eyes are going to be on him, and any misstep will be seriously amplified. More significantly, there hasn't been a repeat winner since Archie Griffin in 1975. That's an accomplishment that is held in very high esteem, and I just don't see the voters tabbing another repeat winner unless he is so far ahead of the crowd that he can't be overlooked. I don't like him at this price.
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State (+1000): Barrett was lousy at key times last year. Really disappointing. This year he has a new offensive coordinator to work with, and a whole lot of pressure on his shoulders. I just can't get behind him at this price or anything close to it.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State (+1000): Barkley had a strong bowl game and an excellent season all around. He's explosive and exciting. Penn State is right in the spotlight right now, too. Here's my issue with his campaign, though - the Nittany Lions got very lucky to have everything fall their way so they could win the conference. I have no faith that that will happen again - Ohio State and Michigan are both better than Penn State is. Finishing third in the division will be tough to overcome for Barkley.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama (+1000): Hurts is a strong player. He'll enter this season with the third offensive coordinator of his one-year career, though - and we still don't know who it will be. That's a lot of change. Hurts is also not the kind of guy that is going to put up massive numbers - Nick Saban doesn't look for that from his quarterbacks.
Jake Browning, QB, Washington (+1200): I like this price. What Washington did last year was no fluke, and they should grow and learn from the humiliation of their playoff appearance. They are extremely well coached, and Browning has lots of talent around him. I don't necessarily believe that he is the most likely winner on this list, but in relative terms he is the most attractive at this price.
Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State (+1400): Francois has to adjust to the reality of life without Dalvin Cook. There are other weapons, though - and all-world running back recruit Cam Akers has a chance to be special right out of the gate. Francois needs to take a big step forward this year, but he has the ability to make highlight reel plays in bulk, and that is what a strong campaign needs. Francois has a very strong team around him and a huge opportunity. The Seminoles open against Alabama, so Francois has a chance to take the lead in this race right out of the gate with a big win there. He's certainly intriguing, and we know that Florida State QBs can win this award, but I'd need a better price than this one.
Want free sports betting picks? Doc's Sports has you covered - get $60 worth of picks free from any of Doc's Sports expert handicappers. Click here for free picks (new clients only) .
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent College Football Handicapping Articles
- 2017 Heisman Trophy Predictions
- 2018 College Football National Championship Odds and Expert Predictions
- College Football National Championship Game Odds and Expert Picks Alabama vs. Clemson
- College Football National Championship Game Expert Betting Advice: Alabama Keys to Win
- NCAA Football National Championship Game Expert Betting Advice: Clemson Keys to Win
- Florida Gators vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Outback Bowl Expert Picks and Predictions
- Clemson vs. Ohio State Fiesta Bowl Expert Picks and Predictions with Betting Odds
- Auburn vs. Oklahoma Sugar Bowl Expert Picks and Predictions with Betting Odds
- Alabama vs. Washington Peach Bowl Expert Picks & Predictions with Betting Odds
- NCAA Football Mid-Major Free Betting Picks: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders Bowl Game Predictions