J.K. Dobbins is one of the favorites to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy.
Most college football teams around the country are in the midst of spring practices and then a spring game – which, amazingly, can still draw north of 60,000 to a place like the University of Alabama – to wrap things up before fall. From May through July, it’s largely a dark period in terms of college football news until teams report to fall camp.
So now is a good time to look at a Heisman Trophy odds primer for the 2018 season before any potential injuries, suspensions or the like.
There has been just one Heisman repeat winner in NCAA history: former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin. His record is safe for another season because 2017 winner Baker Mayfield, a quarterback from Oklahoma, has used up his eligibility and will be a first-round pick in next week’s NFL draft.
What’s interesting about the current odds is three running backs are among the favorites even though only two running backs have won the Heisman this century: Alabama’s Mark Ingram in 2009 and the Crimson Tide’s Derrick Henry in 2015. Technically, Southern Cal running back Reggie Bush won the 2005 award but that was vacated due to NCAA sanctions.
Wisconsin tailback Jonathan Taylor is the +600 Heisman favorite, followed by fellow backs J.K. Dobbins of Ohio State (+650) and Bryce Love of Stanford (+700), with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa also at +700.
Taylor was arguably the best freshman in the country last year, finishing third in the nation with 1,977 yards rushing to go with 13 touchdowns. Wisconsin only knows a ground-based offensive attack, so Taylor will get a ton of carries.
Dobbins was no slouch as a freshman in 2017 for the Buckeyes, either, rushing for 1,403 yards and seven scores and catching 22 passes for 135 yards and a TD. He might be in more of a time-share situation than Taylor, however. Love filled the big shoes of former Heisman finalist Christian McCaffrey in 2017 as he finished second in the Heisman voting and decided to return for his senior season to Stanford.
Love was second in the nation with 2,118 yards rushing despite missing one game and being limited for another.
Tagovailoa didn’t play much as a freshman last regular season under center for the Tide but came off the bench in the national championship game and rallied past Georgia for another title. Tagovailoa, though, still has to beat out incumbent starter Jalen Hurts for playing time in 2018 and a spring hand injury hasn’t helped the Hawaiian’s case.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.