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Odds and Ends

CFB futures market: Week 14

by Thor Nystrom
Updated On: November 30, 2020, 7:48 pm ET

Heisman and national title odds courtesy of PointsBet.

 

Heisman odds

PlayerPositionTeamThis week2 weeks ago  
Kyle TraskQBFlorida Gators-118250  
Mac JonesQBAlabama Crimson Tide150250  
Trevor LawrenceQBClemson Tigers550250  
Justin FieldsQBOhio State Buckeyes1000225  
Zach WilsonQBBYU Cougars25002700  
Ian BookQBNotre Dame Irish50008000  
DeVonta SmithWRAlabama Crimson Tide500010000  
Najee HarrisRBAlabama Crimson Tide800010000  
D’Eriq KingQBMiami Hurricanes100008000  
Spencer RattlerQBOklahoma Sooners1000010000  
Travis EtienneRBClemson TigersN/A10000  
Kellen MondQBTexas A&M AggiesN/A10000  

 

  • Two weeks ago, when this column was last published, Justin Fields held a slim lead atop the board at +225. Three different players were all tied right behind him at +250: Kyle Trask, Mac Jones and Trevor Lawrence. Much has changed since, in part due to COVID-19 disruptions. 

 

  • Kyle Trask has not only surged to the top of the board, but put some distance between himself and the field over the last 14 days. He now sits as a -118 favorite, with his closest competitor at +150. Not bad for a guy who at one point this summer was 50-to-1 to win the award. In his last two games, he threw for over 600 yards with a 6/0 TD/INT rate on 10 yards per attempt in wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Trask has thrown for 2,810 yards and a 34/3 TD/INT ratio on 71.4% completions and 10.3 YPA during Florida’s 7-1 start. Trask’s final two regular season games will come against Tennessee and LSU. Presumably his Gators will take on Alabama in the SEC title game after that.

 

  • Behind Trask on the PointsBet board is the quarterback of the Crimson Tide, Mac Jones, at +150. Jones went 18-of-26 for 302 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-13 Iron Bowl victory over Auburn last Saturday. As we stand, he only has 82 less passing yards than Trask and leads the nation with a 95.5 QBR. He’s also the quarterback of an undefeated No. 1 team, which helps. But Jones’ 23 passing touchdowns pales in comparison to Trask's 34, which may hurt him in voting. Jones’ big opportunity to surpass Trask is in the SEC championship on December 19.

 

  • As a reminder, this year’s voting deadline was extended to December 21, with Heisman presentation pushed to January 5. The finalists will be revealed on Christmas Eve.

 

  • Trevor Lawrence (+550), who had been out since beating Syracuse on October 24 due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and a game postponement after he was cleared to return, threw for 403 yards and two touchdowns in last Saturday’s 52-17 win over Pitt. Lawrence has either two or three games left, depending on what ACC schedule-makers do with Clemson’s theoretical open date on December 12. That date could be used to reschedule the FSU postponement, or Clemson could be given a new opponent. Outside of that, we know the Tigers will play Virginia Tech this weekend before a likely rematch against Notre Dame occurs in the ACC title game on December 19.

 

  • Justin Fields (+1,000) has seen his odds free-fall the past two weeks, in part due to factors outside of his control. Weekend before last, Ohio State beat Indiana 42-35 but had to overcome three Fields interceptions (his first three of the season, and a mark that matched his three-career interceptions heading into the game). Then, a get-right matchup against Illinois this past Saturday was canceled due to COVID-19. Unfortunately for Fields, that was the second cancelation Ohio State has had, following the Maryland game two weeks before.

  • Fields’ last two regular season games are against Michigan State and Michigan. If either game is canceled, Ohio State will be barred from playing in the Big 10 title game by rule, which would have the effect of torching Fields’ Heisman candidacy. Here’s how ESPN’s Jesse Palmer broke it down recently: “He might only play four or five games. He simply won’t have the stats, and more importantly, I don’t think he’s going to have the Heisman moment,” Palmer said. “In the past, these players have had big games. If Ohio State doesn’t get into the Big Ten Championship Game, his biggest game will have been against Indiana. He had his worst game as a Buckeye throwing three picks.”

 

  • Zach Wilson (+2,500), despite gaudy stats -- 2,724 yards for a 26/2 TD/INT rate and eight rushing TD -- is going to get boxed out of serious consideration barring BYU finding a marquee opponent for him to play in these final few weeks. Wilson shredded North Alabama last week and saw his odds remain in the same neighborhood again.

 

  • Ian Book (+5,000) continues to hang around on the peripheries of the race following Notre Dame’s win over UNC last Friday. Book is a strong quarterback for an undefeated team, but his statistical profile may prevent him from even getting invited to the ceremony (2,097 yards, 12/1 TD/INT rate with 412 yards rushing and 6 TD on the ground).

