Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota remains the Heisman Trophy favorite, but his lead has shrunk considerably as Georgia running back Todd Gurley has taken a big leap up the board on NCAA football odds.
Oregon Payback to Arizona?
Mariota is +150 at the site, which is where he was last week. His Ducks didn't play in Week 5, but they get an early start this week as Oregon hosts a very dangerous Arizona team. The Wildcats are a very good offensive club and are 4-0 under Coach Rich Rodriguez (think Michigan regrets firing him right now?). Arizona played in perhaps the game of the season thus far, a 49-45 victory over California on Sept. 20 in which the Wildcats won on a 47-yard Hail Mary as time expired. Last year, Arizona upset then-No. 5 Oregon 42-16 in Tucson, a loss that ended the Ducks' national title hopes and essentially cost them a BCS bowl game. Mariota had 308 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 52 yards on eight carries. Arizona isn't very good defensively again this season so Mariota should have a big night. Oregon is a 22.5-point opening favorite at sportsbooks.
Gurley was a beast in Georgia's 35-32 win over Tennessee on Saturday. He carried 28 times for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Gurley also caught four balls for 30 yards. He jumped to +350 to win the Heisman on NCAA football odds. On the season, Gurley has carried the ball 69 times for 610 yards, a terrific 8.8 yards per carry, and six touchdowns. Saturday was a big day for Georgia because South Carolina was upset by Missouri. That's big because the Dawgs lost to the Gamecocks, but now USC has two conference losses to just one for Georgia. Thus if UGA wins out it would claim the SEC East title. It is currently +420 to win the SEC Championship Game.
The Dawgs host a terrible Vanderbilt team this week and might be caught looking ahead to their Oct. 11 trip to No. 24 Missouri. Gurley should have a banner day as the Commodores really stink. Their only win was 34-31 over UMass. They have been blown out by Temple, Ole Miss and South Carolina. Vandy lost 17-7 at Kentucky on Saturday. Georgia opened as a 32.5-point favorite at sportsbooks, one of the biggest spreads this weekend. Last year at home, Vanderbilt upset No. 15 Georgia 31-27 by scoring 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Gurley missed that game with an injury.
Best of the Rest
The Top 5 favorites are rounded out by Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill (+500), Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah (+800) and Notre Dame QB Everett Golson (+800). Hill had his best yardage game since the opener as the Aggies avoided an upset to Arkansas on Saturday. He completed 21 of 41 for 386 yards, four touchdowns and a pick while running for 30 yards. Hill had two long TD passes in the fourth quarter when A&M was down 14 points. Then he hit Malcome Kennedy for what would be the game-winning score on the first play of overtime. The Aggies have a tough one at No. 12 Mississippi State this week.
Husain Abdullah torched Illinois for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries as Nebraska stayed unbeaten with a 45-14 rout. It was Abdullah's third 200-yard game already. His candidacy could get a huge boost this week if Abdullah has a big night at No. 10 Michigan State and the Huskers pull the upset.
Golson had his biggest day of the season in a 31-15 win over Syracuse. He completed 32 of 39 for 362 yards and four scores, although he did throw his first two interceptions of the season. Golson also is in line to potentially get a big boost on his NCAA football odds with the No. 9 Irish hosting No. 14 Stanford and its national-best defense on Saturday.
NCAAF Free Picks: No reason to get off the Mariota bandwagon I have been on all season.