Now that we are in Week 8 of the college football season, it's a good time to look at some updated Heisman odds because most consider this the start of the second half of the season with almost every team having played at least six of its 12-game regular-season schedule.
At BetOnline , the Heisman favorite remains Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson at -200. And the super sophomore should be the favorite as he has been easily the most electrifying player in the land this season. Jackson has accounted for 30 touchdowns, which is more than 98 FBS teams have scored at this point. The one thing that could hurt Jackson the rest of the way is that Louisville won't get a ton of attention as it plays a really weak schedule other than a trip to No 11 Houston -- and that has lost luster with the Cougars losing to Navy and then nearly losing last week to Tulsa. The No. 7 Cards are -19 this week against a dangerous NC State team.
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Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett is at +550 and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson at +750. Barrett's No. 2 Buckeyes could be tested a bit this week at Penn State, although OSU is a 19.5-point favorite. Ohio State still has marquee games vs. Nebraska, Michigan State (though the Spartans are way down this year) and Michigan. Watson's No. 4 Tigers are off ahead of their season-defining trip to Florida State next week.
I don't think that he will win it, but the best overall player in college football this season has been Michigan do-it-all Jabrill Peppers, who is +1000 to join former Wolverine Charles Woodson as the only defensive players to win the Heisman. Peppers plays defensive back and hybrid linebacker and has 38 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. He also gets some carries in the backfield (five carries for 98 yards and two scores) and is a very good kick returner (one TD). That guy is going to be a superstar in the NFL. The No. 3 Wolverines are -36 this week against visiting Illinois. Be aware that Illini starting quarterback Wes Lunt is questionable with a back injury.
Here are some news, notes and any major line moves for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
Oregon State at No. 5 Washington (-36.5, 54.5): The Huskies are the biggest favorites on the board. And while that's a ton of points to give to a Power 5 Conference rival, you might want to because the Beavers are without their top two quarterbacks and leading rusher -- plus UW is rested off its bye week, although the Huskies could be looking ahead to next week's tough trip to No. 19 Utah. In last week's 19-14 loss to the Utes, OSU starting quarterback Darell Garretson and backup Conor Blount left with injuries in back-to-back possessions. Garretson's season is over with a broken ankle and Blount is out at least this week with a knee issue. So sophomore third-stringer Marcus McMaryion gets the call. He was 5-for-9 for 76 yards off the bench against Utah and did play in seven games last year, starting one. If he gets hurt, the team will have to burn a redshirt it was hoping to use on freshman Mason Moran. Meanwhile, running back Ryan Nall is likely out with a foot injury. He had 221 yards and three TDs two weeks ago in an upset of Cal but aggravated a foot injury on his first carry vs. Utah. Thus it would be a minor miracle if OSU scores Saturday against one of the nation's best defenses.
Colorado at Stanford (-2, 49.5): I didn't think the Cardinal could win at Notre Dame last week without star running back Christian McCaffrey, but they did 17-10 -- although I think that says more about how bad the Irish are this season. McCaffrey is considered questionable for this one with his undisclosed injury. It's too bad he couldn't go pro after last season when his stock was sky high. It has definitely slipped this year. If McCaffrey can't go, Bryce Love would make his second career start and he had 129 yards and the winning touchdown vs. Notre Dame. This game means much more to the Buffs, who are tied for first in the Pac-12 South with Utah. Are you aware that Colorado is the only unbeaten ATS team in the nation at 7-0 ATS?
Texas at Kansas State (-3, 56.5): This total has dropped two points. Here's a Big 12 matchup where I think both coaches will not be on their respective sideline next season. No chance Charlie Strong will be back at Texas, and Bill Snyder is likely to retire (for good this time) at K-State. There was some question earlier this week whether Wildcats starting quarterback Jesse Ertz would be able to start after leaving last week's loss to Oklahoma in the third quarter with an arm injury. It is thought he will go. Ertz is a solid dual-threat QB, but K-State's offense ranks last in the Big 12 and 115th nationally in yards (342.7) and last in the Big 12 and 112th nationally in passing yards (167). KSU has won four straight at home vs. Texas.
No. 23 Ole Miss at No. 25 LSU (-6.5, 60.5): This line has risen two points, and I'm guessing it's because the Tigers are expecting star tailback Leonard Fournette -- another guy who would have benefitted from going pro after last year -- to return from his ankle injury. Fournette has missed three games this season, including the last two, because of a nagging ankle injury he initially suffered in an August scrimmage. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in the three games he has played. Backup Derris Guice performed well enough when Fournette was out that interim LSU coach Ed Orgeron says he will rotate the two backs to keep them fresh. With a win here, LSU is very much in the SEC West race as it still plays co-leaders Alabama and Texas A&M, and one of those two will lose Saturday.
No. 17 Arkansas at No. 21 Auburn (-9.5, 55.5): This line also has risen two points and the SEC clearly owns the weekend as this is the third Top-25 matchup of the weekend along with Ole Miss-LSU and Texas A&M-Alabama. The injury to watch here is to Auburn top tailback Kerryon Johnson. He hurt his ankle on Oct. 8 vs. Mississippi State, but Auburn was on the bye last week and that has improved his chances of playing. Johnson leads the Tigers with 538 yards and six rushing touchdowns on the season, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Auburn is also very much alive in the SEC West with a win, as like LSU it is 2-1 in the conference. However, Auburn already lost to Texas A&M and has to travel to Alabama to close the season.
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