Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.
NFL Draft Pick - Second Overall
LAS VEGAS — So, the NFL draft, huh? OK. Obviously, no one is betting on the No. 1 pick, which is gonna be Trevor Lawrence. Why? You have to lay $100 and you win back a STINKIN’ LOUSY dollar. Yeah, Trevor is 1/100 to be called in the first spot by Roger Goodell.
But, ah, the No. 2 spot is very interesting. Most of the talking heads, podcasters and bloggers have locked in Zach Wilson from BYU as the No. 2 pick for the New York Jets. Wait just a second. Born and raised in NYC, one thing we’re good at is throwing up a smokescreen. Why does that matter? ’Cause the New Yorkers are gonna shock the punditry and grab Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
C’mon. Have you looked at Justin’s numbers? His NFL body? His accuracy? His numbers are really ASTOUNDING. In 2018 down at Georgia, which is SEC country, he didn’t see much action backing up Jake Fromm but did complete 27 of 39 passes (69.2%) for 328 yards and four TDs. Then Fields took his talents to Ohio State, and MAN, did he flourish. In 2019, he played 14 games, completed 238 of 354 passes (67.2%) for 3,272 yards with 41 TDs, yes, FORTY FREAKIN’ ONE, and only three INTs, yes, THREE.
He also used his legs a little, gobbling up 484 yards on the ground. It wasn’t 2019 Joe Burrow at LSU, but still, amazing. In 2020, he played only eight games, completed 158 of 225 (70.2%) for 2,100 yards with 22 TDs and six INTs. Oh yeah, pencil in another 383 rushing yards.
No disrespect to BYU’s Wilson, because his numbers were OFF the charts. But check out his competition in 2020. Navy, Troy, Louisiana Tech, UTSA, Houston, Texas State, Western Kentucky, Boise State, North Alabama (NOT the REAL Alabama), Coastal Carolina, San Diego State and UCF. That slate of games is not scaring anyone.
Fields played BIG boy football in the Big Ten, and then faced Clemson and ’Bama in the playoffs. Justin was a MONSTER against Clemson, hitting 22 of 28 for 385 yards and SIX TDs. But after taking a crushing hit in that game and coming away with a hip pointer, his numbers against the Crimson Tide in the championship game were not nearly as good (17 of 33 for just 194 yards and only one TD).
But the best part of this story is, you can buy Fields at 15/1, yeah, FIFTEEN to ONE, BAABBBEEE!!! Strawberry Fields & Justin Fields forever! BOOK IT!!!
And if you’re looking for winners during the week, we got ’em on Instagram. I will be doing quick 15-second picks every day at www.instagram.com/vegasvigorish!
Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at Www.Americasline.Com. He is beloved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his email...Ben@Americasline.Com.