 

  • DeVonta Smith is tied with Book at +5000. Smith had seven receptions for 171 yards in the Iron Bowl, the fifth time in six games he’s gone over the 100-yard mark. The last non-quarterback to win the award was Crimson Tide RB Derrick Henry in 2015. Prior to that, another Crimson Tide RB, Mark Ingram, in 2009. In the last 20 years, the only non-QB or non-Alabama skill player to win the award was Reggie Bush in 2005.

Championship odds

TeamThis week2 weeks ago  
Alabama Crimson Tide140115  
Clemson Tigers200300  
Ohio State Buckeyes400225  
Notre Dame Irish8001700  
Florida Gators16001250  
Texas A&M Aggies20005300  
Cincinnati Bearcats35005300  
Georgia Bulldogs500010000  
Northwestern Wildcats500012000  
Oklahoma Sooners1000010000  
BYU Cougars100007000  
Indiana Hoosiers100008000  
Iowa State Cyclones1500017000  
Miami Hurricanes250008000  
Oklahoma State Cowboys5000017500  
Wisconsin BadgersN/A9000  
USC TrojansN/A12000  
Oregon DucksN/A15000  
Auburn TigersN/A25000  
Washington State CougarsN/A25000  
Texas LonghornsN/A25000  
Missouri TigersN/A25000  
SMU MustangsN/A25000  
Washington HuskiesN/A25000  
Iowa HawkeyesN/A25000  
North Carolina Tar HeelsN/A27000  
Utah UtesN/A30000  
Marshall Thundering HerdN/A30000  
Pittsburgh PanthersN/A30000  
Purdue BoilermakersN/A30000  
Kansas State WildcatsN/A30000  
Colorado BuffaloesN/A50000  
Maryland TerrapinsN/A50000  
West Virginia MountaineersN/A50000  
Memphis TigersN/A50000  
UCLA BruinsN/A50000  
Arizona WildcatsN/A75000  
Virginia Tech HokiesN/A75000  
Stanford CardinalN/A75000  
UCF KnightsN/A75000  
Arizona State Sun DevilsN/A75000  
NC State WolfpackN/A75000  
TCU Horned FrogsN/A75000  
Virginia CavaliersN/A75000  
Arkansas RazorbacksN/A75000  
Kentucky WildcatsN/A75000  
Florida Atlantic OwlsN/A75000  
Wake Forest Demon DeaconsN/A75000  
Army KnightsN/A75000  
Michigan State SpartansN/A75000  
Nebraska CornhuskersN/A75000  

 

  • Whereas the Heisman race began to clear up in the past two weeks, everything remains up in the air on the title odds board.

 

  •  Alabama (+140) remains the frontrunner after its dominant Iron Bowl win against Auburn. But the Crimson Tide can be had for a cheaper price than you’d have been able to buy them two weeks ago (+115).

 

  • Clemson (+200) has rallied back up to No. 2 on the PointsBet board following its own lopsided win over Pitt. These odds look about right to us: Alabama and Clemson are going to the playoff if they win out -- the Crimson Tide could even get upset at this point and still likely get in -- and will be the favorites to win the four-team tournament from there.

 

  • Ohio State (+400) is trending in the wrong direction after being priced at +225 two weeks ago. As mentioned above, this is partly a function of factors outside of Ohio State’s control. If one of OSU’s two final regular season games are canceled, they will be disqualified from the Big 10 title game. Would the committee take a 5-0, non-conference champ Ohio State over BYU, Cincinnati, or a one- or two-loss P5 conference champion that played four or five more games? You’d think they would. But we’re in uncharted territory: We simply have no way of predicting how the committee might weigh such a scenario.

 

  • Notre Dame (+800) has finally seen its price increase as we get closer to the end of the regular season. Irish betters would have to invest at a price slashed by more than half (+1700) since two weeks ago. The Irish beat UNC on Friday and have to breezy matchups to close the regular season: Against Syracuse and Wake Forest. Win both, and they’ll get another crack at Clemson in the ACC title game, this time facing Trevor Lawrence. The Irish are sitting in a good spot right now. Even if they lost the rematch to Clemson, they’d be an 11-1 runner-up, with a win and a loss to a top-3 team. It would take one of BYU/Cincy, a surprise Pac-12 entrant, a two-loss Big 12 champion, or a second SEC team (the loser of Alabama/Florida or one-loss Texas A&M after not qualifying for the conference title game) to push them out at that point.

Week 14 games of note:

No. 4 Ohio State at Michigan State

No. 5 Texas A&M at No. 22 Auburn

No. 1 Alabama at LSU

No. 12 Indiana at No. 16 Wisconsin

No. 3 Clemson at Virginia Tech

Syracuse at No. 2 Notre Dame

No. 6 Florida at Tennessee


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Thor Nystrom

Thor Nystrom is NBC Sports Edge’s lead CFB writer. The 2018 FSWA College Sports Writer of the Year, Nystrom’s writing has also been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to him on Twitter @thorku!