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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NFL Draft, QBs, First-Rounders by School

Tua Tagovailoa Alabama Crimson Tide 2020 NFL Draft Las Vegas Expert Betting Picks

Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.

LAS VEGAS — T-minus six days to the 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s try to make some money, baby!

Apparently, Roger Goodell will step to a podium in his basement to announce the picks. Not sure if Roger is gonna do the walkout from behind a curtain, but that would be very cool.  

Gonna look at two delicious props, starting with where in the draft each top-rated QB will get taken.

Where Do Top QBs Get Selected?

At the top of the betting board is Tua Tagovailoa with an OVER/UNDER of 4.5. So, this is EASY money and we’re going OVER, thinking that he AIN’T gonna get drafted in the first four picks. If I’m a GM and looked at Tua’s medical charts, the talented lefty is a NO-FLY ZONE for me. TOO FRAGILE!

If you have not seen his chart, PHEW, check this out. Tua broke his left index finger in March 2018, sprained his right knee in October 2018, had a high left ankle sprain in December 2018, had a high right ankle sprain in October 2019, and dislocated his right hip with a posterior acetabular wall fracture in November 2019. That’s FIVE bangs in two years and now he has to face bigger, faster, nastier defensive players.

Looked at a bunch of mock drafts, and Mel Kiper has Double T in the sixth slot to the Chargers. Sports Illustrated has him going off the board at No. 5 to the Dolphins. CBS has Tagovailoa falling to the Raiders at No. 8 and Bucky Brooks at NFL.com has Tua dropping all the way to No. 9 with the Jaguars. OVER 4.5 is our BEST BET, BAABBEEE!!!

Oregon’s Justin Herbert has an O/U of 5.5, and while we might tickle the UNDER, it ain’t a strong play. Utah’s Jordan Love is getting a ton of buzz with the draft geeks, and his O/U is 19.5, which might just be another light move to the UNDER. Washington QB Jacob Eason’s O/U is 47.5, while Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) and Jake Fromm (Georgia) are both listed at 60.5. None of ’em is getting my cash.

Which Program Has the Most First-Rounders?

On to the second money-maker, and we’re looking at which school will have the most players drafted in the first round. The usual suspects, Alabama and LSU, top the list.

First we’ll look at the Crimson Tide and the Nick Saban assembly line. PLZ sit down so you can read this next little nugget without falling off your chair: Since he moved to Tuscaloosa back in 2007, Saban has had more first-round NFL draft picks (26) than he does losses (23). WHAT!!!

The Master has never had more than four players picked in the first round, but he could tie the all-time record of the Miami Hurricanes, which was set back in the 2004 draft when six of Larry Coker’s Canes rolled into the NFL. If you’re interested, they were Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow, Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, Vernon Carey and Vince Wilfork.

Not saying that ’Bama is gonna do six, but with Tua, Jedrick Wills, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Xavier McKinney and Trevon Diggs all on the board, we’re goin’ OVER 5.5 with the Tide.

Also gonna go OVER 1.5 on first-round picks for Georgia. Bulldog tackle Andrew Thomas is a top-10 pick for sure, and since D’Andre Swift is the best RB on the board, he could sneak in very late, like at the end of Round 1, to the Kansas City Chiefs. You know how much Andy Reid LOVES RBs who can run and catch, and Swift does it all.

Finally, gonna play UNDER 2.5 first-round picks on Ohio State. The Buckeyes have two LEGIT first-rounders in Chase Young, most likely the second pick, and Jeff Okudah, probably a top-five selection. After that, the next-best shot is RB J.K. Dobbins, but since he ain’t the best RB on the board, J.K. drops into the second round, the Buckeyes get only two, and we CASH the UNDER, baby!!!

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.