Mariota Still Top Player but Prescott's Heisman Trophy Odds Increase

Matthew Jordan

Monday, October 6, 2014 8:52 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 8:52 PM UTC

It was one of the most incredible weeks of college football with five of the nation's top eight losing, throwing open the College Football Playoff possibilities. It also saw a huge change on the Heisman Trophy NCAA football odds.

Mariota Takes a Tumble
I have been backing Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota all season and he had been either the first or second favorite all year. That's no longer the case. Mariota was battered all night last Thursday in the Ducks' shocking 31-24 home loss to Arizona. Mariota played solidly, completing 20 of 32 for 276 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also was stripped near the end of the game, which clinched Arizona's upset. It was Mariota's first turnover all season.

Oregon's offensive line is terrible at the moment with so many guys out injured. Mariota might not make it through the entire season -- he's already a bit banged up. Offensive coordinator Scott Frost claimed Mariota was less than 100 percent for the Arizona game after getting sacked seven times the game before against Washington State. Mariota rose from +150 at Sportsbooks to a +750 fourth favorite. He still has a shot, but now Oregon  has no wiggle room. It must win out and has a very tough game Saturday at UCLA, which was an upset victim itself in Week 6. The Ducks opened as 3-point favorites. The loser can forget about the College Football Playoff or perhaps even the Pac-12 title game.

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Gurley Now the Top Dawg
Georgia running back Todd Gurley was +420 last week but  is now the slight betting favorite on NCAA football odds at +175. Gurley rushed 25 times for 163 yards and two scores as Georgia beat Vanderbilt 44-17 in a potential trap game. It followed a close win over Tennessee and ahead of a huge matchup this week at No. 23 Missouri. The winner of that is in great shape to take the SEC East Division with South Carolina losing again in Week 6. The Dawgs opened as 3-point favorites for Saturday's game in Columbia. Missouri comes off the bye week, and if the Dawgs lose then Gurley's Heisman hopes will take a big hit.


Little Dap for Dak!
With all due respect to Gurley, the hot name for the Heisman is now Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. I don't know if he's the first NCAA player ever to be named Dak, but I'd be willing to bet he's the best one with said name. The Bulldogs also might have their best team ever. They beat then-No. 6 Texas A&M soundly 48-31 on Saturday in a game that really wasn't that close. Prescott outplayed counterpart Kenny Hill as Prescott was 20 of 26 for 268 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 23 times for 77 yards and three touchdowns. That vaulted Prescott to +180 on Heisman NCAA football odds. Mississippi State is up to No. 3 in the polls and has another huge one this week at home against No. 2 Auburn. It could be a Heisman elimination game as Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall is the third favorite on this prop at +400. Marshall isn't putting up huge numbers, but Auburn might be the best team in the nation. It has looked better for the most part than top-ranked Florida State has. Auburn opened at -2.5 this week at sportsbooks.

Hill's Heisman hopes are now all but shot as he rose to +2000. Hill threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State but was also picked off three times.

Notre Dame QB Everett Golson (+800) is the only other player under +1000 on this prop. He had a signature moment Saturday with a last-minute game-winning touchdown pass over Stanford. Golson threw for 241 yards and two scores with his first pick of the year. Still solid  numbers against one of the nation's best defenses. The Irish host North Carolina this week as 16.5-point favorites at sportsbooks. Then comes the big one: at Florida State.

NCAAF Free Pick: Still believe Mariota is the best player, but that offensive line is going to be his undoing. Right now I lean Prescott because the Bulldogs will beat Auburn on Saturday. But Golson is a very close second. 

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