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Handicapping the Heisman Trophy race: Hitting the home stretch

College football’s top talents don’t have much time left to inch their way up the Heisman ballot, with most teams looking at two or three more games before bowl season. The odds have drastically shifted around this past month, with conference play bringing the true Heisman hopefuls to the forefront and leaving little underdog value for sports handicappers. Here’s a look at the latest Heisman futures:

Derrick Henry, Alabama (-240)
Two months ago, Henry wasn’t on the Heisman radar, giving way to fellow SEC rusher Leonard Fournette of LSU (who has dropped from +450 to +600). However, since out-performing his conference counterpart with 210 yards rushing and three touchdowns in a showdown with the Tigers two weeks ago, and following that with another 200-plus effort – 204 yards and two scores – in the win over Mississippi State last weekend, Henry has surged to the top of the Heisman board. Bama has the Iron Bowl then a likely date with Florida in the SEC Championship – so the playoff path is pretty clear for Henry and the Tide.

Deshaun Watson, Clemson (+400)
Watson is the motor behind the No. 1 team in the college football playoff rankings, passing for more than 2,600 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. Add to those impressive stats, almost 600 yards rushing and fives TDs on the ground and it’s tough not to like the Tigers’ QB at plus money. The last five Heisman winners were quarterbacks and only two of the past 15 – Reggie Bush and Mark Ingram – were not under center. If Clemson can stay unblemished heading into the playoffs, Watson – who opened at +1,500 to win college football’s top individual honor – has a legit shot at striking a pose in New York next month.

Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State (+400)
Elliot has been the one constant since Heisman odds hit the board this winter. He opened around +500 and has bounced between that price and as high as +1,000 in September before settling at his current 4/1 price tag. The Buckeyes head into a massive showdown with Michigan State and then face rival Michigan in their annual grudge match the following week. If Elliot, who has already rumbled for 1,425 yards and 16 touchdowns, can feature prominently in those clashes and lead OSU to another playoff berth, he could cash in for Buckeyes bettors. He’s building steam with a 181-yard, two-touchdown performance over Illinois and gashed MSU for 154 yards and two scores in last year’s meeting in East Lansing.

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