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Final 2016 Heisman Trophy race odds: Lamar Jackson favored huge over 4 other finalists

Oddsmakers like the Louisville quarterback to leave New York with the big prize, and it looks like Clemson’s Deshaun Watson will finish second.

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Duke v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The field of Heisman Trophy finalists is set at five: Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook.

The list was unveiled Monday evening, and we’ll learn who won the award during an ESPN-televised ceremony at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday in New York.

Oddsmakers who are handicapping the race don’t predict any great drama. As he’s been for the vast majority of the regular season, Jackson is the overwhelming front-runner to win the Heisman. The odds, via Bovada, are these:

Lamar Jackson 1/25
Deshaun Watson 7/1
Baker Mayfield 50/1
Jabrill Peppers 50/1
Dede Westbrook 66/1

For reference: 2015 winner Derrick Henry was only (“only”) a 1/12 favorite at this point.

He also won media and voter polls at ESPN and USA Today in the days before ballots were due, with Watson second in both. A less formal CBS poll has Mayfield second. Basically nobody is predicting a winner besides Jackson.

The takeaway: Bookmakers will be absolutely stunned if Jackson doesn’t win, and nobody else except Watson is viewed as having a serious shot to win.

Voting’s already done, and there are no more games to be played between now and the Heisman announcement. The Heisman Trust names at least three finalists every year, and whether there are more depends on how close the voting was between third and fourth place, fourth and fifth, fifth and sixth, and so on. The presence of five finalists suggests there was parity, at least among the last to qualify for the ceremony.

Louisville stumbled at the end of the year with two losses in a row, and it remains to be seen how much that hurt Jackson’s case. The best guess here? Not so badly, because Jackson’s 51 touchdowns accounted for (30 passing, 21 running) are wowing, as is the point that he led the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense.

Bookmakers arrived at a consensus a few weeks ago that Jackson was exceptionally likely to win the award. By mid-December, one sports betting public relations agent was attaching this to a weekly odds email:

Note: The Heisman odds are currently off the board as the odds are astronomical in favor for Lamar Jackson. The Oddsmakers are currently in discussions on if they’ll be re-opened.

Only now have odds gone back on the board, at least at Bovada.

Life is, indeed, like a box of chocolates. We can’t always know what we’re going to get. But in this case, it’ll be a shock of great proportions of Jackson isn’t the winner.

Two years ago, Jackson was a touted but raw South Floridian recruit who not everyone thought could stick at quarterback. His transformation’s already been remarkable, and he’s probably going to make the story even better on Saturday. Win or lose, Jackson will play in the Citrus Bowl against LSU on New Year’s Eve (11 a.m. ET, ESPN).